The cremation trend is sweeping across our nation as more and more families choose cremation as a lower-cost alternative to traditional burial. In New Jersey, the cremation rate has climbed steadily over the last decade and now represents around 5 out of every 10 funerals. This rate is expected to climb significantly over the next 5 years.
New Jersey has some strange funeral laws. It is one of only 7 states where a funeral director MUST be employed and a funeral home cannot own a cemetery, and crematories must be sited on cemetery property. These antiquated laws can result in funeral prices being above average in New Jersey.
Why choose cremation?
Cost is reportedly the biggest factor causing the shift to cremation. According to the New Jersey Funeral Directors Association, a family typically spent between $7,000 to $14,000 on a traditional funeral service in 2011. Yet the costs spent on a cremation service were nearer to $4,000. This clearly represents a huge saving on funeral expenses. Our changing attitudes towards religious beliefs and a more transient population have also been cited as reasons why cremation is becoming so popular.
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Full-service cremation services in New Jersey
If you are considering cremation, then you need to decide upon what kind of cremation service you require. You can arrange a cremation that is very similar to a traditional funeral, only that the deceased is transferred to the crematory after the service, as opposed to the cemetery for burial. Once the cremated remains are returned, some families may opt to conduct a committal service as the cremated remains are interred. Although significant costs may be saved on cemetery expenses, a cremation with full service can still work out at several thousand dollars. A full-service cremation in New Jersey is likely to cost between $3,000 – $10,000.
Cremation with a memorial in New Jersey
Arranging a cremation followed by a memorial service can work out cheaper. The cremation is conducted immediately and the family can conduct a memorial service, with the cremation urn present, at a later date. This can eliminate the need for a casket for the funeral and save money on the actual service. A memorial service can be held at an alternative venue than a funeral home, and even led by family, a celebrant, or clergy.
Direct cremation services in New Jersey
A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation option. A direct cremation is otherwise named an immediate cremation, a basic cremation, or a simple cremation. It represents the ‘simplest’ method of arranging a disposition. The deceased is collected, cremated using a basic cremation container (usually a reinforced cardboard box), and then the ashes are returned directly to the family.
Direct cremations are gaining popularity as they can be purchased at the lowest cost available for a funeral, and they can offer the family a dignified means to conduct a send-off, without incurring a huge expense. Many families today arrange a direct cremation with a funeral home in New Jersey, and then arrange their own memorial afterward. It gives some ‘control’ of the death ritual back to the family.
The New Jersey Funeral Directors Association claims that a direct cremation costs around $3,000 in New Jersey. Some funeral homes can indeed charge this much, however, direct cremation is intended to be a budget cremation option and you will find you can purchase a direct cremation for under $1,000.
Typically I have seen low-cost direct cremation prices ranging between $995 and $1,595, so it is important to shop around and ensure you are comparing like-for-like services.
Discount cremation packages in New Jersey
Check whether the crematory fee is included in a quoted cremation price
As many NJ funeral homes have to use the services of a crematory located at a cemetery, this can mean that the crematory fee is not always included in a funeral home’s cremation package. This makes the cremation fee a ‘cash advance’ item that the funeral director pays to the crematory. As the cremation fee can range between $150 and $350, it is important to clarify if this fee is included in any cremation package that a funeral home quotes.
There are discount direct cremation packages in New Jersey that are extremely good value for money and delivered by compassionate funeral professionals.
I have detailed below a cremation price comparison for basic direct cremation packages offered by “affordable” cremation service providers in New Jersey.
|Funeral Home/Cremation Provider||Direct Cremation Service Price|
|DFS Memorials||$995 (+ crematory fee)|
|Affordable & Dignified Cremation Services of NJ||$1,150 (+ crematory fee)|
|Simple Cremations of NJ||$1,324 (Incl. crematory fee)|
|Cremation Society of NJ||$1,395 (+ crematory fee)|
Prices obtained July 2020
As you can see from these four direct cremation packages, prices can be quoted both including and excluding the crematory fee, but you can arrange a simple cremation for under $1,500
Unfortunately, many families are caught unprepared when a death occurs, believe it is undignified to inquire about costs, and can put their trust totally in the first funeral home they speak to. The more you can do some research and inform yourself of what options are available, you are likely to save on the cost of a funeral.