Cremation vs. Burial: Ultimate Guide 2021
The death of a person always causes great pain in the hearts of family members and loved ones. Death, as an inevitable natural fact, also entails precise legal consequences.
Further, death obliges the survivors to deal with a series of documents and procedures for the burial or cremation. One of the critical steps is choosing between burial and cremation. Before we analyze the differences, we will start from the very beginning.
What to Do When Someone Dies.
The processes that the relatives of the deceased must undertake do not only concern the documents concerning the entombment (or the burial or cremation) of the body.
They also entail those needed to withdraw the money necessary for the funeral expenses from the current account jointly held with the bank or post office.
1. The Death Report
The first procedure immediately after the death of a person is that of making a report of death to the municipal registry. This is a mandatory communication made to the municipality of residence of the now-deceased person.
The death report must:
- Be made by one of the relatives or by a delegate of the relative within 24 hours. Similarly, a person who lived with the deceased at the time of death or the person notified of the death can obtain the death report. As a practice, the staff of the funeral directors is responsible for making the report in place of the family members.
The documents to be presented include the certificate of the autopsy doctor, issued by the local health authority responsible for the area.
In the event of death in a hospital, institute, college, or other community, the health administrative departments provide for the death report and certifications.
The case in which the death occurs in the home is different. In this case, it will be necessary to call the doctor or emergency service (the medical guard) to ascertain the death and provide the required documents for the death report.
2. The Documents For The Transposition Of The Body
There are papers needed for the body’s transport and the documents necessary for the cremation or burial. Transport authorization is required to move the body from the place of death to the funeral home. It is also needed to move the body or ashes from the funeral home to the burial/cremation site.
In practice, once you get the death ascertained, it is possible to request authorization for transport, the issue of which is the municipality’s responsibility.
The place where the body is found may be from a different metropolis than that of the burial. In this case, it will be essential to request authorization from the burial city to transfer the body.
There are two moments in which it is possible to request transport authorization.
- Before ascertaining the death, the doctor who will be responsible for verifying the death must also check whether the body can be transported safely
- In the most frequent cause, the request is made after confirmation and declaration of death.
The body’s transport can only take place through the authorized means belonging to the funeral directors. The family bears the costs. Only in the event of a cremation will it be possible to transport the ashes by private vehicle.
3. Choose The Ceremony
Once you have contacted the funeral home, you should organize the ceremony and burial with the latter. Also, in this case, the list of choices is quite extensive, and it would be advisable to do it with the necessary advice of an expert and sufficiently detached from the emotion invading you.
Among the major decisions, there will be identifying the place where the ceremony will be held. You will also choose the funeral ceremony and finalize the documentation and authorization process for the transport and burial of the body.
The funeral home will help with the organization of the funeral itself.
4. Choose Products
Once you have obtained all the documents and chosen the place and date for the ceremony, it is time to take care of the details.
These include the coffin, the herse, the human resources, and the flowers, choosing the ceremonial music and the typographic elements, obituaries, thank you cards, marble works, and the funeral event’s personalization aspects.
Fortunately, once you choose the products, your agency will take care of the rest: coordinating times, finding documentation, providing materials.
The Methods of Send Off: Cremation vs. Burial
Burial: Procedures and Costs.
In organizing a funeral, in addition to the funeral rite with which to celebrate the deceased loved one, you will have to choose between the various burial methods.
Not everyone is concerned about leaving details for the choice of the destination of their body after death.
Therefore, in an already painful moment, family members will have to interpret the beliefs and personal tastes of the deceased loved one and decide how to deal with the body. Let’s analyze the differences together and some information that may be useful for you to understand which burial to choose.
Burial in Earth
This is burial “in earth” (from the Latin in-humus). It is usually interpreted as a return to the earth and is ideal when you want to do things conventionally.
The body is placed in an easily decomposable lightweight wooden coffin and buried directly in a cemetery field after digging a pit in pre-defined plots of land within the cemetery. The city decides on the provisions with which the excavation will be carried out.
After a certain period necessary for the land settlement, the family will place a plaque on the burial area with the deceased loved one’s name, image, and personal data.
