What are my options for low-cost cremation services?

The least expensive cremation is called direct cremation. Depending on where you live, the basic cremation costs can be $600 to $3,000.

Here is an explanation of a basic low-cost cremation and the options that can be added to the cremation services as desired.

Cremation Services

This usually includes transport of the body to the crematorium. In its basic form, this is the cremation of the body in the crematorium oven. The body is subjected to intense heat for many hours until it is reduced to ash. One option is to place the body in a cremation container. This helps with the transport of the body and keeps it safe until it is placed in the oven. These containers are burned along with the body. The can be made of strong cardboard or wood.

Disposition of the Cremains

Some spiritual and religious traditions, such as the Hindu religion or the Buddhist practice have certain rites that are performed as part of the cremation process. These can be accommodated and add an extra expense to the cremation costs.

Copies of the Death Certificate

The crematorium can provide certified copies of the death certificates. These are needed for many purposes by the executor of the estate and/or the surviving family members, such as making a life insurance claim, canceling debts, or stopping the payments of Social Security benefits. It is usually a good idea to have quite a few certified copies of the death certificate to use for these purposes.

Crematory Fees

The crematory may charge a fee and there may be state taxes or permit fees to pay depending on where the crematorium is located.

Urns and Cremation Jewelry

Many appreciate having an attractive urn to use for safekeeping of the ashes of the deceased person (called the “cremains”). There are many urns to choose from at a crematorium or a person can use one that they bring from some other source.

If the crematorium does not provide an urn or does not have one given to them to use, the cremains are returned in a sealed plastic bag that is placed in a strong cardboard box or a plastic container. In such a case, the cremains can then be placed in an urn at a later time or spread somewhere.

Another option is to put a portion of the ashes in cremation jewelry that can be worn, such as a locket on a chain. This option allows more than one person to have some of the ashes of the deceased as a keepsake.

Memorial Services and Remembrances

Optional services include having an obituary placed in the local newspaper. A memorial service can be provided that is also called a “Celebration of Life” service. This may be held at the crematorium, if space is available for that purpose, or at another appropriate location.