Cremation Services and Cremation Costs

People often assume that cremation costs simply refer to the fee charged by the crematorium to process remains. The cost of cremation itself is usually under $1000. However, there can be many additional costs associated with the process as well. These may include:

  • Obtaining a death certificate and paperwork releasing the body
  • Removing any internal medical devices or prosthetics that cannot be safely cremated
  • Transporting the remains to the crematorium
  • Purchasing a plain container to hold the cremains

Basic Cremation Costs and Extras

A package of basic cremation services (which only includes unavoidable expenses) may cost $1500-4000. The low end of the price range represents dealing directly with the crematorium. The high end involves enlisting the assistance of a funeral home to make arrangements. However, that price range does not include:

  • Casket rental for display if there will be a viewing prior to cremation
  • Facility fees for the funeral home hosting the viewing
  • Cemetery costs for a niche in a columbarium or crypt
  • A permanent urn
  • An engraved plaque for display with or on the urn

These additional costs may total several thousand dollars more. An urn alone may range in price from $100 to more than $1000. However, cremation costs are usually still much lower than embalming and whole body burial. There is no need to purchase a casket and burial vault, pay for embalming or beautification of the body, rent a hearse, pay pallbearers, purchase a full sized plot at a cemetery, or pay for opening and closing of the grave.

Additional Considerations for Managing Cremation Costs

The cost of cremation doesn’t reduce the other expenses that may be associated with any funeral or memorial service (flowers, obituaries, programs, musicians, clergy, etc.). Of course, these are still at the discretion of the family. When you are laying your loved one to rest as cremains, you have many more options for where to hold final services. Expenses for a scattering ceremony at an outdoor location such as a national park might only entail the cost of obtaining the relevant permit. If the memorial will be held indoors with the cremains in a sealed urn, you may have access to a broad variety of cost-conscious venues outside a funeral home.

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Things to Consider Regarding the Cremation Process

The cost of cremation itself is typically under $1,000. However, the final cost of cremation can also include fees for obtaining a death certificate and filing paperwork, removing anything that cannot be safely cremated, transportation of the remains, and the cost of a plain container to hold the ashes. Basic cremation services can range from $1,500-$4,000. This does not include a casket rental for an open casket viewing, the facility fees for the viewing, a permanent urn, or an engraved plaque to display with or on the urn. Although the entire cremation process is by no means cheap, it is usually much cheaper than embalming and a whole body burial.