Online cremation services are quickly becoming a popular way to make final arrangements for a loved one who has passed away. They’re also a useful way to pre-plan for your own end-of-life arrangements.
Overview: Popular Cremation Services
- Tulip Cremation
- Neptune Society, Trident Society
- National Cremation Society
- Smart Cremation
- Solace Cremation
With the convenience of online cremation services, families are able to plan and arrange a dignified memorial service from the comfort of their own home.
From the selection of a cremation provider to the delivery of the final cremated remains, online cremation services offer a range of services that make the process of honoring a loved one easier and more affordable.
In this article, we'll discuss what an online cremation service is and how it can help you honor your loved one in the most respectful and meaningful way.
How Do Online Cremation Services Typically Work?
The great thing about online cremation services is that you can spend valuable moments at home with your family rather than visiting a funeral home.
Online cremation services also allow you to make decisions in your own time without feeling rushed by the presence of a funeral director or medical professional. This can lead to greater satisfaction with the process of laying your loved one to rest, as well as possible dollars saved.
Additionally, online cremation services let you think through the process of your own end-of-life planning and even arrange your own cremation. And this can take a big weight of responsibility off the shoulders of your loved ones after you pass.
Here are some more details about how the process works for pre-planning or for immediate cremation.
Pre-planning with an online cremation service
As mentioned, a big benefit of using an online cremation service is that they allow you to pre-plan your own cremation. This means that when you pass away, all your family members have to do is reach out to that cremation service.
The cremation service will already have your plans and wishes on file, so your family will have less to worry about and fewer decisions to make.
Most often, you don’t have to pay for your own pre-planned cremation ahead of time, but you’ll have the option. This can allow you to “lock in” the price of cremation today, which can save money.
The cremation company will keep your payment in a secure trust until your family reaches out to have them perform the cremation.
You can also pre-plan cremation for a family member or loved one who is going to pass away soon but isn’t deceased yet.
Notifying the online cremation service
If your loved one has passed away, you’ll need to notify the online cremation service of their death. If your loved one made pre-planned arrangements with the cremation service, the service will review those plans and put them into action.
If your loved one did not pre-plan their cremation with an online cremation provider, that’s OK. You can still contact the cremation provider to use their services after your loved one’s death. You may just need to make a few more decisions, such as what kind of urn you’d like.
Notify the online cremation service as soon as you can after your loved one passes away and their death has been confirmed. For most online services, this involves filling out a short form online. You can usually also call the service directly.
To proceed with the cremation of a body, a crematory or cremation service must generally provide a cremation authorization form. This is a document that a family member of the deceased signs to give the go-ahead to cremate the body.
If you don’t receive this form from the cremation provider, be sure to ask whether or not you need to sign a cremation authorization form.
If your loved one pre-arranged their own cremation, they most likely already paid the fees associated. They might have also purchased an urn and other products.
If this is the case, you won’t have to pay anything to have your loved one cremated.
If your loved one did not pre-pay, you’ll need to make a payment to the cremation service. Prices vary depending on the company you choose, your location, and any accessories like urns.
If your loved one was a veteran, make sure to inform the cremation service of this. They may have military benefits available.
Payment plans may also be available if you’re unable to pay for cremation all in one go.
Transferring the body
Once you notify the online cremation company of your loved one’s passing, they will arrange for their closest service location to come and pick up your loved one’s body at the place of death. This may be a hospital, your loved one’s home, or another location.
Cremation and return of remains
You should be kept informed throughout the process of cremation. Once the cremation is complete, the company will arrange for the remains to be delivered to you.
How Much Does an Online Cremation Cost?
The price of cremation using an online cremation service can vary a great deal. The cost can depend on whether you or your loved one pre-planned the cremation, what additional products or services you chose, and your location.
It’s important to note that a cremation provider, including those you find online, must always be willing to provide a general price list (GPL). Their prices are required by law to be transparent and easy to understand so that you aren’t blindsided by your bill, and so that you can comparison-shop.
If you want to know exactly how much cremation will cost you with any service, reach out to them directly to request their general price list. They must provide this information without obligating you to make a purchase.
In general, a direct cremation typically costs about $1,000, but it may be more or less, depending on where you live and other circumstances. For more information about the average price of cremation, you can visit our article on the topic here: How Much Does the Average Cremation Cost?
What Should You Look for in an Online Cremation Company
When choosing an online cremation company, there are several factors that you can keep in mind to ensure you choose a respectful, reliable, and reputable company. Here are some things you should be on the lookout for.
First, it’s essential to make sure that the company you choose actually serves your location. Even though the cremation company operates online, they must either have brick-and-mortar locations or contract with crematories near you.
