Category Archives: Cremation

  • At Cremation Society of America, we see all-too-often clients who had failed to properly plan for the day that is inevitable for all of us: the day that we pass away. It’s never a pleasant subject and one that most of us would prefer to address at a later date. What happens if that “later date” never arrives?

    Sound Estate Planning and gathering of your important documents might very well be the most appreciated final act that you could do for your family. Let’s explore some Estate Planning steps that you can take.

    The Need for Estate Planning

    Much like a Will, Estate Planning organizes the financial, legal and medical aspects of your life for those who will survive and succeed you. As a matter of fact, a Will is a component of a well-rounded Estate Plan.

    As with anything pertaining to legal documents, we at Cremation Society of America strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning and probate issues. This attorney has a fiduciary duty to give you the guidance and representation that you will need to put your estate in order.

    Where to Begin?

    The best place to start your estate-planning project is to take an inventory of everything of value that you may own,  possess or of which you have a stake or interest. Here are some items that you should include in your list:

    • Your Home/Deed
    • The Deeds to any properties/real estate that you Own
    • Retirement Plans, including 401(K), Pensions, Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”), Social Security benefits, Stock Holdings, etc. – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • Life Insurance Policies or any other vehicles that may pay out benefits upon your death – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • Health Benefits including private insurance, pension benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration Benefits – your spouse or family may be entitled to these benefits in the event of your death
    • Bank Accounts, Investment Accounts, Stocks, Bonds, etc. – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • List all valuables – jewelry, art, etc.  Be sure to take pictures and keep the pictures in a safe deposit box or in a cloud storage solution that a family member can access.
    • All liabilities such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, anything for which you owe money and may lead to a creditor seeking repayment from your estate

    Create or Update Legal Documents

    Meet with your attorney to create or update legal documents that will further protect your estate upon your passing. Your attorney’s recommendations may include the following:

    • A Will – include an updated list of beneficiaries
    • Healthcare directives/documents such as Power-Of-Attorney and/or a Living Will
    • Creation of a Trust(s)

    Arrange for Long-Term Care

    Most people forget that you can also plan for your long-term medical care as part of your estate planning. YOU can set aside assets to pay for your medical, housing, nurse care and related costs up to point of your passing. Be sure to contact a health care planning professional to review your options.

    Arrange for End Of Life

    Pre-plan your end-of-life arrangements, whether burial or cremation, services, location, cemetery plot – everything that you want in place upon your death because these are questions that only YOU can answer.

    Click the link below to download the Cremation Society of America Cremation Planning Guide

    Make Sure Your Family can Access Everything that you Collected

    All of the work you’ve done above will be for naught if you did not make arrangements for your loved ones to access all of the information that you’ve gathered in your inventory. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:

    • Maintain a list of all current usernames and passwords. Then, make sure that you place that list somewhere where your family or attorney can access it
    • Keep important and legal documents in a secure location such as a safe, vault or safe deposit box. You may also keep these documents with an attorney. Regardless of where you store the documents, be sure to give your family a way to access them
    • Periodically review your documents to keep them up-to-date

    As you can see, Estate Planning is another way for you to enjoy peace of mind that your wishes will be honored after you’ve passed away. This is much the same way as how Pre-planning your Direct Cremation delivers peace of mind during a troubling time for your family and friends.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding our Cremations services as well as family resources. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • We are well into the Fall season and the time has come to consider your Holiday travel plans to visit family and friends. Have you also considered your plans in the event that a loved one passes away while out of town?

    Direct Cremation”, sometimes called “Simple Cremation” or “Immediate Cremation” is when the cremation is performed soon after death, without a viewing, visitation or funeral service of any kind.

    What if you’ve arranged for your Direct Cremation and you’re planning a trip across the United States to visit family for Thanksgiving or another holiday? What happens if you or a loved one passes away unexpectedly in another state that is thousands of miles away from home? How do you ensure that your loved one is returned home in a dignified manner? How much will such arrangements cost?

    You’ll have to deal with the rules and regulations of the airlines when it comes to the transportation of your loved one’s remains – and the cost as well. You’ll also have to arrange for the remains to be transported to your pre-planned facility for cremation. And you’ll need to manage these issues during a time of sudden and likely overwhelming grief.

