The decision between a cremation or burial is a very personal one, often involving factors like faith, family traditions, or personal beliefs.
In the event of the sudden death of a loved one and if no instructions regarding the funeral arrangements are left behind, it can be a tough decision to make when you’re grieving the deceased.
It’s, however, an important decision to ensure your loved one is properly honoured.
Here are all the significant factors you must take into consideration so that you can make an informed decision on behalf of your loved one.
One of the biggest deciding factors for people when choosing end-of-life services is cost. This is especially true when it’s a sudden death of a loved one as you may not be prepared to handle the big cost of funerals.
In such cases, finding a more affordable option is a necessity. Cremation is decidedly the cheaper option of the two.
This, however, depends on what you want to be included in the funeral proceedings, as certain offerings make for a rather expensive cremation service, so while cremation might be cheaper, it will still constitute a significant cost.
The median cost of a funeral with burial is around $7,800, while a funeral with cremation is around a third of that amount.
For both burial and cremation, you’ll be paying for the transportation of the body, the transportation of the family, a funeral service, a visitation, a memorial, and the official paperwork.
A burial often involves embalming, a casket, the opening and closing of the grave, the cemetery plot, and the headstone.
A cremation involves much less, with costs mainly surrounding the cremation itself, the urn, and a casket—which is a requirement for the body to be burned.
You can, however, lower the costs considerably when choosing either a cremation or burial.
On the one hand, for burials, you can limit funeral services as much as possible by opting for a simple graveside service or direct burial. You can choose to not have the body embalmed as well since it’s a costly procedure.
On the other hand, cremation would give you a lot more opportunity to cut costs and avoid several costs that are associated with burials.
You can opt for a simple and cheap alternative container rather than a typical $2,000 casket. You can even purchase an affordable urn and limit funeral services as much as possible by having a direct cremation or a simple service.
So whether you choose burial or cremation, there will always be ways to make the service more affordable, but cremation is a much better option if cost is your main concern.
With modern preservation methods, you have the option of waiting up to two weeks following the death to hold a funeral service and burial.
This can allow time for arrangements to be made and to inform friends and family.
With cremation, there’s no time limit at all. You can choose to have the funeral or memorial service when you feel the time is right, even months after your loved one has passed away, as cremation is done immediately after death.
This is especially helpful if you cannot afford to host a funeral service immediately.
Transporting a body is an expensive process.
If your loved one passed away a long way from home, it can take hundreds to thousands of dollars to bring them back home for burial.
A cremation can be done at any location, so this might be a more viable option if the deceased passes far away from loved ones.
A cremation also comes with freedom with what can be done with the ashes. They can be scattered in a special location, buried, or even kept close with loved ones.
A burial, in comparison, is a little limited in this aspect but can allow a physical space where friends and family can go to visit the deceased.
A burial can offer family and friends the opportunity to see the body of your loved one and mourn their passing. It can offer comfort and closure to see the deceased, with the burial process offering much solace.
A burial service offers a sense of familiarity in times of stress, which can be very helpful to some.
It is, however, possible for cremation services to host a viewing of the body before cremation, but the cremation itself can be seen as a little callous to some and might not be as helpful in providing a proper sense of closure.
Whether you choose a cremation or burial, there will be some form of impact on the environment.
If you decide on a burial, you should keep in mind that there are some materials used in caskets that aren’t biodegradable, while embalming fluid leaches into the earth and is very harsh on the environment.
Cremation can release pollutants into the air and consumes a high amount of energy.
With both options, there are methods of making the process more environmentally friendly.
Be sure to speak to a funeral home about the options that may be available to you if this is a big concern of yours.
Cremation or burial: Choosing the final arrangements for your loved one
No matter which option you’re leaning towards, it would be advisable to discuss both options in detail with a funeral home to decide on the more appropriate choice.
In addition, you should consider which option would fit most with the values of your loved one while also discussing it with their close friends and family.