Death can be an uncomfortable topic of discussion for people to have. We often shy away from discussing the specifics if it makes us sad or nervous, and that’s completely understandable. However, at a certain point, we all should think about what will happen after we pass on from this life. 

When a person dies, it impacts their community, their family, and their friends on several levels. While thinking about death or spending time ‘planning’ out certain elements of your death may seem morbid, it’s a very thoughtful and considerate thing to do. By taking the steps to make sure that those who you leave behind are taken care of and that there is a clear course of action, you are actually serving your loved ones and friends. 

We want to provide the answers to challenging questions ahead of time.

Three Options To Consider

1. Burial

One option is burial. This is where the body of the deceased undergoes chemical treatment called embalming that works to prevent natural deterioration rate, the choosing of a casket, and then the actual burial itself. Burial costs are the most expensive because a burial has the most steps involved, like a headstone or grave marker and burial insurance. More people are now cremated in the United States than buried.

The cost of the funeral home services, the embalming, the burial plot all add up on top of having to purchase a casket as well.  The average cost of a funeral is between $7,000-$8,000 dollars. However, average funeral costs can range higher than this depending on the aesthetic choices of the funeral. The casket itself can be a hefty part of this financial burden depending on the style and level of quality that you purchase. 

2. Donation to Science

This is a cost-effective and honorable choice to consider. When a person or a family decides to donate the body of the deceased to science, they won’t be faced with any kind of typical funeral expenses. For many, the traditional aspects of death allow for closure and can be a holistic part of the healing process when dealing with a loved one who has passed on. 

The body of a loved one, when donated to science, is taken directly into research. This means no wake, memorial, or graveside services where the body is present. These services can still be held with an object like a favorite heirloom or a picture taking the central focus of the memorial. 

3. Cremation

The most popular option for funeral services is that of cremation services. Cremation itself stretches far back into the history of human civilization and just like burial has had both practical and religious attachments. Some religions prohibit followers from participating in cremation, such as Judaism and Islam, however, it is a popular method for modern culture. 

Cremation itself is different from burial primarily in the fact that a cremation involves incinerating the remains of the deceased while burial involves burying them beneath the surface of the earth. The process for cremation is rather straightforward and not too complicated. 

The deceased must first be identified by proper authorities and surviving family or powers of attorney, and paperwork like any necessary permits or copies of the death certificate will be taken care of. Once identified the body is prepared in a proper container that is designed to deteriorate in the incendiary process. After this, the body will then be moved to what is known as a retort, which is a special kind of furnace or cremation chamber. 

The cremated remains of the deceased are then processed down to ashes. Nearly 60% of the human body is composed of water, so once the body is exposed to the extreme temperatures of the retort, most of the bodily tissue evaporates or sublimates into gas. This leaves behind a surprisingly small amount of remains as the typical human body produces four to six pounds of human ashes. 

The Cost of Cremation

For many people, the appealing factor of cremation is undoubtedly the lower cost. While funerals can range upwards of seven thousand dollars and more, the average cost of a cremation is typically less than $4,000.

There are also huge variables when it comes to the cost of cremation as there are typically three popular options when a person decides to take this path. These three options vary not only in the amount of money that it costs but also in the kind of memorial interaction a family and community can have during the grieving process. 

Direct Cremation

Direct cremation is the most cost-effective option for handling the death of a loved one who chose to be cremated. In direct cremation, the body of the deceased is directly cremated without any kind of memorial or funeral services. This option also does not include the price of an urn as typically the surviving family or friends will provide the container for the deceased ashes.

Once the body has been cremated, these remains are given over to those surviving the deceased and they will do with them as they please. Popular options when someone chooses to have a direct cremation are to spread the ashes in nature. 

The tricky thing about spreading a loved one’s ashes is that while it is a very common and practiced form of commemoration, you always have to ensure that you are legally allowed to do this. The ability to spread ashes of loved ones changes from place to place and you should always check with local governments or authorities to make sure you have the ability to do this. 

Memorial Cremation

Memorial cremation represents the medium tier of cost when it comes to the process of cremation. If this option is chosen, then the family will still need to employ a funeral home for normal funeral services and the body will be cremated. 

In memorial cremation the body is still taken directly into the cremation option, however, the remains are placed in a commemorative urn, like biodegradable urns, water urns, or companion urns in the event of the loss of two loved ones. The urn and any other objects the family wishes to display are typically the focal points of a traditional funeral and even graveside service. 

This option has certain funeral expenses but it still bypasses the cost of embalming and choosing a casket. These costs are substantial and a memorial cremation will still cost several thousands of dollars less than a typical burial.  

Traditional Cremation

Lastly, there is the most expensive option for cremation which is traditional cremation. This service includes several of the same unique elements that earthen burial has including the embalming of the body. This allows for the family and community to have the same kind of memorial services a traditional burial process would afford. 

This is the most expensive option because it still includes the cost of embalming and purchasing a casket for the display of the body during the services. The benefit to this is that you do not pay a fee for burial and you do not typically have a graveside experience. 

Once the services are complete, the body is taken to be cremated and the ashen remains are given to the surviving family. 

Memorial Diamond

If a loved one chooses to be cremated, the carbon from their cremated ashes can be turned into a unique, one-of-a-kind memorial diamond. These diamonds are 100% real, graded by the IGI, and grown to specification. This is a beautiful way to help commemorate the memory of a loved one in a truly unique and eternal way. 


How Much Does a Funeral Cost? | Bankrate.

What is the average cost of a cremation? | US Funerals

The Cremation Process Step-by-Step. How it works from start to finish. | Funeralwise

• US cremation rate 2020 | Statista