Benjamin Franklin once said, “nothing is certain, except death and taxes.” This rule holds true today. We are all quite certain that we will be taxed, and we know that someday we will die.
Responsible people plan for their taxes or pay them routinely, but most people have not given a thought to the events that follow their death. A survey by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) found that 62% of consumers felt that it is very important to communicate funeral wishes to family members, but only 21% had done so. Doing this in advance can avoid grief, stress, and unnecessary expense. Doing nothing is the same as choosing to burden others with this task.
Making these plans now will make it easier for family members who must go through an unavoidable period of grief. There are many choices for funeral services, memorial services, or remembrances. However, when it comes to final arrangements for the body, there are only two basic options: burial or cremation. Choosing cremation over burial should not affect arrangements for funeral or remembrance services.
Traditionally, burial was the preferred way of treating dead bodies; cremation was a seldom chosen option. That has changed, and now cremation has become the more common practice. In the United States, the cremation rate is projected to reach over 64% by 2025. Several factors are driving this change, but the most important may be cost comparison. Cremation, especially direct cremation without any memorial service, costs far less than a burial service.
It is important to understand the difference between the basic cost of burial or cremation and package programs that include things like viewings, visitations and formal funeral services (not church services). In a traditional cremation, the body is preserved, and it may be present at a funeral service in a cremation casket. In a direct cremation, the body is cremated right away. This does away with the need for embalming and any casket. Of course, the family is still able to hold any type of funeral or memorial service it wishes.
Traditional burial involves unavoidable expenses like embalming, casket costs and cemetery lot fees. These are separate from the costs associated with funeral home services like visitation receptions, viewings, and formal services. Religious services outside of the funeral home may have their own set of fees as well (not estimated). The total costs associated with these traditional services and burial can amount to thousands of dollars. Based on the sources checked by OurSeniors.Net staff, the average cost of this traditional process in Florida is $10,700. Direct cremation without associated services costs an average of $2,200.
These are average figures; prices may vary between geographic areas and service providers. These facts should motivate readers to think about this subject now. Many people face these decisions under stressful circumstances; disagreements may arise among family members if the deceased person has not made their wishes clear beforehand. Again, the point is that doing nothing is deciding to place the burden on loved ones. Most of us would agree that this is not a kind way to treat your family.
It should not surprise you to learn that Florida is one of the states in which cremation is most common. This may be because the Sunshine State has the highest proportion of senior residents, and they have chosen to think ahead and plan for this day. Many seniors plan their after-death arrangements and spare loved ones the burden of these decisions.
Here are some resources that may help you decide what is best for you and your family-
The Cremation Association of America- a trade association with detailed descriptions of various options available.
The Cremation Institute- A third-party site that offers advice on cremation-related topics that range from VA Death Benefits to “How to Write a Sympathy Card.” This is a very comprehensive site about the entire topic.
Your Wife, Husband, or Family- this is probably the most important resource involved in this decision. Talk it over with them, making certain that they understand your wishes. Involve them in this planning so that nothing comes as a great surprise to them.
In addition, the OurSeniors.Net family is very fortunate to have several fine local resources, trusted partners who can provide help. They are-
Volusia Memorial Funeral Home-
(386-854-3799) Serving the Port Orange community since 1995. They specialize in working with families to make final arrangements in advance.
Volusia Memorial Funeral Home & Park-
(386-703-3673) Serving Ormond Beach and surrounding areas of North Daytona Beach for many years. A team of funeral professionals who take great care when helping families create unique, memorable memorials for their loved ones.
Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home-
(386-854-3565) Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home sits on the grounds of Flagler Memorial Gardens. These sister locations allow families to handle every aspect of final arrangements in one place.
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