Cremation is an option for people of most faiths, and can be much more cost-effective for the family than a casket funeral service. The cost of cremation varies regionally, but ranges from about $400 for infants to about $900 for adults for a simple cremation. This cost generally includes transportation, storage, and cremation of remains, a simple crematorium box, document processing, and a temporary container.
As with traditional funerals, additional services or items will add to your cost, and preplanning can save a lot of money. Generally, the temporary containers are plastic and designed only to transport cremated remains, not for permanent internment. Permanent urns are available from many sources in many styles, and are available in a variety of materials like wood, bronze, or marble. Permanent urns, memorial services, and whether to keep remains at home, purchase a plot or a columbaria niche in a cemetery, scatter the ashes yourself, or use a service to scatter your loved one's ashes are all items to consider along with the simple cost of cremation. Preplanning when possible allows cost comparison and clear decision-making as well as the opportunity to discuss wishes for memorial services and permanent internment. Even without preplanning, a cremation is usually less expensive than a comparable casket funeral.
In many cases families can have a traditional casket funeral followed by a cremation rather than a direct cremation. Direct cremation is your lowest cost option, but since embalmed bodies can be cremated it is a fairly simple matter to have an open-casket service. A full service followed by cremation and internment should generally end up somewhere in the range of $6000-7500, which is comparable to the lowest cost casket burial plans.
In cases of infant death or stillbirth, direct cremation is not the only option but is often both more affordable and allows parents time to process their grief. If the mother had complications or a sibling is in the NICU requiring further care, immediate direct cremation then keeping the ashes at home for a while can allow parents some time to plan a memorial. Because nobody expects to have to bury their child, funeral homes also sometimes charge only the actual or wholesale cost of urns and cremation services. In cases of infant loss, some parents also find the ability to keep their child's remains close for some time comforting, rather than having to visit a cemetery.
Although the cost of cremation is lower than that of a traditional embalming and casket burial, some people have been made nervous about the process. Many cremation providers will also allow families to accompany their loved one's remains to the crematorium and observe the process, although they may not advertise this fact. There is also a US group, the Funeral Consumers Alliance, which does provide some objective third-party information about cremation, including not only cost but also legal regulations which govern cremation from state to state.
Ian Pennington is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
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