7 Common Questions about Direct Cremation

Photo by Andreas Fickl

When someone you love dies, you’re probably trying to make sense of it all. There are many questions and decisions you’ll need to make. And that’s regardless on whether you have a traditional funeral, memorial service or another approach. One decision that may not be obvious is whether the body will be cremated or buried. And if the family chooses cremation, there are several options for how to proceed with the remains. Direct cremation is one type of service available: it’s fast and easy and can cost less than other methods. But what exactly is direct cremation? We have gather this and other common questions about direct cremation so you don’t have to. Here’s everything you need know about this option:

1. What is direct cremation?

Direct cremation is a simple, straightforward process that provides the least expensive and most basic cremation service. You may have also heard it is as “simple cremation” or “direct cremation”.  You can also think of it as a “basic cremation.” Let’s see why.

  • Embalming is not part of the process. That means that your loved one’s body will be able to be transported sooner.

  • No casket present. This saves on costs and helps reduce our carbon footprint. After all, urns are usually much cheaper.

  • Often there is no visitation prior to the funeral service. In some cases there’s even no gathering of family members at a wake either. People usually have a wake after viewing hours. However, direct cremations usually don’t include viewing hours in the first place!

2. How much does cremation cost?

The cost of a direct cremation can vary depending on the type of cremation you choose and where you live. On average, the cost for direct cremation in the United States is $1,650 to $3,150 (not including cemetery costs). For comparison, the average cost for traditional funeral services is $7,000+.

Traditional funerals involve embalming the body and providing it with an outer casket. What comes next is transporting it to a funeral home and then to a cemetery for burial. In contrast, direct cremations only involve removing the deceased from their place of death. After that, the services take the body directly to one of two locations: an incinerator or another approved facility.

3. Who can arrange direct cremation?

Anyone can arrange direct cremation. This includes:

  • Next of kin.

  • Executor of the last will.

  • Probate court or trustee in charge of an estate or trust (if there’s no will).

  • Agent under power of attorney.

In addition, friends and family members may also make arrangements. They may even do so without your consent. For example, let’s say that the deceased wanted a cremation but no family member can make such arrangements. In that case a friend might decide to take care of everything herself out of respect for the deceased.

4. Can I still have a funeral with a direct cremation?

Yes, you can still hold a funeral service with a direct cremation! You can even schedule it to happen at the same time as your family’s viewing and/or visitation of your loved one. If this doesn’t work for you, however, there are a few other options available:

  • Funeral service at another location or day. If you want to keep things simple and inexpensive you may opt for a funeral service after the cremation.

  • Arrange an out-of-town service. This is ideal for  family members or friends who want to attend but cannot make it back home right away. That often is due to financial or time constraints such as travel costs.

5. Does it matter whether I use a funeral home or a crematory?

No, it doesn’t matter. Whether you use a funeral home or a crematory for a direct cremation is up to you.

You may want to consider using a funeral home if you need help with certain things. That can include paperwork or extra services such as memorials, wakes and other ceremonies.

You should choose a crematory that offers the best price and service in your area. Most states require that all facilities be licensed by the state. Moreover such facilities have to meet certain safety requirements before they can operate their business. Choosing a licensed funeral home or crematory can be very important for a direct cremation.

6. How soon after death can you have a direct cremation?

If the death has been certified by a physician or registered nurse, your body may be released within hours of death. However, if an autopsy must take place, the body will remain in the morgue until then. Generally speaking, if an autopsy is not requested and there are no signs of foul play, the family receives the body within 48 hours of death.

But how long does it take to arrange a direct cremation?

The time frame depends on whether the deceased person has already made arrangements with their funeral home or not. If they have not made arrangements  then their next-of kin must make all decisions regarding disposition. But if they have previously discussed their wishes, then these needs may be met quickly. That is because most facilities require at least 24 hours notice for preparation only. However, some facilities may need additional time depending on circumstances such as weather conditions during transport etc.

7. Who is responsible for getting permits for cremation?

It’s important to know who is responsible for getting the permits necessary for a direct cremation. In most cases, that person is the funeral home or crematory you choose to work with. Most funeral homes and crematories will be able to help you get all of the necessary documents. This usually includes death certificates and any other documents required by law. If in doubt, contact directly the funeral home or crematory you chose. You can then ask them what documentation they require before they can proceed with your loved one’s final wishes.

Direct Cremation is one of several types of cremations

Direct Cremation is one of several types of cremations available. It is the least expensive, fastest and most private type of cremation service. In addition to being less emotional, it also has no religious component and requires no ceremony at all.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has helped to answer any questions you have about direct cremation. As you can see, it’s a simple and affordable way to honor your loved one. You can still arrange a memorial service if you wish. The most important thing is that you find peace of mind knowing that you follow and respect your loved one’s wishes.

If there’s anything else we can do for you or if there are still some unanswered questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact us! Our team would be happy to help in any way possible. If you want to know about our own inexpensive Funeral Plan that helps you organize your end-of-life decisions, click here. And if you’re ready to experience Myend’s comprehensive services, sign up today completely free of charge.

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Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.