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Explore these affordable cremation options

Cremation Society of New Hampshire (CSNH) offers you complete cremation planning online, resulting in less overhead and more affordable cremation options.

Cost is the primary factor for many people when making end-of-life decisions for themselves and loved ones. Nearly 80% of New Hampshire families now choose cremation as their end-of-life option, as cremation is generally less expensive than a traditional funeral and burial.

Many Americans rely on affordable cremation as an option for an aging population that lives longer than previous generations. Nursing home costs regularly increase, and money originally designated for a traditional funeral and burial instead goes toward nursing home and health  care. Life insurance policies sometimes get sold to pay these bills leaving less for a funeral.

There is also a nationwide increase in opioid- and other substance-related deaths. In those situations, many families rely on social services for end-of-life costs and cremation makes financial sense.

Reasons why cremation is more affordable

Choosing cremation eliminates some of the costs of a traditional funeral and burial service because:

  • Some caskets cost more than an entire cremation package.
  • Embalming is not necessary when you choose cremation, and it’s against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
  • You do not have to buy an urn from the crematorium or funeral home.
  • There isn’t a viewing or wake before cremation.

Reasons why cremation has grown

Some of us decide we want to have a simple goodbye. “I just want to be cremated,” people say. Generally this means skipping the “bells and whistles” sometimes on display  at ’ funerals. No casket. No fancy flowers. No funeral services or procession with a limousine to the cemetery, etc.

If you feel this way, our direct cremation package may be the best option. It includes the transfer and transportation of the deceased into our care and use of refrigeration. CSNH files all necessary paperwork and pays the medical examiner fee. The body is cremated and the remains are provided to the family in a simple container. (We also offer a variety of cremation urns and keepsakes for purchase if people prefer.)

Some families and individuals choose a memorial or celebration of life after the cremation, held in a funeral home or other location.  CSNH offers packages at different price points, each of which feature a different level of service, so you choose one that works best for your budget and desires.

Many religions now consider cremation an approved end-of-life choice. The Vatican updated guidelines for Catholics in 2016 stating that while cremation is acceptable, cremated remains should reside in a sacred place. Jewish and Muslim faiths generally do not accept cremation as an end-of-life option.

Receiving a free cremation

Paying for cremation services doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. While this post outlines some of your options for affordable cremations, in some cases you can get a cremation for free.

Donating your body

Some people choose body donation via organizations that provide a so-called free cremation once the donated body is no longer in use by the organization. There are three types of organizations that accept bodies for donation:

  • Medical schools
  • Medical research firms
  • For-profit companies that resell your body to organizations

Please note that your body may not be accepted for donation, so have a backup plan. For instance, medical schools aren’t always able to accept bodies that carry certain diseases.

The decision to donate your body to science can only be made by you in advance when you are of sound mind. Families cannot donate a loved one’s body to a medical school after death. In New Hampshire, the body donation acceptance rate is about 70%. The main reason for rejection is that the medical school or organization doesn’t need any more bodies.

Examination and use of a body takes up to two years. Afterwards, the medical school or organization cremates the body and returns the cremated remains to the family. There are some schools that do not cover all of the cremation costs, so it’s important to do research before agreeing to body donation.

Free cremation option

Some New Hampshire residents do not have the funds to give their loved one a dignified farewell. Here are steps they can take:

  • CSNH offers a discounted cremation of $1,000 for indigent families, one of the lowest cost options for cremation in New Hampshire.
  • Many New Hampshire cities and towns provide a welfare benefit of $750 to funeral homes for handling the final disposition of an indigent person. Some families that are able to receive the welfare benefit may still need additional funds for a direct cremation or simple funeral.
  • The Phaneuf Family Foundation provides financial assistance for cremation or funeral arrangements for needy individuals and families.
  • Working with CSNH, those who are eligible for the welfare benefit and receive a foundation donation could receive a free cremation.

Do your research on affordable cremations

Cremation costs vary, but we don’t recommend utilizing any cremation business that isn’t licensed in the state where they operate. We know of an online cremation provider that appeared to be local to online users, but was actually based in Colorado. The website made no mention of location, but appeared in searches for “local cremation provider.” This third-party broker of services promoted low-cost cremation pricing, and when they acquired a customer, they would call local funeral homes to perform the service.

If something went wrong, customers had little recourse as they were doing business with a broker, not the licensed funeral home. The broker was not under the jurisdiction of a state funeral board or regulatory agency. If you are uncertain about a provider, ask if the business you are dealing with is licensed by the state of operation for cremation services.

Cremation cost transparency

Cremation costs are transparent by law within the funeral industry. If you are shopping around for cremation services, look for a breakdown of costs. Inquire about any additional costs that fall under third-party fees. For example, a funeral home may not own a crematorium, so the funeral home may charge you one fee for a cremation while the third-party crematorium will have its own fee. There are also some state-related fees that differ depending on where a cremation takes place.

CSNH has no hidden fees, but it’s a good idea to ask whether the cost you’re seeing is all-inclusive when shopping around for an affordable cremation.

How much less is cremation than burial?

Funerals with a burial tend to be more expensive since they usually involve embalming, a casket and a variety of other costs. While cremation cost currently averages around $2,500, some burials can cost more than $10,000. Funerals and burials are comprised of three types of costs: funeral home professional services, merchandise and cash advances.

What happens if you can’t afford cremation?

Cremation Society of New Hampshire has a discounted cremation of $1,000 for indigent families. New Hampshire cities and towns provide a $750 welfare benefit to funeral homes for handling the final disposition of an indigent person. Some families who receive the welfare benefit may still need additional funds for a direct cremation or simple funeral.

The family of the deceased applies for the benefit and must prove there are no financial means to pay for a cremation or funeral. The welfare department researches the claim to ensure there are no other financial options. This process sometimes happens on the same day of filing or may take up to a week.

The Phaneuf Family Foundation provides financial assistance for cremation or funeral arrangements for needy individuals and families.

Donations from Phaneuf Family Foundation are available for deceased residents of NH and VT, and the donations cover costs ranging from a transportation fee to a complete cremation. Requests for distributions for a cremation or funeral come from a family member, friend, funeral director, social worker, hospice or nursing home employee, or other interested party.

Those who work with CSNH, are eligible for the welfare benefit, and receive a foundation donation may receive a free cremation.

Why is cremation so popular?

Cost: Cremation is less expensive than a traditional funeral and burial. End-of-life costs are a large concern for families and individuals, and choosing cremation can lessen the financial stress. Many people opt to be cremated as part of their planning, easing any unnecessary guilt their loved ones may feel for choosing the less costly option.

Faith: For some Americans, cremation was not an option due to the restrictions placed by their religion. While this may still be true for some, in many cases restrictions have been lifted, allowing for more end-of-life options.

Save money by prepaying for a cremation

One of the main reasons someone makes plans and prepays for cremation is to save the family from the burden of making such plans in the short time between when someone dies and when  decisions must be made. Prepaying is the final gift you can give to your family. There is no need to worry about funds for a cremation, as payment is secured ahead of time.

Paying for your cremation services or for those of a loved one locks that price in for the remainder of your life, no matter how many years pass, with no funds being due later. CSNH allows paying all at once or setting up a payment plan.

One more thing to keep in mind: Every affordable cremation through CSNH includes our 10-Step Peace of Mind Cremation Process. Hopefully, this brings you confidence as you navigate your end-of-life plan.

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