The burial period varies from region to region. Usually, it is at least ten years, during which the cemetery manager cannot exhume the body to free the place. If the municipality does not need to clear the field, the burial can last much longer.
At the end of the period, the cemetery typically exhumes the deceased’s remains and collects them to deposit in an ossuary drawer in the cemetery.
Burial in a Tomb
This involves placing the body in a family tomb. We, therefore, speak of burial when the body gets placed in cemetery walls. The coffin, which in this case will be a wooden coffin with an airtight inner zinc case, will be buried in a concrete niche.
Most people, by social convention or habit, interpret tomb burial as a gesture of tremendous respect for the deceased, compared to burial on the ground or cremation: a way to “put him there well” or to “know that he is there.”
The concession to use the niches and other private burials are subject to a fee according to a rate set by the municipal authority and the period.
The Costs of a Burial
Given the sensitivity of the circumstance, asking what the cost of a funeral is might seem like an uncomfortable and out-of-tune question. Yet even the delicate theme of death collides with the indifferent economic aspect, which is impossible to escape.
The first consideration is that the cost of a funeral can vary greatly depending on the type of burial. It also depends on the services required, the kind of ceremony to be organized, and the financial availability.
Understated or luxurious, low-cost or glitzy, everyone has the choice of how to honor and bury loved ones.
Generally, the average cost of a complete burial and funeral is 9000 USD. This is based on data from the National Funeral Directors Association.
The Factors That Affect The Costs of a Burial.
In detail, the factors that affect funeral costs and fees are:
- The type of casket, the price of which depends on the material and the artistry
- The service of dressing, preparation, and sanitation of the bod
- Transport of the deceased, cost of the herse, venue, and the burial site.
- The type of burial
To concretely understand what we are talking about, it is essential to remember that each of the services above may have extra costs. For example, that the simple choice of the funeral casket can have additional charges. As it is easy to understand, talking about the average cost for a funeral reveals and highlights a significant uncertainty.
Other services include funeral home, floral compositions, mourning notices, obituaries, and funeral decorations. You may also have to budget for the making of the tombstone and its installation.
Get all the details to avoid unpleasant surprises and consequent dissatisfaction. It is essential to require a clear and transparent estimate of the funeral expenses from the funeral home to which one applies.
In this regard, it is worth remembering to be very cautious in the face of low-cost offers. These are the prices that are too low compared to what the market offers.
The risk is incurring a low-quality service and sloppiness in the presence of a delicate situation that requires the utmost professionalism. Ultimately, save money, but with just and considered prudence, paying attention to the danger of scams.
An increasingly common solution to address the high cost of a funeral is to finance its price by paying in installments on a loan. According to the latest research, about one-third of Italians resort to the help of credit institutions.
Burial Fees to Expect.
Some services are compulsory. Others are optional, which means you can only take them according to your budget and the deceased’s last wishes.
The coffin must be biodegradable and equipped with a sealing system. There is a wide range of coffins (and linings). Prices range from single to quadruple, or even more, depending on the quality and the provider.
The coffin is not the same, depending on whether it is a burial cremation. The wood will be more resistant for burial and often much more artistic than for a cremation.
The price range is from 800 to 10,000 USD.
You have to add the four handles to carry the coffin (plan for around 100 USD for the four handles). All other equipment on the coffin is not obligatory, for example, hiding screws (it is prettier, but by no means compulsory).
Also, plan for the costs of a hearse and four carriers for the coffin. If the deceased has a greater than average weight, you may need two additional carriers – so only two extra handles on the coffin. For the four carriers of the casket, for, count between 300 and 550 USD.
The identity plate of the deceased is to be placed on the coffin (plan for around 35 USD). It contains the name and first name of the dead, his year of birth, and the year of his death. It allows the deceased’s identity to be recognized, for example, in the event of a reopening of a vault.
The master of ceremonies
They make it possible to coordinate the mourners during the convoy and to transmit the required administrative documents. They are beneficial throughout the funeral, primarily to oversee the family’s ceremony plan for between 150 and 500 USD.
You will need a specific hearse vehicle (the license plate must be sent to the police). This helps to transport the body to the funeral home or mortuary. The breakdown of the rental is very variable (depending on the type of vehicle and the chosen service provider).
