Hidden Costs of Cremation

Hidden Costs of Cremation

Hidden Costs of Cremation

We often see cremation offered as an affordable alternative to burial—a way to say goodbye without the heavy costs associated with buying a casket, purchasing a grave plot, and putting up a headstone. While it is possible to save thousands of dollars this way, not all cremations end up being less than burial. Because so much depends on the details, you could actually end up paying more for cremation than you would for a simple or direct burial.

  • Embalming: You can still opt for embalming with a cremation (especially if you want to have a body viewing). Because this is the same service you would use with burial, additional costs average from $200 to $800.

  • Body Viewing: For many families, holding a body viewing is important regardless of how the body will be disposed of. A formal viewing (either open to the public or held privately) comes with handling fees, makeup and body preparation, and embalming.

  • Casket Purchase or Rental: For sanitation and safety purposes, the body will be laid in the cremation chamber inside a casket or lining you purchase. This casket can vary from ornate to simple, as can the charges for it. You might also want to rent a more elaborate casket if you hold a body viewing or formal funeral before the cremation takes place.

  • Funeral Services and Flowers: Many of the costs we associate with burial don’t come from the handling of the body itself, but from the memorial service that accompanies it. If you plan on holding any kind of funeral service, you can expect to pay similar fees for renting a space, hiring caterers and musicians, buying funeral flowers, and having materials printed up.

  • Cremation Fee: Cremation is cheaper than burial, but it does still cost money. Transporting the body, having the crematorium perform its necessary services, and filing the necessary paperwork all still has to take place.

  • Urn/Box of Ashes: You will receive the ashes of your loved one in a basic box unless you opt to purchase an urn or more elaborate container. Urns can cost from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on what you choose.

  • Columbarium Space: If you don’t want to keep the ashes on display in your home, you will need to make alternate arrangements. Many people choose to have the ashes interred in a columbarium niche, which means you will need to buy the niche space ($1,000), pay for it to be opened ($100), and purchase the engraved plaque or niche plate ($250).

  • Urn Burial: One alternative to a columbarium space is to have the urn buried in a traditional plot underground. This is similar to burial, in that the plot must be purchased, the grave opened, and a headstone erected—and usually for around $2,500 to $5,000 overall.

Of course, it is always possible to opt for direct cremation, which skips the fanfare and provides you with your loved one’s remains right away. As is the case with any kind of final plans, the amount of money you pay will be directly related to how elaborate the ceremony is and what kind of advance arrangements you made.

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