Even if you've never had to plan a funeral service for a loved one, you probably already know that end-of-life costs are high. You may have seen a commercial or a billboard that claims cremation is more affordable than burial, which may cause you to lean toward this method of disposition for yourself or your loved one.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Average Cost of Cremation in Alabama
- Popular Crematories in Alabama
- Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Alabama
However, do a bit of research before you purchase a cremation package. Understand the different types of cremation and talk the decision over with others involved.
If you are looking for a cremation package in Alabama, we'd like to help. Here's what we uncovered about the average cost of cremation in Alabama.
Average Cost of Cremation in Alabama
Cremation prices vary a lot based on the type of service you are seeking. On average, the cost of cremation may range from $600 to several thousand dollars.
Before discussing the specific costs of cremation packages, you need to learn more about the options many funeral homes and cremation providers offer to families. These options have nothing to do with the process itself. All human cremation in the U.S. is required to be completed one person at a time. Instead, the different "types" of cremation refer to which type of funeral service is selected.
Perhaps a better name for a "traditional cremation" would be a "traditional service followed by cremation." Funeral homes have varying names for this type of package.
In traditional cremation, the body is transported from the place of death to the funeral home. There, the body is embalmed, cleaned, dressed, and placed inside a rented casket.
Friends and family gather to view the body, comfort one another, and share memories at a service typically called a wake, viewing, or visitation. This service may be followed by a traditional funeral and scheduled after the visitation or on the following day. The body may or may not be present at the funeral.
Once the service(s) are held, the body will be cremated. The cremated remains will be returned to the family days later.
There are many options to consider when selecting a permanent resting place for the cremains. While scattering is a popular choice, the cremated remains can also be buried in a cemetery plot with a headstone or interred in a columbarium niche or mausoleum. A small portion can also be used to create a cremation diamond, or the ashes can be pressed into a vinyl record. Still others decide to keep their loved one's cremains in an urn at home.
Even though many people say that cremation is the most economical method of disposition, they may not be referring to the traditional cremation option. Traditional cremation may cost the same or more than a conventional burial, especially if you bury the cremated remains in a cemetery with a headstone.
Instead, if you are looking for a less expensive method of disposition, you might consider direct cremation.
The term "direct cremation" is the name that many cremation providers use for their least expensive cremation package. Therefore, when you read about the price differences between cremation vs. burial, the cremation amount typically refers to a direct cremation package.
In direct cremation, the family says their final goodbyes to their deceased loved one at the place of death or the cremation center. Once the body is cremated, the family will receive the cremated remains days later.
Direct cremation is a low-cost option because the price usually doesn't include any service for the deceased. This does not mean that you can't have a funeral for your loved one. It simply means that the costs for a funeral or graveside service aren't typically part of a direct cremation package.
Some families still have a funeral at their religious institution, home, park, or some other type of public place that you can utilize for free (or at a low cost). Others may pay to use a chapel at a funeral home or other type of venue.
Direct cremation offers extreme flexibility in planning a funeral service since the deceased's body won't be present.
Popular Crematories in Alabama
There are a lot of options for cremation providers in Alabama. The lowest-cost options typically come from national companies that specialize in direct cremation services. However, your local funeral home may have a direct cremation package available too.
Here are some cremation providers in Alabama.
Alabama Funeral Homes and Cremation Centers
Alabama Funeral Homes and Cremation Centers is located in Camp Hill, Alabama. This is a full-service funeral home that offers five types of cremation service options, including direct cremation. The company has been serving this community in Alabama since 1967.
Cremation Services of East Alabama
Located in Anniston, Alabama, Cremation Services of East Alabama offers both burial and cremation services to the nearby communities. In addition, the company provides pre-need planning options, which would allow you to choose the type of service for yourself or your loved one.
Cremation Center of Birmingham
Cremation Center of Birmingham offers a basic cremation package for $950. The company will also help you purchase urns and other products that can be made with cremation ashes. The staff will also assist you with scattering your loved one's remains in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gulf Shores,at Talladega Raceway, the University of Alabama football stadium, or the Auburn University football stadium.
Cremation Center of Birmingham also assists clients with planning a green burial for themselves or a loved one.
Magnolia Cremations and Funeral Services
Magnolia Cremations and Funeral Services, located in Montgomery, Alabama, offers four types of cremation services. In addition, this full-service funeral home offers burial packages as well.
Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Alabama
There aren't many national and state organizations that will help pay the cremation or burial costs for the dead. So typically, the deceased's assets are used to pay for the burial (or cremation).
However, a few organizations will help families who have lost children and have no resources or insurance to cover the cost of a funeral. There also may be government assistance available to families who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19.
Here's a list of resources that might help someone in need.
Social Security Administration
Although it's not much, the Social Security Administration pays a one-time payment of $255 to the surviving spouse if they lived with the deceased. This money, of course, can go toward cremation expenses or other end-of-life costs.
Consult the Social Security Administration website for more information about this benefit.
Children's Burial Assistance
Although this organization is headquartered in Georgia, this non-profit group may help families obtain donated burial plots throughout the United States. The organization may also assist with other funeral expenses, including the cost of opening and closing a grave for burial.
Final Farewell is another child-focused organization that helps families plan an affordable service for a child. Although headquartered in Pennsylvania, this organization has a national reach. Its funding comes from fundraising campaigns, government grants, and individual solicitations.
Science Care is an organization that helps individuals donate their bodies upon death to be used for scientific research. Not every person will qualify for donation, but there is no upper age limit. If you (or your loved one) are eligible, this program will pay for the transportation from the location of passing to the research facility, the cost of the cremation, and the return of cremated remains.
Not only do the families of the deceased benefit from not having to pay for the cremation process, but society could also benefit from the research.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
If your loved one served in the U.S. Military, they might be eligible for a burial or cremation allowance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many funeral homes and cremation center staff assist families with obtaining these benefits. However, you may need to provide your loved one's military discharge paperwork to receive this benefit.
County-level organizations and government resources
Alabama law states that all counties are charged with burying unclaimed or indigent bodies at the county's expense. For more information, consult the county where the person passed.
Local religious organizations and churches
Some churches and religious groups may offer assistance with cremation or burial costs.
Create an End-of-Life Plan
If you wish to be cremated, make sure you create an end-of-life plan and share it with your next of kin. This is one of the greatest gifts you can leave behind. However, you might ask your family's opinion before you select the cremation service package.
Consider the needs of your family. For example, your family may feel the need to have an open-casket visitation before the cremation. This means you should choose a cremation company that offers "traditional" cremation services (or at least one that allows you to be present at the time of cremation).
On the other hand, if your family feels comfortable saying their goodbyes to the deceased in another fashion and doesn't feel like they need to have a formal event to view the body, direct cremation may be the suitable choice.
Even though everyone should have a say in what happens to their bodies after they die, the funeral services that follow are for the family members and close friends. So consider their needs and your preferences when making your end-of-life plans.
If you're an Alabama resident and ready to start preparing your own end-of-life planning documents, Cake has Advance Care Planning forms you can download. To help ease your planning, we have all the documents you need in one place.