Aug 23, 2023
Estate Planning in BC: Navigating Wills, Trusts & More
Estate planning in BC made simple. Get expert insights on local laws, tools, and strategies to safeguard your assets and family's future
Every culture in the world has their own rites and rituals surrounding the proper care and burial of their dead. Whether it’s sending the dead off to sea on a specially prepared ship, celebrating the deceased’s life with a loud and boisterous funeral parade, or burying them in the ground with some of their most treasured belongings, the last send-off that we give our loved ones is a vital part of the grieving process.
In western cultures, burying or cremating our deceased loved ones is usually the most common funeral ritual we follow. These methods are usually accompanied by a religious or secular service where friends and family members may get a chance to speak about the deceased and publicly say goodbye. Many people may also think that this is the way it has to be done, and that other options aren’t available to them. However, direct cremation offers a slightly different approach.
The practice of cremation is one of the oldest funeral rites in the world. Nonetheless, religious burials tended to dominate funeral traditions in the western world by the 9th century until the 20th, when cremation began making a noticeable comeback. Cremations now rival burials as the most popular form of sending off a deceased’s body, with many countries like the United States recording a significant preference for cremations over burials.
One of the main reasons for this development has to do with a growing demand for secular funeral rites that aren’t necessarily coupled to a specific religious doctrine. The other reason has to do with costs. Cremation is often more affordable than a burial, especially since there’s usually no costly plot of land that needs to be maintained.
Nonetheless, traditional cremations can still rack up a bill. Usually, a funeral home that offers cremation services will include a service that happens before the body is cremated, sometimes with an open casket. That means that the body needs to be embalmed and prepared for viewing before the service. All of these “extras” can result in higher costs for something you may not have even wanted.
Whatever the reason, being able to choose how you and your loved ones want to say goodbye, and having the flexibility to honor your loved one’s wishes without being constrained by prices or by the schedules of a funeral home means that more and more people may choose direct cremation.
Direct cremation is simply a cremation without a viewing or memorial service. The service typically includes transportation of a loved one into a cremation facility, the cremation itself, the filing of necessary paperwork and the return of your loved one’s remains either in person or by priority mail. Once the process is over, you’ll be able to honor and grieve them in your own time and according to your own personal wishes.
The additional steps of a traditional cremation can be expensive, and perhaps not in line with what you, your loved ones, and the recently deceased actually wanted. Perhaps you want a more private ceremony at your home or at a location that was of particular importance to your loved one. Perhaps all of your loved one’s friends and relatives aren’t able to gather in the same spot at the same time, making a service at a funeral home rather superfluous. Or perhaps your current life circumstances—illness, a birth, a cross-country move—mean that you’re just not ready to say goodbye yet, and want to wait until you’ve found the right time.
We reached out to our friends at Solace Cremation for guidance on determining if direct cremation is right for you. “Direct cremation offers a path for those who wish to honor their loved ones at a later memorial service, or for those who, for many reasons, prefer a simpler and more affordable process. There are a couple of questions that can help you decide if a direct cremation would be more appropriate for you:
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a traditional funeral home might be the right fit for your needs.”
Solace Cremation advises that if you decide direct cremation is right for you, you still want to shop around. You want to understand exactly what’s included with the direct cremation services. Some services charge extra for transportation, removing medical devices and implants, and for return of remains, pushing the median price for direct cremation to more than $2,500. You want to ask for the “Final Price.” At Solace, they always share their final price, which is $895.
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to go through. That’s why being able to say goodbye to that person in a unique, personalized, and loving way—whether that’s scattering their remains in a beloved location, gathering your family and friends for a private ceremony at home, or having a huge party to celebrate their life—is an important process that shouldn’t be overshadowed by high costs, inflexible schedules, and impersonal service.
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