Honest Funerals

Making a List of What to Include in the Funeral Plans

Knowing what you want is one of the biggest ways to avoid being taken advantage of by funeral directors, florists or anyone else that you’re going to be dealing with. The final decision as to what you want goes hand-in-hand with setting a budget. Briefly, these are the first decisions that you want to consider. Record your choices on in Section 3 of our Planner.

Direct cremation

With direct cremation your loved one’s remains are taken from the place of death, such as a hospital, your home, nursing home, or the Medical Examiner’s Office and brought directly to the crematorium. If you do have a memorial service or funeral service, it will usually be with the ashes or without the body. Many people prefer to have pictures of the deceased present at the memorial or funeral service. Direct cremation is one of the most economical choices. Arrangements have to be made through a funeral director, and the costs start at about $700.00 for the funeral director and $400.00 for the crematorium for a total of about $1,100.00.

While one of the most economical choices, more and more people are choosing this option for other reasons. These include the impact on the environment, being able to place or spread your loved one’s ashes in places of meaning, or having the ashes at home. In a recent survey, 70% of people in Marin County California, one of the wealthiest places in the United States, indicated that cremation would be their preferred choice for themselves and their loved ones.

If you choose direct cremation, you can still have a funeral service at a church or a memorial service at the funeral home, a person’s house, or some other venue such as a restaurant.
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Direct burial

Like direct cremation, your loved one’s remains are picked up from the place of death and brought directly to the cemetery for burial in a casket or container. The funeral director will normally have the remains brought first to the funeral home and may charge for topical disinfection or embalming. Neither of these is normally required by law, but topical disinfection may be required by certain cemeteries. Check this with the cemetery if the funeral director says its necessary.

Direct burial is normally more expensive than direct cremation because of the purchase of the cemetery plot or mausoleum and the purchase of a casket or other container and possible preparation of the remains. Direct burial prices start at about $2,500.00. You can still have a wake at the funeral home, a funeral service in the church, memorial service at the funeral home or at some other location. All of those choices will, of course, increase the price.
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Full funeral services

For full funeral services, your loved one’s remains are normally brought to the funeral home where it is prepared for visitation and burial. Neither topical disinfection nor embalming is required by law. Many funeral homes, however, have their own rules regarding casketing. For example, most funeral homes require embalming if you wish to have an open casket at the visitation.

The most common options available are listed in Item 5 on pages 2 and 3 on the Checklist. Not all of these options are required, and what you choose will greatly affect the price. The average in-ground burial with funeral services in New York runs about $10,000 and generally starts at about $4,000.00.
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Body donation

There are many reasons for somebody to donate their loved one’s body for medical research. This differs from organ donation, where the organs are removed from the body shortly after death to be transplanted in a live person. Medical schools, dental schools, podiatry schools, osteopathic schools mortician schools, and many other research facilities are always looking for donations of human bodies to teach their students or to conduct research. If your family is unable to afford cremation or burial, donating the body for medical research is one method of having the remains properly disposed free of charge. Generally the body is held for 1-2 years and then cremated. The cremains can be returned to the family or buried in the facility’s plot both free of charge. For more information on donating the body to a medical school visit Associated Medical Schools of New York Anatomical Gifts.

Other options for families having difficulty paying for disposition of their loved one’s remains include government and charitable organizations, which will help with the cost of disposition of the remains.

Once you have determined what is best in your circumstance, fill out Item 3, on page 1 of the Checklist. After you fill out Item 3, figure out who you want to do the comparison shopping and give that person the form.
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