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What is Direct Cremation?

cost of direct cremation flower

It's no secret: the popularity of cremation continues to soar, and one of the reasons for its growth 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 answers to the following questions 

  • What is direct cremation?
  • What is included in direct cremation?
  • What are the benefits of direct cremation?
  • What is the cost of direct cremation?

Direct Cremation is an Affordable Cremation Option

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 Is Direct Cremation and What's Included?

Really what is 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:

direct cremation retrieval

The local pick-up and transportation of the deceased to the provider's facility (either a funeral home or our local crematorium)

direct cremation paperwork

The completion and filing of all legally-required documents, including the death certificate and authorization for cremation

direct cremation container

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)

direct cremation crematory icon

The actual cremation of the body and the processing of the cremated remains

direct cremation urn icon

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 Benefits of Direct Cremation?

affordable cremation flowersWhile 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).

What Are the Drawbacks of Direct Cremation

what is direct cremation? coupleDirect cremation is the simplest funeral service solution available and, by itself, doesn't address the benefits of having a ritual that formally acknowledges the passing. This choice thereby implies that you are planning your own service or choosing not to have a service.
Funeral directors are often regarded simply as people who complete the technical elements of the funeral service, but they also have the experience and know-how to create an experience that expertly serves the grief and need for closure inherent in dealing the passing of a loved one. 
The responsibility of planning a memorial or funeral service can often be a lot for those who are already dealing with grieving the loss of a loved one and the details of settling the estate. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities you are facing after your loved one has passed away, we can help. We can help with the details of planning a meaningful memorial service that will satisfy your family and do its part in providing closure. We can offer advice on estate settlement and make recommendations to help make the process less hectic. Finally, we can recommend grief counselors to help you acknowledge the pain of loss and find a certain amount of normalcy in your life, which is now forever changed. Call us at 516-223-3516. We'll be honored to help.

Let's Briefly Talk about the "Funeral Rule"

direct cremation cost flowersDid 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:

  1. You have the right to select only the services and products you want.
  2. You do not have to pay for embalming unless you've authorized it.
  3. When choosing direct cremation, you do not have to buy a casket.
  4. 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.
  5. You are allowed to get pricing information over the phone. This makes shopping for cremation services easier on everyone in the family.
  6. 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.)


Where to Begin

Assess which factors are most important to you and get your facts about cremation and cremation process before you make your decision (see Making the Decision for guidelines).

If you, or your family, are struggling with making the cremation decision, or would like more information about direct cremation, we invite you to call us at (516) 223-3516 to discuss your cremation options in greater detail. 

If you're looking for information specifically on the cremation process and "how does cremation work" we have more information on our Process of Cremation page.

Online Sources:

Raymond, Chris, "What is Direct Cremation?",, accessed 2014