Cremation process
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All About Cremation — What It Is & Associated Costs

The Cremation Becomes More Popular

Cremation is becoming an increasingly common method for laying a loved one to rest, as it's often more affordable and requires fewer resources than a traditional burial. 

But what exactly is this method of disposition? What are the associated costs? Is it right for your family's circumstances? This is our comprehensive guide so you know what is it, where to start, and if cremation is an option for you, read on to learn more about cremation so that you can know what to expect.

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What Is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of disposing of a body via incineration. An industrial furnace will burn the body (held in a cremation casket or cremation container) and reduce it to its basic chemical components — ashes, gases, and mineral fragments.

 

Is Cremation Suited for Everyone?

To be short, this method is not suited for everyone, but it's ideal in specific circumstances. 

Should you Consider a Cremation after the death?

Here are some reasons why people opt for this method of disposition:

Portability of the Ashes

If you choose to bury your loved one's body, you'll have to settle on one resting place. Some family members prefer to have their loved one's ashes spread in multiple spots. For example, they can disperse some of the ashes:

  • In a cemetery near loved ones' tombstones
  • In a body of water near their loved one's birthplace
  • Near a loved one's favorite landmark or place to visit

Others like to use the ashes to celebrate their loved ones in non-traditional ways, like making art or jewelry. Please be sure, you need to check your local regulations about spreading and carry the ashes after cremation, different States have their own rules.

Skip the Embalming Process

Family members who plan to cremate their loved one's body often skip the embalming process. This decision alleviates some financial burdens, as the process can be quite expensive. Some families also prefer this route because they don't wish to see their loved ones in a preserved, artificial state.

Furthermore, some people have reported that embalming makes it harder to process their loved one's death. Some family members prefer to remember their deceased loved one's image through memories and pictures, not a staged setup.

Lesser Environmental Impact 

Burying a body in a large casket takes up limited space (especially in urban areas). A groundskeeper then must perform regular landscaping maintenance to keep the spot looking nice. Some people choose this option when they wish to lessen their environmental impact after death.

Reasons Why People cannot use Cremation:

On the other hand, here are some reasons why people don't select cremation for their loved ones:

Personal Preferences

Some families have many past relatives buried on the same plot of land. It can be difficult for a family to choose to cremate a loved one's body if they've always planned on being buried next to one another.

Religious Beliefs

Religious beliefs often cause people to steer away from this method of disposition. For example, Islam strictly prohibits the act. 

Other religions, like Roman Catholicism, have grayer areas. Catholics have historically forbidden the practice, but they've become more lenient in recent years.

Still, other religions like Mormonism don't necessarily shun the practice, but they tend to opt for more traditional burials.

Finances

Incinerations tend to be cheaper than traditional burials. If money is no object for a family, they may not give a second thought to the higher costs of burial and opt for this route because it's more “traditional.”

The Costs of Cremation

When understanding the costs of this disposition method, it's best to break down the practice into two methods you can follow:

cremation caskets

Cremation Casket

A cremation casket is a casket typically made from light wood or wood veneer. It's a decorative casket that families use to display their loved one's body during a traditional service. These types of caskets are usually made out of wood veneer, or light types of wood. A good cremation casket looks exactly the same as a solid wood casket which is more expensive, but these caskets are designed specially to be burned with a body.

Once the traditional service is complete, the body and cremation casket will undergo incineration together. It's important that the cremation casket doesn't contain any metal components, or can contain only small metal elements which accepted for cremation. This way, the combustion process can occur without any issues.

Cremation caskets are traditional caskets used in burials (minus large metal components). Therefore, we can estimate that a cremation casket can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the casket company you choose. 

You should expect to pay other fees, depending on the type of service you have. Here are some other costs associated with a traditional funeral service that precedes incineration:

  • Embalming ($725): Some family members opt for embalming as a way to get closure before the incineration takes place.
  • Funeral home rental & staff ($1,000): You'll have to pay to use the funeral home and hire the staff to help you run the service.
  • Funeral service fee ($2,100): Some families choose to hire someone (like a religious leader) to lead the service.

So, all these costs associated with using a cremation casket (plus the casket itself) can total $5,825 or even more.

funeral caskets

 

Cremation Container

If you're looking for a more affordable option, your family may consider using a cremation container.

A cremation container is a box made of sturdy cardboard and goes into the furnace along with the body. 

cremation container

If a family chooses to use an alternative cremation container, they'll often follow the “direct” route. Direct cremation is when a family chooses to burn their loved one's body shortly after death. This process can save a lot of time and money in terms of planning a traditional service. Some organizations will even cover the costs of incineration if you choose to donate your loved one's body to science directly after their death.

However, you can use a cremation container if you still want to have a service with the body present. You can still choose to embalm the body and display it in a cremation casket that you rent from the funeral home. This decision is much more affordable than buying one. Then, when it's time for the combustion process, you can have the body relocated to a cardboard cremation container.

A cardboard cremation container is very affordable. It can cost as little as $300 at local funeral home. Still, this price is quite reasonable compared to the thousands of dollars that a traditional wooden casket costs.

Deciding if This Method Is Right for Your Family?

Deciding whether to cremate a loved one's body is a very personal decision. Hopefully, after learning more about this disposal method and the associated costs, you can feel more assured in your choice.

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