What is Direct Cremation
It's no secret: cremation rates continue to soar, and one of the reasons for its growing popularity has to do with its lower cost of cremation. For families and individuals concerned about the cost of end-of-life care, we're here to say direct cremation could be their best option. If you'd like to know more about this affordable cremation option, we urge you to read further. You'll discover the answer to the question "what is direct cremation?", and learn exactly what services are included when you select direct cremation over other cremation service alternatives.
Cremation is the Less Expensive Alternative
NBC Anchor Tyler Mathisen, in "Cremation is the Hottest Trend in the Funeral Industry" (published online in January of 2013) simply says "Cremation is cheaper than burial". He goes on to tell his readers: "The average cost of a funeral today is about $6,500, including the typical $2,000-or-more cost of a casket. Add a burial vault, and the average jumps to around $7,700. A cremation, by contrast, typically costs a third of those amounts, or less." For families and individuals concerned about the cost of end-of-life care, we're here to say direct cremation could be their best option.
What's Included in Direct Cremation?
Here's the truth of direct cremation: it involves only the minimal services required. That is to say, when you choose this most basic cremation alternative, only the following services will be provided:
The local pick-up and transportation of the deceased to the provider's facility (either a funeral home or crematory)
The completion and filing of all legally-required documents, including the death certificate and authorization for cremation
The respectful care and placement of the body in what's called an alternative cremation container (which is a thick-walled and lidded cardboard box)
The actual cremation of the body and the processing of the cremated remains
The return of the cremated remains (commonly and wrongly called "ashes") to the family in a basic cremation urn (which is simply a plastic or cardboard box)
What are the Additional Benefits of Direct Cremation?
While the low cost of direct cremation is certainly a benefit, and for many it's the primary benefit; there are others you should also consider. When you select direct cremation for a loved one (or as part of your pre-arrangement planning):
No embalming is required. Since there is no public event, such as a viewing or funeral service, where the body will be seen by family members and guests; there is no need for extensive body preparations.
The purchase of a casket is unnecessary. The body is cremated in a simple cardboard container, rather than a traditional casket. And the money you save can later be used to purchase a more appropriate cremation urn in which to safeguard your loved one's cremated remains.
There's greater flexibility in the planning of a memorial service or celebration-of-life. No longer are you "tied to" the immediate scheduling of traditional funeral events, held prior to burial or cremation. In fact, simply by choosing cremation you've got this same flexibility; yet by choosing direct cremation, you've saved a significant amount of money (which can later be used to pay for the memorial service or celebration-of-life).
Let's Briefly Talk about the Funeral Rule
Did you know, when you're shopping for funeral service providers–including those offering direct cremation–you're protected by something called the Funeral Rule? Enacted by the Federal Trade Commission in 1984 (and amended some ten years later), the Funeral Rule was intended to ensure American consumers receive enough factual information about the goods and services available to them from a funeral home or direct cremation provider. Here are the important points about the Funeral Rule you'll want to be aware of:
You have the right to select only the services and products you want.
You do not have to pay for embalming unless you've authorized it.
When choosing direct cremation, you do not have to buy a casket.
Prior to the arrangement conversation, a cremation or funeral provider is required to give you a set of documents, including the General Price List, the Casket Price List, and the price list for outer Burial Vaults.
You are allowed to get pricing information over the phone. This makes shopping for cremation services easier on everyone in the family.
You must receive a detailed written statement of the exact goods and services you are buying immediately upon completing cremation or funeral arrangements.
The Funeral Rule makes it possible for you to compare prices between funeral service providers, but you should be aware the "rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to cemeteries that lack an on-site funeral home." (For more information on the Funeral Rule, consult the Federal Trade Commission.)
How to Begin
Assess which factors are most important to you (see Making the Decision for guidelines). If you (or your family) are struggling with making the cremation decision, or would like more information about our affordable direct cremation options, we invite you to call us at (248) 508-0099 to discuss your cremation options in greater detail.
Raymond, Chris, "What is Direct Cremation?", About.com, accessed 2014