When I am overwhelmed and need to analyze a situation with many moving parts, I tend to make lists. If you are considering preneed insurance or pre-planning your funeral, I hope this list can help you consider the pros and cons of choosing cremation over burial.
The Pros of Cremation
- Many people choose cremation because it is more cost-efficient. An average burial costs $2000-$3000, but cremation is often a third of that cost.
- Cremation is environmentally friendly and socially responsible, as it has less impact on the planet and the wallet.
- Cremation can be a simpler, quicker process. There is less of a headache when planning a cremation and the details are fewer and less complicated.
- Cremation ashes offer a unique opportunity for families and loved ones. The spreading of ashes can be a wonderful bonding experience, or some people choose to cherish the ashes by keeping them in urns or other containers.
- An open-casket funeral can still be had if cremation is chosen instead of interment.
- If family members are far away when death occurs, cremation makes the disposal of the body quick so the memorial services can be postponed until those who are traveling can reasonably attend. Not paying for prolonged preservation will save you quite a bit.
- Sometimes the state will pay for cremation if no one claims the remains of the deceased.
The Cons of Cremation
- Burial is more traditional and will be expected by most people. Choosing cremation may be accompanied by explaining or justifying your choice.
- It can be difficult to choose what to do with the cremation ashes. If you’re pre-planning your own funeral, you may not be able to specifically choose what happens to your ashes. If you found a company that turns ashes into fireworks, it may not exist when your time actually comes.
- There may be family tension about how the cremation ashes are to be memorialized or scattered.
- Some religions frown on cremation, and at the very least, some loved ones may feel uncomfortable with the decision.
- Though an open-casket funeral is very possible before cremation takes place, the timing can be tricky to get down if you are trying to avoid preservation and embalming.
- If you choose to scatter ashes, there will be no headstone to memorialize you. Of course, you can choose to have your ashes buried and marked, or an empty marker can be placed for your family to visit.
- Cremation can be hard to explain to children, who often need to understand death by tangibly experiencing a burial.
This list is not comprehensive, and cannot possibly cover all the minutiae that affects your decision, but hopefully it has put a few things into perspective. As your considering your preneed funeral plans, my recommendation is to always follow what feels right—the rest will fall into place.