If you live near a service location but not in the city itself, you may need to contact the cremation company to ask whether they can travel to your location to retrieve the body. This may come at an extra cost depending on how far away you are.
As mentioned above, cremation companies can vary a lot in their prices. This includes pricing for the cremation itself as well as transportation and other purchases, like an urn.
If you live in a location where you can choose between multiple service providers, make sure to request a general price list from each company. This will help you decide which cremation company to choose based on your budget.
Speaking with a representative of the company on the phone can also help you decide whether it's the right company for you based on their level of empathy, understanding, and helpfulness.
The cost of cremation will usually include any and all required fees, such as the cremation permit or disposition permit from the state and a fee for the death certificate.
The cremation company must be licensed to handle human remains in your specific state. Additionally, they must be licensed to offer cremation services in that area, unless they’re contracted with a third-party crematory. In that case, the crematory will need to be licensed to offer those services.
A good way to determine if a company is licensed is to request their license numbers, as well as the license numbers of any companies they contract with.
Finally, you’ll want to work with a cremation company that’s reputable and well-respected. You can view a company’s track record and any complaints they’ve received on their Better Business Bureau page. If the company has a lot of complaints that are relatively recent, you may choose a different service.
You can also ask your family, friends, and colleagues if they’ve used the service before. Another great place to ask around is at the hospital or facility where your loved one passed away.
Popular Online Cremation Companies
Now let’s look at some of the most popular online cremation companies operating in the United States.
We’ve thoroughly researched each of these companies to try and make sure you can make the most educated decision possible.
1. Tulip Cremation
- 24/7 service
- Serving 10 states
- Transparent pricing starts at $1,195
- Easily request a quote for your situation, location, and wishes
Tulip is one of the biggest online cremation services in the United States. It currently serves 10 states and is still expanding. The company was started in 2017, making it one of the newest online cremation companies as well.
One of Tulip’s greatest qualities is its completely transparent pricing. Direct cremation starts at $1,195, and you can view a more extensive general price list right on their website.
Tulip is also environmentally conscious and actively purchases carbon offsets to help reduce their carbon footprint.
2. Neptune Society and Trident Society
- 24/7 service
- 45+ locations nationwide
- Operating since 1973
- Unique memorial options
- Contact for price list
Another one of the largest online cremation companies in the US is Neptune Society. This company also goes by the name Trident Society in several of its California locations.
Both Neptune Society and Trident Society are owned by a parent company called Service Corporation International.
Neptune Society and Trident Society offer direct cremation services as well as some unique memorial options.
The company owns the Neptune Memorial Reef in Florida and the San Francisco Columbarium, both of which offer a unique final resting place for you or your loved one.
You can also scatter your loved one’s ashes (or plan your own ash scattering ceremony) at sea in California with memorials held onboard a yacht.
It’s important to know that Neptune Society has faced several controversies and criticisms, including lawsuits. This may or may not influence your decision about whether to use the company for cremation services.
3. National Cremation Society
- 24/7 service
- 45+ locations nationwide
- Operating since 1970s
- Contact for price list
National Cremation is yet another cremation company owned and operated by Service Corporation International, just like Neptune and Trident Society. This means that National Cremation’s services are very similar to those of Neptune and Trident Society.
National Cremation was originally founded in the 1970s, and it currently has more than 45 locations. It’s likely that Neptune Society, Trident Society, and National Cremations share some business infrastructure and systems, making them available in more locations.
4. Smart Cremation
- Unique memorial products
- Allows pre-planning without pre-payment
- Serving California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Nevada
- Contact for price list
If you live in one of the states listed above, it’s worth looking into Smart Cremation. Smart Cremation has thorough, in-depth systems to ensure that you or your loved one are handled with the utmost care after death.
Unfortunately, Smart Cremation’s price list isn’t available without requesting it from the company. This is likely because cremation expenses can vary a lot between the different states that they serve.
5. Solace Cremation
- 24/7 service
- Affordable direct cremation for $895
- Serving Portland and Southern California
Solace cremation is a great example of a cremation company providing transparent and affordable pricing. Direct cremation with Solace is only $895, and that includes transportation and filing of important documents.
Unfortunately, Solace Cremation is only currently serving the Portland, Oregon area and the southern regions of California. If you live in one of those areas, Solace is well worth considering for cremating a loved one or planning ahead for yourself.
Arranging Cremation Online
We hope that this guide has helped you to choose the online cremation company that’s right for you or your loved one.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the online cremation companies listed above may not be your only option for arranging cremation online.
It’s a good idea to also search your local area for cremation companies that have online services. Many cities and even small towns have cremation companies that let you set up services online.
And of course, many people would prefer to work with an in-person funeral director. In that case, you should contact your local funeral homes to request price lists and additional information.