Even if you have never had to plan a funeral, you probably already know that end-of-life costs are high. You may have heard that cremation is more affordable than burial, which may affect your decision on the method of disposition for yourself or your loved one.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Average Cost of Cremation in Massachusetts
- Popular Crematories in Massachusetts
- Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Massachusetts
However, before you purchase a cremation package, spend a bit of time doing some research. Understand the different types of cremation packages and talk the decision over with other people who are involved.
If you are looking for a cremation package in Massachusetts, we’d like to help. Here’s what we’ve uncovered about the average cost of cremation in Massachusetts.
Average Cost of Cremation in Massachusetts
Cremation packages vary a lot based on the type of end-of-life service you would like to have. However, on average, the cost of cremation ranges between $700 to several thousand dollars.
Before discussing the specifics and giving you a list of cremation providers, you need to learn more about the range of options many funeral homes and cremation providers offer.
The terms that companies use to describe cremation services vary among providers. For example, some funeral homes may have a package called “traditional” cremation.
If you purchase a funeral home’s “traditional” package, the body will be removed from the place of death and transported to the funeral home. There, the body is cleaned, embalmed, dressed in the clothing you provide, and prepared to be viewed.
It is then placed inside a rented casket. Then, friends and family can gather to view the body and share memories at a service typically called a wake, visitation, or viewing.
The wake or visitation may be followed immediately by a traditional funeral. However, some families choose to have a funeral the next day, and the body may or may not be present during this service. Once the services are held, the body is cremated. The cremated remains will be returned to the family within days.
There are many options to consider when deciding on a permanent resting place for cremated remains. While scattering is undoubtedly a popular choice, the cremated remains can also be buried in a cemetery plot or interred in a columbarium niche or public or private mausoleum.
A small portion can also be used to create cremation diamonds or decorative glass sculptures. Still, others decide to keep their loved one’s cremains in an urn on their mantle.
Even though you may have heard that cremation is the most economical end-of-life option, your source was not referring to a traditional cremation or a “traditional service followed by cremation.” This type of cremation service may cost the same or more as a traditional burial, especially if you bury the remains in a cemetery plot with a headstone.
The less expensive cremation option is called “direct cremation.”
“Direct cremation” typically is the name that both funeral homes and cremation providers use for their least expensive cremation package. Therefore, when you read about the price differences between cremation vs. burial, the cremation price listed typically refers to direct cremation.
In direct cremation, the family is given the opportunity to say their final goodbyes to the deceased at the place of death or the cremation center. The body is not prepared for this type of viewing as it would have been for public viewing before a funeral.
Some cremation providers allow a small group to gather to view the body moments before being placed inside the cremation chamber. The family typically receives the cremated remains of the deceased days later.
Direct cremation is usually a low-cost option because the package usually doesn’t include a service for the deceased. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a funeral for your loved one if you pay for direct cremation. It simply means that the costs for the services aren’t typically part of a direct cremation package that you purchase from a cremation provider.
There are limitless options of the types of services you can have following the cremation of your loved one. For example, you can have a religious funeral service with the cremated remains present. Some choose to have a celebration of life at an outdoor location followed by a scattering ceremony. Others may have a gathering in a restaurant or rented facility to allow family and friends to share memories of the deceased.
Of course, the cost for these services is not usually included in a direct cremation package. So to say that cremation is less expensive than burial may not be entirely accurate. It depends on the type of services chosen by the family and the final resting place.
Popular Crematories in Massachusetts
There are a lot of options for cremation providers in Massachusetts. The lowest-priced option typically comes from direct cremation providers. However, your local funeral home may have an affordable direct cremation package available too.
Casper Funeral and Cremation Services
At this time, Casper Funeral and Cremation Services has a direct cremation package that costs $1,395. The company services Boston, Cape Cod, and other towns in Massachusetts.
To compare prices, the company also offers a green burial service for $2,985, which includes a graveside service. Additional fees for the cemetery plot are paid directly to the cemetery by the family.
Legacy Cremation Service
Legacy Cremation Service offers low-price direct cremation (currently listed at $695). This company offers cremation services throughout the United States, but they only serve the Boston area in Massachusetts.
The company’s website says that their team will assist you in planning a memorial service for your loved one. They also can help you with attended or unattended scattering services at sea.
Boston Cremation offers three cremation packages: direct cremation, cremation followed by a memorial service, and a traditional cremation. The prices range from $1,595 to $3,995.
Boston Cremation has three locations, which are in Malden, Mansfield, and Quincy.
Neptune Society is headquartered in Florida, but the company has 60 locations across the nation – including one that serves Brockton, Fall River, Gloucester, Lowell, New Bedford, Quincy, Weymouth, and Worcester.
The Neptune Society also offers special assistance for the families of veterans.
Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Massachusetts
There are only a few national and state organizations that might help you with the cremation costs of your loved one. Many of these organizations are designed to help families who have lost children and have no resources or insurance to cover the cost of cremation or burial. There is also government assistance available to families who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19.
Here’s a list of resources that might help your family.
Social Security Administration
Although it’s not much, the Social Security Administration will pay a one-time payment of $255 to the surviving spouse if they were living with the deceased at the time of death. This money, of course, can be used to go toward funeral expenses.
Consult this website for more information about the benefits you may be entitled to from the Social Security Administration.
Children’s Burial Assistance
This organization is headquartered in Georgia. However, this non-profit group provides donated burial plots for deceased children throughout the United States (wherever plots are available). The organization may also assist with other expenses, including cremation costs or the cost of opening and closing a grave.
Final Farewell is another child-focused organization that helps families plan an affordable funeral for a child. The headquarters of this organization is in Pennsylvania.
The company’s funding comes from fundraising campaigns, government grants, and individual solicitations on the family’s behalf by a member of the organization.
Department of Transitional Assistance
The State of Massachusetts offers up to $1,100 assistance for cremation or burial, as long as the total amount of the end-of-life services doesn’t go over $3,500. There are financial qualifications that have to be met to be eligible for this assistance.
For the application and more information, contact the Department of Transitional Assistance Burial Unit.
Science Care is an organization that helps individuals who wish to donate their bodies upon their death to be used for scientific research. Please understand that not everyone qualifies for donation, but there is no upper age limit. If you are eligible, Science Care will pay for the cost of the transportation from the place of death, the cost of the cremation, and the return of cremated remains.
There’s a Lot to Think About When Making End-of-Life Plans
We know that making end-of-life plans is difficult. However, one of the greatest gifts you can leave behind is a pre-planned and prepaid funeral.
As you consider your options, you might be attracted to direct cremation because it is usually the least expensive option. However, before you make your decision, you might consider asking the opinion of your survivors.
Some of your family members may want the option of seeing the body before it is cremated. If this is true, consider purchasing a package with a cremation provider that can make this happen. Other members of your family may wish to celebrate your life with a traditional service.
Even though everyone should have a say in what happens to their bodies after they die, the services that follow are for the family and close friends of the deceased.
If you're a Massachusetts 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.