    A Travel Protection Plan can save time, stress, and cost for you or your next-of-kin should your death occur while traveling away from your legal residence. Most Travel Protection Plans will include many of the following services:

    • Prepare remains for transport, regardless of where the remains are located worldwide
    • Locate funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Arrange for transportation of remains from place of death to funeral home or direct disposition (cremation) facility
    • Purchase casket/air tray to meet transportation requirements, including international transportation
    • Arrange and pay for transport to city of legal residence
    • Secure and process all documentation required for remains transportation, including death certificate

    Most Travel Protection Plans are triggered when the death occurs a certain number of miles away from the person’s legal residence. Be sure to review your Travel Protection Plan carefully for specific terms and conditions.

    At a time of shock and grief, you or your loved ones would make just one phone call to activate the Plan. Once activated, the Plan agents immediately commence arrangements to provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind amidst the chaos of returning home from your journey.

    Please contact us for more information regarding Travel Protection Plans and how such a plan can factor into your Pre-Planning strategy. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • A loved one has passed away and you are the parent, guardian or family friend of a child who is grieving the loss of the same loved one, be it a sibling, parent, grandparent, or other person close to the child. You are faced with the daunting task of not only coming to terms with your grief but also with helping the bereaved child come to terms with such a life-changing event.

    In cases where your loved one is to be cremated (which is happening more and more in today’s society), you should take steps to explain what cremation is to the child in your care. Here are some helpful steps when seeking to comfort a child and to help with the healing process:

    Understand Cremation

    Believe it or not, many adults have never been taught what happens during cremation. The process of Cremation includes:

    • Cremation takes place at a building called a crematory or crematorium.  Sometimes crematories are adjacent to funeral homes, but often they are stand-alone operations not affiliated with a specific funeral home. There are more than 1,000 crematories in the United States and Canada today
    • Within the Crematorium is a special stainless-steel vault called a cremation chamber, or retort.  The body is placed in a sturdy cardboard container and the container is moved into the cremation chamber. The body may also be cremated in a casket. After the container or casket is placed in the chamber, the chamber door is tightly sealed and the licensed operator turns on the heat
    • This process can take 2-4 hours, until such time as only calcium bone fragments remain
    • Upon completion of the cremation, the remains are collected in a metal tray.  At this point, the remains are small pieces of bone. To further reduce them, the remains are placed in a processor and refined down to the consistency of coarse sand
    • The white or grayish remains (called ashes, cremated remains or cremains) are then sealed in a transparent plastic bag along with an identification tag.  The bag weighs about 5 lbs. and is similar in size to a 5-lb. bag of sugar. Often the family requests that the cremated remains be placed in an urn, which can then be buried, placed in a columbarium (which is a special above-ground structure at a cemetery), taken home or transported for scattering.
     Encourage Questions from the Child

    Children are naturally curious about everything, including death but death is an uncomfortable subject for most adults because we all have suffered loss at some point in our lives. Such a discussion can unearth painful memories – and this is natural. However, you can be a resource for the child at a critical moment by being someone the child can turn to with death and cremation questions. Remember: Most young children assume that “grown-ups” have all of life’s answers. Encourage the child to ask you anything about the death and the funeral. Give the child honest answers – but in words and concepts that the child will understand.

    Use Simple Explanations

    Armed with your understanding of the cremation process, you need to plan which information to share with the child and how to share it. Take care to use words and concepts that the child can grasp and understand.  This depends not only on the age of the child but on the child’s personality, developmental level and vocabulary. If your words and your tone convey command of the information and familiarity with the cremation process, the child will likely feel the same way.

    Try to provide as much information as possible. Children have an amazing ability to cope with life-changing events. Don’t withhold facts in an attempt to spare a child what you consider to be disturbing details. Often, a child’s imagination can conjure up explanations much scarier than reality if the child is denied the facts. Be the compassionate adult who furthers the child’s understanding.

    Her are some child-friendly answers to questions often asked about cremation:

    • Cremation has been used for thousands of years.  The ancient Greeks and Romans built funeral pyres – stacks of wood with the loved one place atop. The wood was set afire and the body burned, too.  Funeral pyres are still used in some countries today as a tribute to the deceased
    • Cremation doesn’t hurt.  The person is dead, which means the body doesn’t work anymore.  The body’s heart doesn’t beat, the body doesn’t breathe, the brain has stopped working and it doesn’t feel anything anymore.
    • There is no smell and no smoke when a body is cremated.  The process is very, very hot—many times hotter than your oven at home or a campfire.  The heat burns away all the parts of the body except for some pieces of bone.
    • After cremation, what’s left of the body looks like kitty litter or beach sand, although it’s white in color because it’s bone.  It’s put in a clear plastic bag so you can see it if you want to.
    • When a body is buried in the ground in a grave, it breaks down after months and years and just a skeleton is left. Cremation is the same process except cremation makes this happen much faster.
    • The people involved in the cremation process handle the body with dignity and respect.