You have to plan for the costs for formalities and administrative procedures:
· Declaring the death at the town hall
- Requesting the opening of a cemetery plot/ family vault at the town hall
- Applying for a permit to bury the body or have it cremated etc.
Foundation and opening of the cellar
The digging and covering of a pit (opening and closing) are obligatory in the case of burial. This will cost approximately 550 to 650USD. That counts the labor but also the cement and sand for sealing the slabs).
In the event of burial in the ground, some town halls require a funeral monument. Others allow the pit to be filled in with earth and then grassed up.
The filling (a classic taffeta padding costs 120 USD) and the cushions are optional inside the coffin.
They are not compulsory (unless the deceased remains at his home before the funeral). It takes 730 to 820 USD.
Flowers and Wreaths
They are not compulsory. But often, friends, families, co-workers, nursing home staff can, individually or in groups, offer a wreath or a wreath.
For the death of a child or adolescent, pale colors (white, yellow, etc.) are traditionally ideal.
The funeral directors place the mourning flowers and wreaths on or around the coffin. Some undertakers graciously offer up to 20 roses to put on the casket or throw in the grave.
Certain deceased or family members, in their final wills, mention “neither flowers nor crowns.” Sometimes they prefer to donate to an association or foundation that the deceased loved.
Decorations and ornaments
Decorations, civil or religious emblems, are optional. They are hung on the sheets covering the beer or placed next to it on a cushion. You can add a gilded engraving with a touch of gold on the tomb or the funeral monument or on a marble book (plan for around 8 to 10 USD per letter) to indicate the deceased’s identity and possibly his date of birth and the date of death.
In the past, they added the photo of the deceased. This is done a little less nowadays. You can also put some verses from the gospel where a prayer (if the deceased is Catholic) or a pious thought.
Maintenance of the grave
It also comes at a cost. It is not always possible to regularly visit the grave of a parent, child, spouse, or other family members. But you can ask for regular maintenance of the grave (cleaning, possible flower ). Many funeral directors offer you a burial maintenance package. Here too, be vigilant. Make several quotes before you decide.
Tabulated Summary of Burial Expenses
Preparation and administrative formalities
between 171 and 400 USD
Coffin (with its accessories)
between 2000 and 10000 USD
Ceremony (civil or religious) and convoy
between 320 and 1300 USD
between 730 and 820 USD
between 130 and 500 USD
between 550 and 850 USD
between 4500-8500 USD
Death related taxes
between 20 and 130 USD
Distribution Obituary notice
between 150 and 700 USD
between 4071 and 14700 USD for earth burial
between 8441 and 22700 USD for tomb burial
Average Burial Costs By State
- Maine $9,122
- Utah $7,639
- Mississippi $6,684
- Delaware $8,392
- Indiana $6,987
- Wisconsin $7,554
- Texas $7,103
- Alaska $10,084
- Kansas $6,909
- Michigan $6,902
- Kentucky $7,057
- Colorado $8,198
- Missouri $6,762
- South Dakota $7,748
- Maryland $10,069
- New Mexico $6,793
- California $11,777
- South Carolina $7,445
- Pennsylvania $7,895
- Arizona $7,530
- North Dakota $7,670
- Alabama $6,933
- Connecticut $9,914
- Wyoming $6,933
- Nevada $8,423
- Ohio $7,049
- Hawaii $14,975
- Washington $8,594
- Iowa $6,995
- Arkansas $6,746
- Vermont $8,889
- Montana $8,229
- Louisiana $7,290
- Virginia $7,818
- Oregon $10,418
- West Virginia $7,072
- Georgia $6,925
- Oklahoma $6,754
- New York $10,799
- Massachusetts $10,216
- Rhode Island $9,269
- New Jersey $9,712
- Nebraska $7,049
- Florida $7,600
- Idaho $7,165
The Burial Procedure.
Find a Funeral Home
Typical burials begin with the selection of a funeral home by the family of the deceased. In most cases, a funeral home will be responsible for providing the majority of services required for a traditional burial.
The staff will get started as soon as you sign the paperwork necessary for the funeral home to begin. Getting/ verifying documents such as death certificates and embalming permissions are typically part of this step.
