How much does cremation cost?
If an undertaker is used to transport the body, obtain permits, and file
the death certificate, the average fee is $1,200 (in 2008). However,
prices can vary from about $500 to well over$3,000, often in the same
market. If a visitation or a funeral service is held before cremation, the
charges will be higher. Many funeral consumer alliances offer members
cremation services provided by funeral or cremation businesses for
considerably less than the national average. Families who care for their
own dead can use crematories directly at charges from $200 to $400 (2008).
Can a casket be rented?
Most funeral homes will rent a casket to a family that wants to have the
body present for visitation or for a funeral service preceding cremation.
After the service, the body is transferred to an inexpensive cremation
container. Rental caskets often cost around $700, however, so you might
consider using the simple alternative container and draping it with an
attractive cloth, a quilt, or a flag.
What can we do with the ashes?
They can be placed in a niche in a columbarium, buried, scattered, or kept
by the family. Cremated remains are sterile and pose no health hazard.
Their disposition is, for the most part, not controlled, provided the
landowner grants permission.
is an assembly of niches designed to hold containers of cremated remains.
It is most often located in a mausoleum with a cemetery and at some
can be done in a cemetery or on private property. Most cemeteries will
permit two or three containers in one adult-size plot. Some
(unnecessarily) require that you purchase an urn vault. For home burial,
keep in mind that unless you have a family cemetery on your property,
eventually the land is likely to be sold and the land used for other
over an area that had significance to the deceased is legal in most
jurisdictions. Although there are commercial firms which will handle the
cremated remains for a fee, most families prefer to do this themselves.
Remains that are being scattered should be processed by the crematory to
reduce all fragments to fine particles.
Scattering at sea is available to all veterans and dependents and
is provided by the Navy or Coast Guard. Because sea burials are done at
the convenience of the military, the family may not witness sea burial.
While federal regulations technically require cremated remains to be
scattered three miles out from shore, the Environmental Protection Agency
says they are not concerned about families scattering ashes at the beach
and never enforce this regulation with private families.
Keep the cremains
in an urn or nice box. You can buy an urn from a funeral home or on line,
or you can use something else. When cremains are being saved to provide
memories, it's nice to put them in a container related to the deceased's
life, such as a favorite vase, a special wine bottle, a terrarium, etc.
Some funeral homes will suggest that you need to purchase a “temporary
container”, but you have a legal right to refuse and use the container
that comes from the crematory. Cremains can also be divided among family
members to keep or to be sprinkled or buried in several different places
(i.e. with a first and second spouse).
How do religious groups view cremation?
Most religions permit cremation. Since Vatican II Council in 1964, the
Code of Canon Law allows Roman Catholics a choice between burial and
cremation. The Greek and Jewish Orthodox faiths oppose cremation, as do
orthodox Jews and Muslims.