Since its introduction to America in 1855, cremation has slowly but surely gained a reputation for providing families with a budget-friendly alternative to traditional burial. Today, cremation outranks burial as the preferred method of final disposition with 54% of families choosing cremation over burial.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Average Cost of Cremation in New York
- Popular Crematories in New York
- Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in New York
If you’re considering cremation for yourself or you’re assisting a loved one with their end-of-life plans, it’s important to understand the costs you can expect to encounter. Thanks to its popularity and the large number of crematories nationwide, costs for cremation continue to remain low. However, these costs can still place a financial strain on family members if unplanned.
Average Cost of Cremation in New York
Like other end-of-life plans, the cost of cremation depends on several factors including which type of cremation you choose. Naturally, the more complex the service, the more you’ll need to budget. For the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss typical cremation services and the average expense associated with them.
Pro tip: If you wish to save a bit more by planning ahead, you can typically set up prepaid cremation plans for any of the following services.
Traditional cremation refers to a cremation package that includes a funeral or memorial service coordinated through the funeral home, in addition to cremation. Of these two options, cremation with a memorial service will be slightly less expensive than cremation with a funeral service.
Cremation with a memorial service
This package includes a memorial service before cremation without the body present or a memorial service after cremation with the ashes present. The service is put on through the funeral home and your funeral director coordinates all parts of the service.
For this type of service, expect to budget around $3,000.
This price includes the memorial service gathering at the funeral home, transportation of the deceased to the crematory, crematory fees, basic services of the funeral director and staff, and a temporary urn.
Cremation with a funeral service
If you’d like to hold an open casket funeral service before cremation takes place, many funeral homes can accommodate your wishes. This is the most expensive option of any cremation service. If you want a funeral service and you’re trying to decide between cremation or burial, however, you’ll still save money by choosing cremation.
For a cremation with a funeral service, expect to budget around $3,500.
This price includes services such as basic services of the funeral director and staff, crematory fees, transportation of the deceased, the funeral service at a church or the funeral home, embalming and makeup, casket rental, and a temporary urn.
Cremation with a funeral service increases the overall costs due to needed elements such as embalming, makeup, dressing, and the funeral service itself.
Pro tip: Embalming isn’t required in New York, so you can ask to go without and avoid this cost. Many funeral homes do require it if you want an open casket funeral service.
Direct cremation is the least expensive of all cremation options. This service consists of the transportation of your loved one’s remains directly to the crematory where they are then cremated. There is typically no gathering or service associated with direct cremation. Since there are fewer requirements and needs, the price of a direct cremation is quite low.
On average, you can expect to budget around $900.
This price includes transportation of the deceased to the crematory, limited services of the funeral director and staff, crematory fees, and a temporary urn.
Some crematories have begun offering a “final goodbye” or “observed cremation” option. A final goodbye provides family members with an opportunity to gather just before the cremation takes place and say their goodbyes to the deceased. With an observed cremation, family members are present while the body is placed into the cremation chamber and may remain while the process gets underway.
These extra options can often be requested along with a direct cremation, but they may add around $100-$200 to the total price.
Aqua cremation, or water cremation, is a brand new cremation type and serves as a “greener” alternative to traditional flame-based cremation. Water cremation uses a water and alkaline solution with a gentle rocking motion to mimic the natural decomposition process. It’s been gaining attention nationwide and is currently approved in 19 states. Five more states are working on legislation to do so.
New York is one of the five states discussing legislation to legalize aqua cremation. Though you can’t yet choose this in New York as the method of final disposition, surrounding states such as New Jersey and Vermont do offer this service.
The average cost in the surrounding states for aqua cremation is around $2,500.
This cost is for a direct cremation only and does not include any type of funeral or memorial service. As more states approve this method and more crematories provide the service, you can expect the price to lower over the long run.
Popular Crematories in New York
If you’re looking for a crematory for yourself or a loved one, here are several of the best across the states.
NYC Cremation and Funeral Service (New York City)
This family-owned and operated crematory provides highly rated services and a unique self-service feature. All forms can be filled out online, creating a streamlined process that saves the funeral home time and money. They pass these savings on to the families and provide professional services at very low prices. All direct cremations are provided with a free wood urn, as well.
Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremation (Central New York)
Mohawk Valley offers two types of cremation services: direct cremation or cremation with a viewing service. The funeral home consistently earns glowing five-star reviews from grateful families whose loved ones were cremated by the dedicated and professional staff.
Simple Choices Inc. Cremation Service (Eastern New York)
Simple Choices provides high-quality cremation services to eastern New York including direct cremation or cremation with memorial services. If you have a special request, they’ll do their best to accommodate you while keeping prices low and affordable.
Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, Inc. (Western New York)
This family-run funeral home receives continual praise for its professional, compassionate, and friendly manner when assisting families during funeral plans and preparation. They offer simple cremation or cremation with memorial services, family gatherings, and even catered dinners.
Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in New York
Though cremation is certainly more affordable than burial, it’s still an expense that can take families by surprise. If you find yourself in need of assistance to help with costs, there are a number of charities that help with funeral costs. Here are several for New York.
New York City Funeral Assistance
Though the state of New York doesn’t have a state-wide funeral assistance program, many individual cities and counties do. New York City has a funeral assistance program for low-income residents of NYC.
If you’re planning a cremation service that costs from $1,700 to $3,400 or more, you can apply for up to $1,700 in burial assistance from the Burial Claims Unit.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA is the government agency that provides individuals with financial aid and other assistance during times of national or state emergency. Natural disasters include floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, and pandemics.
If your loved one passed away as a result of a FEMA-declared disaster (including COVID-19), you can apply for funeral expense reimbursement.
Social Security Administration
If your loved one was receiving social security payments at the time of their death, you can apply for a small funeral stipend. Though not much, the $255 payout can help cover some of the costs related to cremation services.
You can ask the funeral director to apply to the SSA on your family’s behalf, or you can complete the application yourself by visiting an SSA office or by calling 1-800-722-1213.
VA Funeral Fund
Those with loved ones who served in the military may be able to take advantage of the Veterans Assistance Funeral Fund. Those allowed to apply for benefits are immediate family members planning the funeral of an honorably discharged servicemember.
There are two tiers of assistance through the funeral fund. First, if your loved one died after September 11, 2001, in a military service-related incident, then you can receive up to $2,000.
The second tier is non-service-related deaths. For this tier, you’ll need to distinguish whether your loved one was under the care of a VA hospital or not.
If your loved one was in the care of a VA hospital when they passed away, you can receive up to $807 allowance for funeral expenses and another $807 for a burial plot.
If your loved one was not in the care of a VA hospital when they passed away, you can receive up to $300 allowance for funeral expenses and another $807 for a burial plot.
Though this may not sound like much, if your loved one is being cremated, it will certainly help remove part of the financial burden from your shoulders.
Whole body donation
Medical schools throughout New York have whole body donation programs that allow you to donate your body to be used for medical science. The medical schools often cover most or all of the transportation expenses and take care of the body while in their possession. After they are finished, the medical school will then cremate the remains and send the ashes to a designated family member.
Choosing a Method of Final Disposition
No matter what method of final disposition you or a loved one chooses, you’ll be provided with dignified end-of-life services. Costs can vary widely, but by choosing cremation, you’re sure to save some money all while honoring your loved one.
If you're a New York 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.