The next step entails deciding whether or not you want the body embalmed and how you wish the funeral to be conducted. When communicating and making decisions, you should ask questions whenever you feel confused–and consult with your family before making decisions.
You must choose the location of the cemetery early on. You can request a cemetery list from the funeral home. Once the funeral home has arranged the burial plot and the burial date and time, the cemetery will contact you to confirm arrangements.
Several states allow people to bury their loved ones on their property. However, you should check the laws in your State.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The next step is cleansing and disinfecting the body in the absence of an autopsy. As a side note, autopsy rarely occurs unless in the case of traumatic death or foul play.
A funeral home does cleaning and disinfection as part of the predation process to safely care for the body.
After the standard cleansing process, embalming takes place. Embalming preserves the body for several days or a few weeks using formaldehyde chemicals.
The law doesn’t require embalming. You can opt-out if you prefer.
Dressing and Beautification
As a next step, the funeral home will ask you to provide items buried with the deceased. This can include small personal belongings like jewelry or small coins.
Here, your loved one’s hair and makeup will be styled by the funerary esthetician to help restore even more of their looks. You can skip this step if you do not want to hold a viewing. However, you will still get to pick the burial clothing for your loved one.
Placement in the casket
You can choose a casket from the funeral home’s shelves or bring one with you. When you select or provide a coffin, the funeral home places the body inside it. Either half of the lid will be open at the viewing, or the entire top will be lifted for final goodbyes.
The Funeral Service and Viewing
A viewing and funeral service will follow. Viewings typically take place at the funeral home. Also, funeral services can be held in temples, churches, or even at home.
You can use a funeral home’s hearses to transport the casket with the body to a location of your choosing.
Opening and closing the grave are part of a traditional burial. You can choose a grave liner or vault that the cemetery will install to lower the casket into the ground.
Usually, only close relatives and friends attend a cemetery ceremony after a funeral and viewing. You will watch the casket get lowered into the ground. You will get to drop a handful of soil on top of the grave to seal it.
Erecting a Grave Marker
Lastly, you can place a grave marker or a headstone to finish off the gravesite. Gravestones may lay flat on the ground, or they may stand upright.
Cremation: Procedures and Costs
Cremation consists of the incineration of the body of the deceased. This takes place in special facilities and certified crematory ovens. The body will be placed in a wooden chest, used for religious services, and then transported to the oven.
The ashes will then be returned to relatives in caskets or urns. The latter will have to choose whether to keep them, disperse them, or transform them into memory diamonds.
To authorize cremation, the authorities must ascertain that it was the deceased’s will to choose this type of burial. They will check the will.
By choosing cremation, after the funeral rite, the body will take the way to the nearest crematorium instead of being transported to the cemetery.
Who Can Request for Cremation?
Cremation can be requested by the deceased himself through a specific testamentary will, the spouse, or the closest relatives. In these cases, the clear presentation of will is fundamental.
Another way to express the desire to be cremated is to join recognized cremation associations. They have among their purposes that of cremating the corpses of their members.
Was your loved one a member of these associations? In that case, it will be sufficient to present a declaration on a free paper written and dated, clearly showing their will to be cremated. The president of the association must validate the declaration.
What Documentation Is Needed To Obtain Authorization For Cremation.
In addition to the documentation described in the previous paragraph, it is necessary to produce the certificate on plain paper drawn up by the treating doctor or the autopsy doctor.
How Much Does Cremation Cost?
Cremation is not free, except in cases of the body of a needy person. Or a person belonging to a needy family or for which there is the disinterest of family members.
The costs vary according to the tariff regulations approved by the respective local administrations. In addition, the declaration of the spouse or relatives must be presented with stamp duty.
A revenue stamp of the exact amount will be affixed to any request for transport and delivery of the ashes.
Cremation Costs and Prices to Expect
Let’s start immediately by remembering that for 2021 the cost of cremation is set from $2000 to $4,500. However, we invite you to pay attention immediately. The price provided is only part of the costs that you will have to incur to cover the costs of a complete funeral.
The price of a funeral with cremation is therefore not a fixed amount. The cremation costs that we have briefly reported above are to be taken exclusively as estimates.
