Planning a loved one’s funeral can be stressful for many reasons. Naturally, you may be struggling to cope with emotional pain during the process. However, you must also account for various practical factors, such as the cost of the funeral.
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Luckily, there are many programs and charities that help with funeral costs. Some assist with funeral expenses in general, while others offer financial support for particular services.
For example, maybe you’re planning on cremating a loved one in Texas. If so, you might be wondering whether there are any charities or organizations that offer free cremations in Texas to those who might otherwise struggle to pay for a cremation.
This guide will direct you to a few such programs. If you’re worried you’ll be unable to financially justify cremating a loved one in Texas, keep reading.
Places or Programs That Offer Free Cremation in Texas
You don’t have to look far to find organizations, establishments, and programs that offer free cremation services in Texas. The following are just a few noteworthy examples:
Many organizations that offer free cremation in Texas do so on the condition that the body of the person who is to be cremated first serves as a cadaver for scientific research. BIOGIFT is one such organization.
When you donate a body to BIOGIFT (or most other organizations that offer free cremation should you decide to donate a body to science), you must accept that you may not be able to cremate your loved one immediately after their passing. You must also be aware that the research your loved one’s body facilitates may involve dissection.
These may be acceptable conditions if you need financial help and are thus looking for a way to arrange for a free cremation in Texas. Additionally, you should keep in mind that donating your loved one’s body to science allows researchers to develop treatments and better understand illnesses, ensuring that even after their passing, your loved one is helping others.
BIOGIFT, in particular, covers all cremation expenses. This includes transportation and certification expenses. The organization also promises to deliver your loved one’s cremated remains within 8 to 12 weeks.
ACremation is another anatomical donation program specifically serving families in Texas. However, aCremation does not cover permitting fees and similar expenses, such as medical examiner fees. Your loved one must also meet certain requirements for the program to accept their body as a donation.
3. Science Care
Science Care is yet another organization that will cover cremation costs if you are willing to donate a loved one’s body to science. Along with offering free cremation in Texas, the organization also covers transportation costs and fees for filing a death certificate. According to Science Care’s website, if you donate your loved one’s body to this organization, you will receive their cremated remains three to five weeks from the time of donation.
Technically, Green Cremation Texas doesn’t offer free cremations in Texas, but the company does offer relatively low-cost cremation services. As the name implies, Green Cremation Texas also specializes in cremation methods that have a minimal impact on the environment. If you’re willing and able to spend some money on a cremation, and you want to be certain that your loved one’s cremation reflects their passion for the environment and sustainability, this is an option to consider.
5. Bereavement services
Under Texas law, counties must bury or cremate those who have passed away at no cost to any families or individuals when the deceased qualifies as indigent. Counties typically comply with this law by offering bereavement services.
This isn’t an option many people will be able to take advantage of. Those who meet the qualifications these programs establish must be so needy that there is no one who could even in theory cover the cost of their burial or cremation. If you are looking for free cremation services in Texas for a loved one, the fact that your loved one had family (namely, you) able to handle such matters means they likely won’t qualify. However, this is still an option to be aware of.
Tips for Saving Money on Cremation in Texas
Even if you are unable to arrange for a completely free cremation in Texas, there are nevertheless many ways you can reduce the cost of cremating a loved one. They include:
Check with your religious community
Are you active in a church or other religious community? If so, the community may offer financial help to those struggling to pay for a funeral, burial, or cremation. Ask the head of your local religious institution about this potential option.
Choose direct cremation
Many people who choose to cremate their loved ones still organize viewings or similar services before moving forward with the cremation. This is understandable, but it does add to the costs of planning a service.
Others opt for direct cremation. When you choose direct cremation, you cremate a loved one’s body right away, without any viewing or memorial. This option is almost always less expensive than other cremation service options a funeral home might offer.
It can be emotionally draining to debate whether you should save money by choosing direct cremation or allow other friends and relatives to pay their respects before cremating a loved one. That said, it’s worth noting that you can always plan a memorial service at your home after the cremation. This will still cost you some money, but it will probably be less expensive than hosting a service at a funeral home.
Get your loved one’s permission
This is an important tip to act on if your loved one is nearing the end of their life and you have already discussed their desire for you to donate their body to science. Some organizations that accept such donations in exchange for free cremation services will only accept a body if it belonged to someone who agreed to be a donor before they passed away.
If your loved one has made it clear they want you to donate their body to science after their passing, you may want to be proactive and find a specific organization or program to which you plan to donate their body now.
You don’t want to submit an application, only to find that your program of choice will not accept your loved one’s body because they did not formally and officially state that donating their body to science was among their wishes. If you’re not yet able to decide on which program you want to donate a loved one’s body to, they should at least state in their will that they give you permission to donate their body after their passing.
Submit a Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Program Application
The manner in which a loved one passed can influence how you may go about saving money on cremation and funeral costs in Texas. For instance, perhaps your loved one died because they were a victim of a crime.
If so, you could potentially save money by submitting an application to the Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. The program offers up to $6,500 in compensation to families who need assistance with funeral costs after a loved one dies as a result of a criminal act.
Apply for a Veteran’s burial allowance
As implied, this tip is one to consider if your loved one was a veteran. The VA offers financial assistance for funeral, burial, and cremation costs to close loved ones of deceased veterans if they meet certain qualifications.
This may not be your first option worth looking into, though. One of the criteria for receiving financial assistance is proving that you have been unable to receive financial assistance from any other source first. You need to exhaust your options before the VA will offer financial help. Our guide on veteran death benefits offers more information on this topic.
Check for county-based programs
Many counties throughout Texas also offer programs that serve to assist those who are financially unable to cover funeral and cremation expenses on their own. Check to see if your county offers such programs.
Just keep in mind that these programs tend only to offer assistance when no other source of financial support (including any assets from your loved one’s estate) can provide the help you may need.
It’s a simple tip, but an important one. It’s not extremely uncommon for funeral homes to offer discounted services or to coordinate with charities or government programs when customers do not have the ability to pay for a funeral or cremation. There’s no guarantee your funeral home will offer this option, but there’s also no harm in asking about it.
Free Cremation in Texas: You Have Options
Hopefully, this guide has given you a little more confidence in your ability to pay for cremation in Texas. For more information about the topic of cremation in general, check out our guide on how cremation works.