Cost Of Cremation

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Cost Of Cremation: Your Comprehensive Guide To Cremation Plans

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Planning for your own cremation sounds like something you would do when you’re already on your deathbed. However, the reality is that death can happen anytime and making your cremation preparations early will save your family from a lot of stress and financial issues down the road. 

In this comprehensive overview, we’re going to consider the financial aspects of cremation to help you find out how much a cremation might cost you.  

What Is Cremation?

Cremation refers to the practice of burning a deceased person’s body until only ashes remain. These ashes, or cremated remains, are then stored in a container and then handed over to the family for storage or disposal following the deceased person’s wishes (if applicable). 

The Process Of Cremation

Cremation is a difficult process that requires the aid of a cremator, an industrial furnace that is specifically calibrated to ensure the disintegration of the corpse. This process typically begins with the remains of the deceased being transported to a crematorium to undergo all the related processes of preparation and cleaning. This entire process of preparation and cremation can take anywhere between 3-15 business days, depending on location.  

Why Do People Choose Cremation?

Cremation is slowly becoming the most popular option for final disposition in the US. This is due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Environmental reasons: Choosing a land burial comes with a lot of environmental implications. Preparing a body for funeral rites includes the use of organic solvents that then have the possibility of leaking out of the buried casket and into the ground. These embalming fluids might seep into streams, rivers, or other nearby bodies of water.  
  • Scarcity of land: Urban cemeteries are slowly running out of space and the prices for burial plots are only going up. 
  • More freedom: Cremation affords the family with more freedom in choosing what happens with the ashes of the deceased individual. The ashes can be stored at home, in a crematorium, or kept for a memorial service to be held later on. The ashes can even be disposed of in more creative ways such as being turned into a man-made coral reef or planted into the ground with the seeds of a tree.   
  • Cost: While the cremation cost will vary depending on what kind of service you’re going for, average cremation prices are still much lower than the costs for a traditional funeral and burial service. Options like direct cremation are a great choice for those who don’t want to spend much.  
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What Is The Cost Of Cremation?

Cremations can be as simple or as extravagant as you can afford. Expenses like your chosen urn, flowers, and venue can add up! Let’s take a look at different cost factors in a little bit more detail. 

Direct Cremation

Direct cremations are often referred to as “low cost” cremations because they come with no extra bells and whistles. During direct cremation, the body is often cremated in a simple container soon after death. There is typically no viewing, wake, or visitation which is why there is also no need for embalming. Other than the cost of cremation itself, you will only need to spend money on the final container for the ashes. 

Prices for direct cremation usually hover around the range of $2000 and $5000 depending on where you live and what funeral home you go to. The good thing about direct cremation is that you don’t even have to make plans with a funeral home. In some cases, you can save money and go directly to a crematorium for much lower cremation fees. 

Funeral Service

Holding a memorial service for the viewing and final rites of the deceased is also a big consideration that goes into the total cost of the cremation. Many funeral homes offer packages that include funeral services bundled with the actual cremation itself. The bundles that funeral homes often provide include some combination of the following:

  • The use of facilities in the funeral home for displaying the deceased person’s body during the wake
  • The use of a service car for transportation of the body or ashes
  • Embalming services
  • Cremation fee
  • Body preparation (clothes, dressing, grooming)
  • Printed materials (pictures, posters, etc)
  • Payment of funeral home staff
  • Urn

Funeral homes will charge you anywhere between $6000 to $8000 for a cremation with service. This excludes other funeral expenses like flowers, higher-end urns/caskets, or fees for the use of a columbarium or burial plot for keeping the deceased person’s remains.

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Casket

Caskets aren’t mandatory when opting for cremation, but they’re still a factor to consider in the overall cremation cost. There are typically two kinds of caskets: the casket used for displaying the body during the memorial service and the casket used in the cremation proper. The latter isn’t necessarily required to be a casket though and most funeral homes will provide alternative cremation containers if you ask. 

The casket used for displaying the body is wholly up to the budget of whoever is planning the memorial. However, since the deceased person won’t be buried in the casket anyway, it is often more advisable to rent a casket than to purchase one outright. Ask your funeral director about what options you might have.

Breakdown Of Cremation Costs

Planning a cremation can be expensive. If you aren’t paying attention, the numbers can quickly add up and you might find yourself spending a lot more than you actually need to. Here’s a quick breakdown of cremation costs to give you an idea about how much an average cremation might cost with the common add-ons included. 

  • Funeral Director Fees: Funeral director fees cover most of the administrative services provided by the funeral home. These include taking care of papers and acquiring copies of the death certificate and will cost somewhere between $1500 to $3000.
  • Actual Cremation Cost: The cost of actual cremation will depend on whether the funeral home you go to has its own crematorium. If it doesn’t then the fee for the cremation itself will depend on the quote provided by the cremation provider. This can range from anywhere between $250 to $400.
  • Casket: Caskets that are used in cremation tend to cost much lower than traditional caskets. These cost anywhere between $500-$600. You also have the option to just rent caskets for the service if you so choose. 
  • Urn: The cost of the urn for the storage of the ashes will depend mostly on what type of urn you choose. This will usually fall in between the range of $50 (for wooden or eco friendly urns) to $1000 (for higher-end and more decorative urns). 
  • Flowers: Again this will depend on how simple or extravagant you want the flower arrangements to be. A simple bouquet will run you around $50-$300 while a larger casket spray will cost around $200-$1000. Packages that include both options will cost somewhere between $200 and $1000. 
  • Embalming: Embalming fees are included for those who wish to display the body before the actual cremation. These cost around $200-$800, depending on the condition of the remains.   
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Cremation Cost Per State

The state where you want to be cremated will play a significant part in determining your cremation costs. Here’s a list showcasing the average cremation prices across the USA from a study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association.

RegionSubdivision State Average Cost of Funeral With Viewing, Ceremony, and Cremation
WestPacificWashington$7290
Oregon
California
Alaska
Hawaii
MountainNevada$6907
Idaho
Montana
Wyoming
Colorado
Utah
Arizona
New Mexico
Mid-WestWest North CentralNorth Dakota$8123
South Dakota
Nebraska
Kansas
Minnesota
Iowa
Missouri
East North CentralWisconsin $7855
Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
Ohio
SouthWest South CentralTexas$6933
Oklahoma
Arkansas
Louisiana
East South CentralKentucky$7353
Tennessee
Mississippi 
Alabama
South AtlanticWest Virginia$7461
Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Florida
Washington, DC
Maryland
Delaware
North-EastMiddle AtlanticPennsylvania$7849
New York
New Jersey
New EnglandNew Hampshire$7612
Vermont
Massachusetts
Connecticut
Rhode Island
Maine

Conclusion

Funerals can be expensive and stressful for the family, which is why it’s always a good idea to plan early and set aside some money for when the unthinkable occurs. How much exactly you have to set aside will depend on what type of cremation you want to have and where you want it to take place.

Making funeral plans can be a scary thing to do alone. Thankfully, Wesley Financial Group can help you get all your post-life financial preparations sorted out right away. Contact us today to learn more about what we do for you!

Written By Matthew Thompson
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