Is Cremation More Affordable than Burial?

End-of-life planning is not easy. There are many factors to consider when making decisions for a loved one’s final arrangements or your own. One major decision is the choice between burial or cremation. The difference in cost for the disposition methods is considerable.

In the United States, the national average cost of cremation (with funeral) has increased 7.3% over the past five years to $5,150, per the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The most affordable method of disposition is direct cremation, which takes place in the days following the death without a traditional funeral service beforehand.

The average cost of burial can add up to over $9,000 dollars. The overall cost depends on services and items selected for the burial including flowers, transportation, and headstones. Caskets and burial plots, which can cost thousands of dollars, make up the bulk of burial expenses.

Funeral services can include cremation instead of burial

Choosing cremation does not prevent you from having a traditional funeral service and viewing. After holding a traditional viewing and funeral service, a family may choose to have their loved one cremated instead of buried in a cemetery. With the rise of rental caskets used for a funeral service and/or viewing accompanying a cremation, casket costs can be kept fairly reasonable. Families can inter the cremated remains of their loved one at a cemetery at a later date or not at all.

There are additional costs and charges that you may encounter during the burial arrangements process with a funeral home and cemetery. These costs include: embalming, preparation of the body, plot, caskets, crypts, and/or outer burial containers, visitations or viewings, graveside services, hearses and headstones or grave-markers. While the funeral home is responsible for the deceased, casket, preparations and services. Cemeteries manage the costs of burial plots, crypts, open and closing of the grave and markers. Funeral homes and cemeteries are separate, even when they are on the same grounds, and require meetings with each for making arrangements.

Finding information online for cost of burial can be difficult

End-of-life services can be costly for grieving families who want to make the best decisions for their loved ones. Pricing information for traditional funeral homes and cemeteries are always available on General Price Lists or GPLs, but finding this list while shopping around online can be extremely challenging. A visit to the funeral home and cemetery may be the only way to get an accurate quote. Costs of a full body burial can quickly add up, and more people are choosing direct cremation services and a celebration of life followed by scattering of cremated remains in a beloved location.



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