Q. What is direct cremation?
A. The body is cremated shortly after death, without embalming. The cremated remains are placed in an urn or other container.
No viewing or visitation is involved, although a memorial service may be held, with or without the cremated remains present. The remains can be kept in the home, buried or placed in a crypt or niche in a cemetery, or buried or scattered in a favorite spot.
Direct cremation usually costs less than the “traditional,” full-service funeral. Costs include the funeral home’s basic services fee, as well as transportation and care of the body. A crematory fee may be included or, if the funeral home does not own the crematory, the fee may be added on.
There also will be a charge for an urn or other container. The cost of a cemetery plot or crypt is included only if the remains are buried or entombed. Funeral providers who offer direct cremations also must offer to provide an alternative container that can be used in place of a casket.
Return to Frequently Asked Questions about Funerals
Aug. 25, 2005.