Below are answers to the most frequently asked general questions asked by families considering burial or cremation.
- What if I can’t afford a funeral?
- What is a green burial?
- Is embalming required?
- What if the death occurs outside the local area?
What if I can’t afford a funeral?
First of all, a meaningful memorial doesn’t need to cost more than your family can afford. Whether you spend several hundred or several thousand, it’s the coming together of family and friends to console each other and share fond memories that makes a funeral meaningful. There is no charity or government organization that will pay off a funeral that was beyond your means. It’s your family’s responsibility to spend within its budget.
Shop around. Don’t just accept the price at the first funeral home you contact. It’s a good idea to be upfront with the funeral director about your finances. If you’re low on funds, funeral directors get it, and the good ones will steer you to less expensive alternatives.
If a family has no money, they should call the department of social services to see if there’s an indigent burial/cremation program. Many anatomical donation organizations will accept a body at no charge and will arrange for transportation to their facility at no cost to the family. Also, consider body donation to a medical school. You’ll be helping train the next generation of doctors who may be taking care of you.
The goal of a green (or natural) burial is to return one’s remains to the earth, as directly and simply as possible. It avoids embalming (and the chemicals associated with it), metal caskets and burial vaults that are standard features of the modern funeral. Instead, green burials typically involve interring the deceased in either cloth shrouds or in simple coffins made from cardboard or softwoods, like pine. Bodies are then laid into vault-free graves.
If you are looking to reduce costs, a green burial is not necessarily the way to go as a “true” green burial is more expensive. No automobiles (a lot of emissions) are used, so a horse drawn carriage is needed. Also, most minimum caskets have non-green construction materials like glue and nails so you would need a “green casket” which can be very expensive.
Embalming is rarely required by law. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule and many state regulators require that funeral directors inform you of that fact. A small number of states do mandate embalming when a body leaves the state.
Embalming provides no public health benefit. It is common only in the U.S. and Canada. Though embalming has no roots in Christian religion, it is neither discouraged nor encouraged. People of other faiths consider embalming to be a desecration of the body, and prohibit it. However, most funeral directors will not arrange the public viewing of a body without embalming and cosmetic restoration. The Texas Funeral Service Commission has a consumer brochure that provides helpful information.
What if the death occurs outside the local area?
If you have pre-arrangements with Local Cremation & Funerals and the person passes away outside the local area, you would contact Local Cremation immediately. Our owner has been in the industry over 40 years and we have a strong network of funeral homes that will work with us to fulfill your loved one’s wishes. If not, we can identify a quality funeral establishment in the area. Based on what type of funeral or memorial you want, our Funeral Directors will help coordinate the service as well.