Americans continue to choose cremation over a traditional burial service, with more than 70% of New Hampshire and Vermont residents deciding on cremation options for themselves and for family members who have passed. Cremation costs is one of the reasons why the option has grown, as choosing cremation means some of the aspects of a traditional funeral and burial service are not necessary.
It is predicted that in less than 20 years, more than half of Americans across the United States will choose a cremation option. Most religions, aside from those in Jewish or Muslim faiths, now consider cremation an approved end-of-life option. The Vatican issued updated guidelines for Catholics and cremation in late 2016, stating that while cremation is acceptable, cremated remains should be placed in a sacred place.
Despite the recent changes in religious guidelines and the potential cost savings, the concept of cremation does remain a mystery to some. There are several things to keep in mind when weighing your options for yourself or a loved one.
Some people have decided they want to have a simple farewell and say, “I just want to be cremated.” Generally, they want to skip the “bells and whistles” that they have experienced at others’ funerals. No casket. No flower arrangements. No funeral procession to the cemetery, etc.
The funeral industry refers to a simple cremation as a direct cremation. Many funeral homes, including Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium, guide families through the direct cremation process. A direct cremation is when a body is cremated generally one to three days after death, without a funeral service beforehand.
Direct cremation is an affordable cremation option, as there are fewer costs, such as, no need for embalming, a casket is not essential and there is no wake/viewing of the body beforehand.
At Phaneuf, here is what is included in a direct cremation option:
- Local transfer of the deceased’s body from the place of death into our care
- The medical examiner’s fee
- Use of refrigeration
- Cremation container (you can choose an upgraded container instead of the standard container we generally use)
- Crematory fee
- Our 10-Step Identification, Security and Control Cremation Process
Choosing a direct cremation does not mean you cannot include a memorial service for your family and friends. A memorial or celebration of life can take place after the cremation, and can be held at a funeral home or another location of your choosing.
At Phaneuf, we have had conversations with thousands of families about pre-planning for a funeral. We also offer advice and guidance to those who choose cremation planning as the best option for them.
You Can Pre-pay For a Cremation
One of the main reasons someone pre-plans for a traditional funeral or a cremation is to save their family from the burden of making such plans in the short amount of time between when someone dies and when decisions need to be made. Going this route is also one final gift someone can give to their family. There is no need to worry about the funds for a cremation, as it has already been paid for ahead of time.
Simply, you can pay for your cremation services or for those of a spouse or loved one, and those prices are locked in, with no funds being due later. You can pay all at once, or set up a payment plan.
A container, constructed of wood, is used to be cremated with the body. Embalming is absolutely not necessary when you choose cremation and it’s against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise. In addition, you do not have to buy an urn from the crematorium or funeral home, but you do need to provide a container of at least 200 cubic inches that can accommodate the cremated remains.
Another thing to consider, cremation arrangements are portable, meaning you can move them. Your wishes may also change your during your lifetime, and you can always adjust your wishes.
While it’s not always pleasant to think about, there are many things to consider, even with a simple cremation. That is why we are always here to answer any questions that may arise. Making these arrangements should bring you some level of comfort and relief, as well as alleviate a great burden for your family after you pass.