Essential Things You Need to Know About a Direct Cremation
A direct cremation is different from a traditional cremation process. As the name implies, the body of the deceased is immediately cremated shortly following your loved one's passing. What makes it unique is that a direct cremation does not have a funeral or wake beforehand. Direct cremations are an affordable alternative to a traditional funeral and cremation, and we'll tell you why in this article. We'll also provide other essential facts about direct cremation that will help you decide if this option is the right for you and your family.
1. You Work Directly with a Crematorium
When you opt for a direct cremation, you communicate and work directly with a crematorium (a.k.a. crematory). In a traditional cremation, you would typically work with a funeral home since a funeral will be held. The funeral home will then handle the cremation process, usually working with a crematory that they are partnered with, if your family chooses to cremate your loved one.
You can search for trusted local crematories online. Be sure to inquire with various local crematories to compare prices and get a perspective on the services they offer. Tell them that you are choosing a direct cremation option so that they'll know how to cater to your requests. Working directly with a crematorium will save you a lot of money because you won't have to pay for the services of a funeral home, which can be quite costly, especially if your dearly departed did not have a life insurance policy at the time of their passing.
2. Cremation Caskets Are Less Expensive
When you choose a direct cremation, the crematorium you work with will provide a simple wooden container for your loved one. The cremation "casket" will then be placed inside the cremation oven. Others may choose a simple shroud rather than a wooden container, but this will depend on the discretion of the crematory you work with. Please inquire with the crematory about available options.
A traditional coffin is one of the most expensive aspects of a funeral service. This is because traditional caskets are made from premium materials like stainless steel, high-quality varnished or painted wood, and fine cloth for the interior lining. By choosing a direct cremation, you will save money on such expenses.
3. Traditional Burial Rituals Are Not Performed
You should be aware that direct cremation typically do not have traditional post-death and burial rituals. For instance, a traditional funeral and burial will have a wake or viewing beforehand. This is especially true for certain denominations like Roman Catholicism. There are cultures and countries in which wakes can actually last for up to a week. Please keep this in mind before choosing a direct cremation, and that family members who might have such beliefs are informed about the process of direct cremation. The elimination of pre-burial practices makes a direct cremation even less costly compared to a traditional burial or cremation. This is because your family won't have to pay for the embalming and body preparation services of a funeral home.
4. Memorials Can Be Held Later On
Since wakes, viewings, pre-burial visitations, and funerals will not be performed in a direct cremation process, your family can hold a memorial service after the cremation instead. If you're not sure what type of memorial service to hold, you can do something simple yet creative.
For instance, if you have access to a TV screen or computer monitor with a large monitor, you could create a video tribute for your beloved. Projectors are even more popular because the frame is larger and its size can be adjusted according to the space you’re working with. There are many affordable projection devices online that easily connect to your laptop or smartphone. In today’s visual-centric culture, a video tribute like a film at the cinema would captivate your guests. It will allow your guests to see the beautiful life and personality of your loved one. If you have access to any video files owned by your loved one, collect the ones that you think best represents them and edit the footage into a montage.
You can also host a sort of exhibition. In life, personal possessions are not merely materials but are connected to us in an intimate way. Your loved one’s favorite hat, a watch passed down through the generations, a wedding ring, a favorite book are some examples of personal effects that might have sentimental value.
Display these personal effects at the memorial service like an exhibition at a museum. By doing so, guests get an intimate view of your loved one’s personal history and their unique personality. It also gives attendees a sense of the dearly departed’s physical presence, because they can see these objects right in front of them.
The memorial service is about honoring the memory of your loved one. So, whatever you choose is the right choice for as long as you show your love for your dearly departed.
5. Arranging a Direct Cremation
Once you've chosen a crematory to work with, they will handle various aspects of the direct cremation process. For example, the crematorium will complete your loved one's death certificate. They will also handle the transportation of the body to their facilities. Alternatively, you can hire a funeral home to complete the death certificate as well as handle the transportation. These basic services will only cost a small fraction of the typical expenses for a traditional full-service funeral. Be sure to tell the funeral home that you are opting for a direct cremation so that they'll know how to cater to your needs.
6. The Cost of Direct Cremation
Although you save costs by avoiding the expenses of a traditional funeral and cremation, there are still some costs associated with direct cremation to consider, besides the cremation process of course. As we've noted earlier, your chosen crematory will still charge a nominal fee to complete the death certificate and transport the body to their location.
If you plan to bury the cremated remains of your loved one in a grave plot, or plan on interring them in a columbarium or mausoleum, then you have to prepare for the cemetery fees. Some of these fees include paying for the plot or a space in the columbarium. The cost of a gravestone or grave marker are also separate costs from the plot, but sometimes can come as a package deal. There are also maintenance fees called endowment or perpetual care.
7. Your Rights in Direct Cremation
The Federal Trade Commission has what's called the Funeral Rule. This protects consumers from unprofessional and unethical practices by low-rated, untrusted crematories, and other predatory business owners. Remember that you are never required to purchase a traditional coffin if you choose direct cremation. Any crematory or funeral home that tells you it's mandatory to have a traditional casket are breaking the law, and are trying to take your hard-earned money. Instead, the crematorium provides a simple wooden casket-shaped box or other similar container.
The crematory is also required to provide you with a simple container that will house your loved one's ashes, and they will then hand it over to you. This is why you should be ready to bring an urn once the cremation process is completed. Check out our guide on keepsake urns to give you an idea on what to look for when purchasing one.