Find out what factors can play a role in cremation cost and how you can have an affordable cremation cost and a meaningful and memorial service for your loved one.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Victor Buonfiglio of Boston Cremation and our topic is how much does cremation cost. Welcome Victor.
Victor Buonfiglio: Hi, John. Thanks for having me.
What Plays a Role in Cremation Cost?
John: Sure, so Victor what are some of the factors involved in the cost of a cremation?
Victor: Well, there are many factors. One of the things that we try to take into consideration is what type of a service or ceremony a person’s going to have before or after the cremation. Years ago, cremation used to just be a final disposition, so you were either buried or you were cremated but there was something that happened before. Today a lot of families are just going with a simple cremation with no viewings or ceremony, so this plays into what the costs are going to be. We do get a lot of contemporary folks today who don’t want traditional but yet, they don’t want the basic simple cremation with no ceremony. They want to do something in the middle.
We see a lot of folks doing the celebration of life, or a memorial service, or something like that. A service like that would typically be once the person is picked up from the place of death and brought into our care, we do all the necessary paperwork that needs to be done. There’s a 48-hour waiting period in Massachusetts before a person can be cremated. During that 48 hours, we’re doing our due diligence getting all the paperwork ready. We have to get the medical examiner involved. The medical examiner in Massachusetts views every person before they are cremated because it’s irreversible, so if there was a question that came up after the fact, it would be too late.
John: There’s no exhumation in a cremation.
Victor: There’s no exhumation, correct. The medical examiner will review the medical ID on the person’s body, they review the death certificate, all the authorization forms to make sure everything’s matching and then they actually do a physical viewing of the body to make sure that there are no marks or injuries that don’t coincide with what the death certificate says. Once the 48 hours are up and we do all our paperwork, then the medical examiner comes and signs off on everything, then the crematory supervisor again reviews the paperwork again, then the cremation can take place.
We typically tell folks the complete turnaround time for a cremation is about five to seven business days. After the seven business days is complete and we have the ashes back, at that point we will schedule the memorial service or celebration of life. That can happen at our facility in Malden or we can do it at a person’s church, chapel, or even a restaurant, or a park. Our fee for that is $2,270. It includes all of our fees, it includes the medical examiner’s fee, and the crematory fee, it includes an urn and the memorial stationery, which would be a guestbook, thank you notes, and stuff for those who attend.
“Open Casket” Funeral with Cremation to Follow
John: Do you ever have people who want to have a more traditional wake or funeral service and then have the cremation happen after that?
Victor: We do, that happens on occasion. It’s not the majority of our business but we may see a situation where maybe the wife did a simple cremation and the family was happy with the service that we provided but the husband wants to use us, but wants something a little more traditional, so we do offer what we’d like to call contemporary funeral services. Which we’ll do a visitation in the morning prior to the service for a couple of hours, with a viewing in a cremation rental casket. You don’t have to purchase a casket, you can rent it just for the portion of you use and actually the interior of the casket comes out and that’s the cremation container.
John: So, you’re not reusing your casket.
Victor: Correct, you’re not reusing it. They cremate their casket. The manufacturers came up with these caskets in order to better serve the needs of the cremation client. Traditional contemporary cremation with a viewing is $3995.
John: That adds a little bit to the cost?
Victor: Sure, yes. Again, it takes a little more resources of our staff and again, more preparation and things like that, so that will offset it.
John: Then the lowest cost of cremation would be what?
Victor: Simple cremation, no ceremonies or viewings is $1495. That’s about as basic as you can get. We include everything that you need, so there’s no hidden fees in that. Again, it includes our services, it includes the medical examiner’s fees, and the crematory fees. That’s for somebody who just [says], “I just want something simple. Mom was 90 years old and I’m in Florida, my sister’s in Georgia, there’s nobody home anymore.” We can actually even mail cremated remains back to people out-of-state. We do that all the time.
Cost of Death Certificate
John: Oh, wow. You said there’s no hidden fees on your side, but are there any other people involved in the cremation that a family [member] might have to pay?
Victor: The only thing that families may or may not need to pay and this is if they decide to do it, is death certificates. There’s a misconception that the death certificate gets issued from the funeral home and it doesn’t. The death certificate gets issued from the city or town where the person lived or died. Most cities and towns charge about $10 for a copy. It’s just like getting a birth certificate. You go to the City Clerk’s office a few days after the passing has occurred and you can get a death certificate. Then of course, obituaries in the newspaper and stuff. If you want to place an obituary, you’d have to pay for something like that.
We offer free obituaries on our website, we have the obituary page and we allow people to post them on there. We usually tell them to post it on our website and then share it on social media. That’s a really good affordable way to get the word out there.
John: Yes, without having to place it in the newspaper.
Victor: Without having to place in the newspaper because sometimes, we’ve had people spend almost as much on obituaries as they did on a simple cremation.
John: Wow, that’s amazing. All right, well, that’s really great information Victor. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Victor: Thanks for having me.
John: For more information, visit Bostoncremation.org or call 781-322-0909.