Many people wish to be buried with the end of their life in mind. However, some find themselves wavering between burial and cremation near the end of life. If you find yourself in this situation and would like to consider your options thoroughly before choosing one or the other, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. How long do you want to be remembered?
This may seem like an obvious question, and it is. However, consider that if you choose cremation or burial and then change your mind later, the only thing you can do is exhume the body with expensive legal measures, as most states prohibit either practice unless the body is in a specified and legal condition for disposal.
2. How far away do you want to be buried from your family?
Many people consider this when making their decision on how they want to be disposed of at death, but, unfortunately, it’s something that isn’t often thought about until after the burial or cremation has already taken place. The reality is that it may take years or months before anyone can visit your final resting place, depending on how close the location is to their home and how often they are able to travel.
3. How much money do you have?
If you haven’t planned a funeral service prior to death, the costs will be considerably more expensive. Caskets, urns, and burial plots all tend to be significantly higher in price if you choose a funeral home that specializes in cremation or burial as opposed to one that offers both services. In some situations, the total cost can be reduced by choosing just one service over the other.
4. What kind of lifestyle did you live?
In some cases, the person who has passed away lived a lifestyle that was simply unsuitable for burial or cremation. For example, if your loved one was a fisherman and had extensive tattoos, they may fit better in an urn than a casket. If this is the case, consider arranging to have their ashes scattered at sea, which is an alternative for those who have already chosen cremation.
5. Where do you want to be buried or where do you want your loved one’s cremated remains stored?
If you are putting off making a firm decision about how you want to be disposed of at death, you should also think about where you want your loved one’s cremated ashes to be stored. If your family finds it difficult to come to a consensus on the topic, consider asking them if they would rather take possession of their loved one’s ashes or have them, buried in an urn at home with the possibility of bringing them together for a memorial service later on.
6. What is your family’s religious and cultural background?
If you or your loved one has a religious or cultural affiliation that does not permit burial or cremation, be sure to let their next of kin know as they will need to make the final decision about what to do with them at death. If necessary, you can also research the specifics of your religion, how it pertains to disposal at death and what is allowed.
If you would like to learn more about how burial and cremation work, consider asking for advice from your local funeral directors or cemeteries. No matter which service you choose, be sure that it is something that everyone in your family can live with.