More and more people are choosing cremation. According to the National Funeral Directors Association's 2019 report on cremation and burial, Americans chose cremation more than traditional burial, and the cremation rate is expected to continue to rise.
Cremation offers a simple and affordable alternative to a traditional casket burial. Knowing the basics about cremation can help you make the best decision for yourself so you can let your loved ones know of your wishes after death.
One of the main reasons many people choose cremation is the considerable cost savings over a regular burial. The most basic cremation, often called a direct cremation, is the least expensive option and generally includes only the transportation and cremation of the body and the return of the ashes to the family of the deceased.
Some funeral homes have their own crematorium while others contract cremation services out to other facilities. Make sure to ask about any associated fees and total final cost, including any transportation costs, with the representative at your funeral home.
While some people who choose cremation opt not to have any kind of funeral or memorial service at all, others still want a service. Funeral services can be held before or after cremation. If seeing the body is important, you can hold a funeral with a regular viewing before the scheduled cremation.
Many families opt to rent an appealing casket for the funeral service instead of buying an expensive one that won't be needed after cremation. Most people are cremated in basic cremation caskets.
You can choose a memorial service after cremation if you prefer not to hold a more traditional funeral. Some families incorporate the ashes into the memorial service.
After cremation, the funeral home will return the deceased's ashes to the next of kin. Choosing what to do with a loved one's ashes is a very personal decision. Many families choose to bury their loved one's ashes in a cemetery with a marker to have a place to visit. Some cemeteries require a burial vault or grave liner to bury cremated remains.
Some people choose to keep a loved one's ashes in an urn or another special container. Another popular way to send off a loved one is to scatter their ashes in a special location, often the one chosen by the deceased. Make sure to check local laws and ordinances before scattering ashes. Others use the ashes in art projects or jewelry.
Ask a local funeral home's director any questions you have about cremation services to help you plan the right service for yourself or your loved one.