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Cremation

Cremation Costs: Everything You Wanted To Know About Cremations

How much does a cremation cost?

Depending on where you live, direct cremations through a funeral home can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. If you choose to proceed with cremation through a crematory, the cost will between $1,000 and $2,200.

If you choose to have a viewing, casket, or a funeral service, the cost will be substantially higher.

Sometimes funeral homes will hire a third-party crematory to cremate the body. This could cost you about $2,000 to $4,000 (and that can be an unpleasant surprise if you weren’t aware of it). As a result, call your funeral service provider and check if it’s included in the quoted price.

Burial vs Cremation Costs Infographic

Cremated Remains: 7 Insanely Cool Things You Can Do With Them

Cremated remains, which are commonly mistaken as "ashes," are often the only physical remains of a person after their cremation.  People are all too familiar with the idea of a porcelain urn  sitting on the mantle above the fireplace, but some might want to celebrate the life of "Grandma" differently.

Since every life is unique, why does every ending have to be the same?  The following companies may seem odd, but they all help to shape the view of death and mourning. Lives should be celebrated, and anything that helps do that should be taken seriously. So here are 7 of the most creative things you can do with cremated remains.

Choosing Cremation With Services: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Choosing cremation with services has advantages and disadvantages.  In many ways this choice combines the benefits of traditional funeral services with the cost savings associated with cremation.

Cremation with services: advantages

Choosing cremation with services can be more therapeutic than choosing direct cremation for some families.  Because this choice includes some type of remembrance ceremony (e.g. a viewing or funeral ceremony), many families find this more comforting than direct cremation.

The viewing or memorial service allows friends and family to share in commemorating the life of the deceased and gives friends a chance to comfort the family.

Cremation can also be much less expensive than a full traditional funeral.  Choosing cremation allows you to eliminate many costs associated with funerals including the casket, gravesite, cemetery fee, and headstone cost.

Many people also consider cremation a more environmentally-friendly option because no land is disturbed for burial purposes.

Another benefit of cremation is that it provides portability of cremains.  If surviving family members move away, they can easily take cremated remains with them.

Cremation also allows for a wide variety of disposition options.  While some families do decide to bury cremains in a cemetery, most families simply take the cremains home.  However, many other options exist.  Please see the Funeral Saver's Kit for a complete discussion of cremation options.

What's the Difference Between a Funeral Service and a Memorial Service?

  • December 14, 2019

Funeral homes provide different services depending on the needs and preferences of the decedent’s family.  While many people use the phrases "funeral service" and "memorial service" interchangeably, they are actually different services.

A “funeral service” is any official ceremony that takes place in the presence of a casketed body.  In other words, the body (inside a casket) is present during the ceremony.  The casket lid may be open or closed.

A “memorial service”, on the other hand, is any official ceremony that takes place without the casketed body being present.  For example, the ceremony might take place with just an urn containing cremated remains (i.e. “ashes”) serving as the focal point of the ceremony.  Alternatively, the focal point could be just a picture of the deceased displayed on an easel.

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Choosing Lower-Priced Funeral Options

Choosing certain types of funeral or cremation arrangements can eliminate many unnecessary funeral costs.  Choosing wisely will prevent you from being charged for lots of “extras” no one told you about.

Since most families do not plan funerals very often, they usually don't realize what's included (or excluded) in the decisions they make.  All too often a family simply agrees to the funeral director's recommendations - only to end up surprised when their final bill is 30% higher than expected.

Even though many of the goods and services offered by a funeral home are priced on an individual basis, certain selections you make will automatically trigger additional costs.  Unfortunately, most families don't find out about these additional costs until after the service is over and they get the funeral director's bill.

What is a Cremation with Services?

This article explains cremation with services.  Families choosing cremation have two options: direct cremation or cremation with services.

Cremation with services often includes elements similar to what you would find in a traditional funeral; however, instead of a casketed body serving as the focal point of ceremonies, the cremated remains are the centerpiece of a memorial service.

With cremation the body is exposed to high heat and reduced to the consistency of sand.  In the case of cremation with services, the cremation itself could occur after a traditional funeral has been held or the body could be cremated first and the cremains used as the focal point during a memorial service.

A memorial service is any type of service that commemorates the life of the deceased while an urn containing the cremains (i.e. ashes) is in the room.  A funeral service is any type of service that commemorates the life of the deceased while the casketed body is in the room.

Depending on the timing of cremation, the body may need to be embalmed.  If the body is cremated before any type of formal ceremony is held, embalming is usually not necessary.  If cremation takes place after the body is viewed, embalming is usually required.

Get the Facts about Cremation

This brief article shares facts about the cremation process.  Most bodies that are cremated are placed in something combustible.  Typical cremation containers include heavy cardboard trays, cardboard or wood caskets, or canvas body bags.

Only 15 percent of cremations include the use of a casket.  This means nearly 85 percent of cremations take place using a less expensive cardboard container or canvas bag.

How To Write a Eulogy

Eulogy is pronounced like this:  /Yule-ah-gee/

A eulogy is simply a speech about a loved one who has died.

This speech is usually given during a memorial or funeral ceremony.  While it is often given by a close friend or relative of the deceased, it can also be given by a religious leader.

Don’t stress out over giving a eulogy.

Think of it as a simple conversation with the family and friends about the life of the person who has died.  Remember, the funeral or memorial ceremony is usually only attended by people that somehow mattered to the deceased.  They are eager to hear about the deceased and will appreciate anything you say.

Almost EVERYONE is afraid of speaking in public

The “audience” is NOT expecting you to give a flawless speech.  If fact, if you “mess up” a little (or a lot), the audience tends to rally around you even more.  They really do!

There is no “right way” to compose a eulogy.

Since most people have no idea what a eulogy is supposed to sound like, you can pretty much create it any way you want.  Here are some things you may want to talk about:

    • a brief “life history” of the person who has died
    • important achievements and events in the deceased’s life
    • details about family, friends, work, and hobbies
    • favorite memories of the deceased

Most eulogies last between 5 and 15 minutes but there are no hard and fast rules here.  You can also deliver “vignette” eulogies.  This is where several different people take turns speaking about the deceased.  For example, each of the children of a deceased parent could give a small speech about their favorite respective memory with the deceased.

Breaking a single eulogy into separate vignettes gives others a chance to participate in the services and takes the pressure off of just one speaker.  Even if each person speaks for just a little while, it will seem like a longer, more robust speech because it takes time for each person to walk up to the podium and then return to their seat.