As an example, the cost of cremation will depend on the choice of coffin and urn. It will vary based on the distance from the crematorium and any other services that the heirs choose to include for the final farewell.
Cremation Costs: Are They Convenient?
At this point, one might already wonder if cremation costs are convenient for those who want to try to save on the funeral. Or if the difference between the costs of cremation and the costs of burial is not extensive.
In reality, cremation allows you to save on cost items that are certainly not marginal. Think, for example, of the cost of the casket: in the case of cremation, you can opt for a cheaper version. This is because it will be burned together with the body of the deceased.
Traditionally, cremation tends to be cheaper. This is due to the absence of containment plots and cemetery taxes. The ashes could be stored at home or dispersed in special areas per the deceased’s request or the family’s preference.
Cost Of Cremation Vs. Burial.
So far, we need a summary of the main fees that anyone who wants to be cremated or is thinking of cremating a loved one should know.
We try to arrive at a more precise definition of the cost of a funeral with cremation with a summary table. You will notice that the primary cost is the one fixed (in maximum terms) by the State, but that most of the expenses are in any case related to activities that are not included in the reference rate:
Tabulated Summary of Cremation Costs
Cremation 811.60 USD
Cash desk 690 USD (the basic one)
Hearse 490 to 680 USD
Urn 71 to 365USD
Flowers 90 to 261 USD
Dressing of the body 220 USD
Cash holders 3 50 USD
Ceremony 180 USD
Death related taxes between 20 and 130 USD
Distribution Obituary notice between 150 and 700 USD
From the above table, it follows that cremation services generally cost approximately 3072 and 4387.60 USD. The cost of these services may vary depending on whether they are handled by a crematory or by a third party. Expect to pay more with the latter.
And, of course, we are still talking about an estimate. It may be possible to find cheaper offers by giving up some services (such as the car for accompanying family members) as well as – obviously – more detailed estimates in case you want to opt for more advanced service.
Cost of Cremation with Funeral Services by City.
- Honolulu, Hawaii $3,868
- New York City, New York $3,953
- San Jose, California $3,349
- Minneapolis, Minnesota $4,311
- Dallas, Texas $4,619
- Sacramento, California $3,366
- San Diego, California $3,213
- Average Cremation Cost
- Houston, Texas $4,875
- Seattle, Washington $2,694
- Boston, Massachusetts $4,633
- Denver, Colorado $3,348
- Atlanta, Georgia $3,753
- Austin, Texas $4,051
- Portland, Oregon $3,305
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $3,585
- Miami, Florida $3,245
- Chicago, Illinois $4,031
- Washington, DC $3,896
- Los Angeles, California $2,730
- Detroit, Michigan $3,106
- San Francisco, California $3,775
Steps in a Cremation and Funeral Ceremony.
Grievers may stand outside as they await the hearse or enter the chapel before carrying the coffin. Mourners could also arrive before the coffin gets to the venue attendees must therefore arrive promptly. It is usually placed on a catafalque above the ground, traditionally decorated near the church’s front.
Mourners are seated
Usually, cremation funeral services last around 30 to 45 minutes before the process of cremation begins. It’s therefore essential that guests are on time.
The service is held
There can be hymns and musical pieces in a cremation service as well as eulogies. Families can request extra time for a more extended service, which may include prayers or poetry.
The committal begins.
Following the service, the coffin is usually hidden from view until the final rites are performed, followed by cremation.
The central element of the cremation process is the crematorium, a structure capable of treating the remains of human bodies at high temperatures, thus accelerating the achievement of the desired result. In any case, the temperatures reached inside the structure will reach 900 – 1,000 degrees.
The cremation is done by keying in the coffin’s crematorium with the body. Placed on a flat surface, the coffin is then conducted inside the furnace through the metal guides that push in the upper part of the plant.
In this way, the body of the deceased and the coffin quickly catch fire. The ash and calcified bones will fall into the lower part of the oven, where the combustion will be completed.
After a few hours, once the process is complete, the remains will be pushed outside the plant, along a cooling zone. In this area, the ashes will be collected and placed on a vibrating sieve.
