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In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You're Not Around Later

Task: What To Know If You Opt For Cremation

This article on personal planning is provided by Everplans — The web's leading resource for planning and organizing your life. Create, store and share important documents that your loved ones might need. Find out more about Everplans »

Currently, the National Funeral Directors Association reports more than half of Americans opt for cremation, and this is expected to rise to 80-percent by 2035 (equaling 2.8 million cremations a year), so you’re not alone if you want to be cremated.

Like we mentioned in a Traditional Funeral task, you can still have a traditional funeral if you opt for cremation. Follow the same funeral steps and skip the parts about burial unless you plan on burying the remains. There are still other decisions to make, such as what you want done with the cremated remains, including burial, scattering, or giving them to friends and family members to be stored in an urn or other suitable container.

While cremation is often the more affordable option, there are still a few required purchases:

  • A Cremation Casket: A body being cremated has to be in a fully combustible container, which can be as simple and inexpensive as a cardboard box since it’s going to be cremated along with the body. If you’re having a traditional service, you can purchase a casket for the funeral (no metal allowed) or rent one and use an alternative container for the cremation.
  • An Urn or other storage device: This is what holds the remains and is available in many different options depending on whether the ashes are being buried, kept, or scattered. You can shop around for one you like or leave this decision up to your family.

What do you want done with your ashes? There are lots of creative options -- made into jewelry, embedded into an ocean reef, get shot into space -- but here are the three most common:

  • Buried in a cemetery, either in a plot or urn garden, or interred in a columbarium
  • Scattered on land or at sea
  • Kept by family or friends

Before you think your family will want to put them on display, take heed: According to a survey taken in 2006 thousands of ashes go unclaimed each year. In movies it seems like it’s normal to keep them on the mantle, but in reality they can end up in a closet because a family just doesn’t know what to do with them. Help them out by letting your wishes be known, which can be accomplished by filling out this section of your Everplan.

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