Nearly 80% of New Hampshire residents choose cremation instead of a traditional funeral service, and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) predicts that the national cremation rate will reach 85% by the year 2035. There are several rationales as to why people choose to be cremated in their end-of-life planning, though cost is one of the top reasons.
Those who say, “When I die, I just want to be cremated. That’s it,” are likely referring to a direct cremation.
What is direct cremation?
Direct cremation is a funeral industry term, sometimes called a “no ceremony cremation,” “basic cremation” or “simple cremation.” It is the final disposition of a body performed soon after a death either at a crematory or a funeral home that houses its own crematorium, such as Phaneuf.
Here are some reasons why people consider direct cremation with no “bells and whistles”:
- Direct cremation is generally the least-expensive cremation option.
- A body is typically cremated in a simple container and it is not necessary to purchase a casket.
- The body does not need to be embalmed if there will be no wake or visitation service prior to cremation.
- Often, a cemetery and headstone are not part of a cremation, as cremated remains are kept by family members or friends.
- Transportation of the body is lessened as it only needs to be delivered to the crematorium.
- Funeral homes provide a simple container to return the cremated remains to you or you can purchase a decorative or keepsake urn.
A memorial service after cremation is possible
Some people find traditional funerals to be depressing and may choose in their end-of-life plans to arrange for a memorial or celebration of life service to take place days, weeks or months after the cremation has taken place. Often, these take place in family homes or favorite places of the deceased, such as a VFW Hall or minor league baseball stadium or favorite pub.
Having a more traditional service prior to a cremation, where the body is present, is not part of a direct cremation, but rather a traditional cremation. Differences in the two choices can be found here.
Cremation laws vary state to state, including how a body is transported, and a funeral director can assist with aspects such as:
- State or county cremation legalities
- Transportation arrangements
- Refrigeration prior to cremation
- Obtaining signatures from next of kin
- Preparing and filing a death certificate
Phaneuf can also assist if your end-of-life wishes include having your cremated remains interred at a columbarium niche a.k.a. a public location where urns with cremated remains are stored.
Often, though, loved ones prefer to keep the cremated remains, and a funeral director can assist in helping you find an ideal memorial container or can advise on unique alternatives for cremated remains.
With a direct cremation, you can also make your wishes known about what should happen with your remains. It is still very common to have cremated remains scattered according to the deceased wishes.