This eliminates the finest dust, keeping only those remains that will undergo the very last phase of the treatment.
The collection of ashes
The remains are further treated in a final step. A magnet will separate the metallic material contained in the ashes (coffin nails, prostheses, etc.), identifying the actual ashes from collect and seal inside an urn, which will then be given to relatives.
Mourners leave the service.
The guests may now lend their sympathy to the deceased’s family, view the flowers and wreaths donated by friends and relatives, and then proceed to the wake.
The wake begins
Families and friends can gather together to celebrate the life of a loved one as an optional affair. You may include Food, drinks, music, and an array of photos of the deceased to help share memories.
Treatment of the ashes
A building must be set up in the cemetery to house urns; the urns can also be placed in spaces given in concession to moral or private entities. You can dispose of ashes in specially designated areas within cemeteries, in nature (for example, in the sea, lake, river, wood), or in private outdoor areas, with the owner’s consent.
The transport of urns containing cremation residues is not subject to any hygienic precautionary measures established for transporting bodies unless otherwise indicated by the health coordinator.
Our ultimate suggestion is to rely on your trusted Funeral Home. The procedure for obtaining all the authorizations is not that simple. The funeral home knows details of what it has to do and which certificates to request.
The Documents for the Cremation.
Once the death has been ascertained, you are required to obtain permits for the transport of the body. One must also get the documents necessary for the cremation, carry out the usual municipal practices, and organize with the parish (in the case of a Christian religious funeral) or other religious institutions.
If you choose cremation, among the documents necessary for the funeral, there must also be one that certifies the deceased’s will in this sense (see the upper paragraph).
Further, if you want to proceed with the dispersion of the ashes, it will be necessary to have the documents required for their distribution. The latter is issued at the municipality where the dispersion should take place. Finally, it is possible to decide, always upon presentation of specific documentation, to keep the ashes in an urn at one’s home.
The Cremation of a Foreign Citizen.
The provisions of private international law guide the case of foreign citizens. Usually, the authorization for cremation must be issued based on the rules governing cremation in the legal system to which the deceased was subject in life.
Therefore, a declaration issued by the competent authorities of the country of origin must be acquired, showing the rules of law applicable to issue the prescribed cremation authorization.
As already mentioned, for all the documents necessary for the funeral and other bureaucratic practices, you can rely on the competence of a funeral home.
The home will be able to carry out for you, upon specific delegation, everything necessary to allow the correct conduct of the funeral without hitches.
With the right funeral home, you won’t have to worry about burdensome tasks in difficult moments after losing a loved one.
Cremation vs. Burial Pros and Cons.
Advantages of a Burial
- A conventional send-off
- Loved one gets a “permanent resting place” that you can also visit
- The body is handled with care and respect
- Aligns with religious requirements
Disadvantages of a Burial
- It can be extra costly.
- Many procedures involved in the funeral process
- It might be looked at as unfriendly to the environment.
Advantages of cremation
- It is less costly
- Flexible services
- Fewer funeral procedures
- Easy mobility
- Ease of commemoration
Disadvantages of cremation
- Religious Considerations – Greek Orthodox, Muslim, or Judaism religions may prohibit cremation. Pollution – C02 emissions during the cremation can be a disadvantage for some.
- No “resting place” for your loved one.
Burial vs. Cremation: Who Pays?
Most activities seen so far are handled by the funeral agency to which the funeral is entrusted. Indeed the fees will have to be paid. The funeral is paid for by the family of the deceased or by the closest relatives.
Very often, however, the funeral expenses are paid using the savings of the deceased person. The credit institutions (bank and post office), although they block the current account when the holder or co-holder dies, allow withdrawing a minimum amount sufficient to cover funeral expenses.
Consider reading this article if you have no money to pay for the funeral.
How Can We Help You?
Trying to find a burial or final expense plan need not be a frustrating process; working with an independent agency like simplified burial insurance will make the process easier and quicker.
We will work with you every step of the way to find the plan that fits your financial requirements and budget. You don’t have to waste your precious time anymore searching for multiple insurance companies because we will do the work for you.
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We will assist you in securing the coverage you need at a rate you can afford.
Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at (860) 783-4360 and we can give you an accurate quote.