Funeral CostsFuneral PlanningFuneralsWhat is Direct Cremation?

August 10, 2020Obitia

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A direct cremation is a disposition option (method treating a deceased’s body) in which the deceased’s body is cremated and the cremated remains (ashes or cremains) are returned to family members. Direct cremations have become steadily more popular as an option in recent years due to their cost and the freedom it gives the family to have less formal funeral services or celebration-of-life gatherings.


Why Choose a Direct Cremation?

As hinted at above there are two main reasons a family or an individual pre-planning their own funeral would choose to be directly cremated. The first is affordability, direct cremations because they do not require many of the other services of a funeral home, which means they tend to be significantly cheaper than a traditional funeral. A direct cremation will not have a memorial service or a viewing. One of the biggest reasons for this saving is that a direct cremation does not require the rent or purchase of a casket, which is typically the largest single funeral expense. A direct cremation instead will use a simple cardboard box or softwood casket during the cremation, which will be part of the cremation service price.

The second main reason is flexibility. If the family wants to scatter the ashes somewhere or have their own celebration-of-life gathering they will not necessarily need the services of the funeral home beside the act of cremation itself. Many families and individuals are having “alternative burials”, such as space burial or a memorial reef burial. Both of these particular alternative burials require the use of the ashes and would be done after a typical or direct cremation.


How Much Does a Direct Cremation Cost?

Direct cremations are almost always the most affordable type of funeral.

According to our data, they range from Washington state with an average price of $1,424.59 to Alabama with an average price of $3060.88. Keep in mind some funeral homes specialize in direct cremations and will be able to do them for well under a thousand dollars. You can view how much an estimated direct cremation would be at each funeral home in our funeral home directory. Please use our free funeral pricing tool to see how much the average funeral costs in each state.

However, keep in mind that if you still wish your loved one to be buried then you will need to buy a cemetery plot, purchase a headstone or grave marker, and pay for the burial. Other services of the funeral director, such as obtaining the death certificate, may or may not be part of the direct or basic cremation cost, so you should always check during the initial planning conference.



In conclusion, a direct cremation is a cost-effective and flexible funeral type that gives families and those preplanning their own funerals the ability to do something besides a more traditional viewing and funeral directed by the funeral home. Cremation itself has no bypassed traditional burials as the most popular funeral type and direct cremation demonstrates the reasons why so many families are choosing this type of disposition type for their loved ones: flexibility and affordability.




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