    Some final thoughts: Where possible, include the child in the cremation and services planning. Let the child feel part of the process of honoring your loved one. Much like many of us want to feel useful and needed during times of stress, so do children. Also, simply being available to the child in the days, weeks and months after the cremation will make for a path to healing. Whether sharing funny stories or expressing how much you both miss your loved one, simply being “someone to talk to” goes a long way to providing a healthy grieving process.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding our Cremations services as well as family grieving resources. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • At Cremation Society of America, one question that we’re often asked by clients is “Can I witness the Direct Cremation of my loved one in person?” Many may envision themselves accompanying their loved one’s casket as it moves through the cremation process at the crematory.

    The truth is that you cannot be present during a Direct Cremation. Why not?

    Direct cremation, as we’ve explained here, is a simpler, more “direct” alternative to traditional cremation services. Once you’ve chosen a Direct Cremation provider and confirmed the arrangements, your provider will take care of the rest. Your provider will collect your loved one from their place of passing and transport him/her to the crematorium, where your loved one will be prepared to receive a solemn and dignified Cremation. Once the Cremation is completed, your loved one’s ashes will be returned to you.

    While some traditional funeral homes allow families to be present in the room during a loved one’s cremation, it is not possible to attend a Direct Cremation.

    The Direct Cremation process and procedures do not support or accommodate family and loved ones witnessing the actual Cremation. One of the many advantages of a Direct Cremation is that families have nearly limitless options to arrange for a memorial at the place and time of their choosing. This allows for family and friends to honor your loved one when they might otherwise not be able to secure travel arrangements in time to attend a traditional funeral service.

    Traditional funeral or memorial services arranged through funeral homes are at he mercy of the funeral home’s tight schedule and inflexible timetable. With Direct Cremation, you and your family can plan a memorial as soon after Cremation as you like—or be more deliberate and take your time to give distant relatives a chance to make travel arrangements in order to attend.

    Even though you and your family cannot attend the Cremation itself, there are almost infinite  ways to honor the memory of your loved one. Here are just a few examples:

    • Scatter Ashes on land (with permission from the appropriate local authorities), at Sea or from an airplane
    • Trenching on Your Property to place ashes inside a long, narrow hole dug int the ground in a favorite location
    • Inter your loved one’s ashes in a Columbarium or Mausoleum
    • Simply keep your loved one’s ashes in an urn or vessel in your home or office
    • Incorporate your loved one’s ashes into jewelry, art or even a tattoo

    Cremation Society of America (“CSA”) is your trusted provider of Cremation services. Since we at CSA focus solely on Cremation – and leave funerals, burials and ceremonies to others – we can offer cost-effective Cremation services without sacrificing the dignity or solemnity of your love one.

    We offer the most efficient online process in the industry as well as 24 x 7 Cremation Consultants who are ready to answer any and all questions during such a troubling time for your family.

    Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. CSA can also help you Pre-Plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • We at Cremation Society of America are often asked what is a Direct Cremation and why Direct Cremations have become the preferred choice of an ever-increasing number of Americans.

    Direct Cremation is not just about cost savings. It’s well-established that Direct Cremation is much more affordable than burial – and the cost gap will only widen as time goes on. However, Direct Cremation enjoys other benefits when compared to burial:

    • Acceptance by Many Faiths and Religions: With few exceptions, most faiths and religions have embraced Cremation as an acceptable service for loved ones. The dignity and reverence for loved ones as part of a sanctioned religious ceremony is often the primary concern of families after the passing of a loved one. Cremation is an option for such ceremonies.
    • Flexibility: By choosing Cremation, you avoid the stresses of scheduling your service around the logistics inherent to burials such as the gravesite itself, motorcade/escort, etc. Cremation enables you to literally schedule your service at the time and place of your choosing, including a “Destination Service” in the locale that your loved one truly enjoyed. This includes burial at sea.
    • Distributed Presence of Loved One: Whereas burial in a cemetery requires family in friends to visit the site to pay respects to a loved one, a family can distribute ashes to multiple family members in a solemn way so that the loved one can be in constant remembrance. Decorative Keepsake Urns often become moving tributes to the loved one. In addition, many families are spread across the United States in pursuit of careers and some family members may be unable to travel to the ceremony. Cremation enables multiple ceremonies to be performed so that no family member is prevented from paying respects.

    Why Choose Cremation Society of America?

    Cremation Society of America (“CSA”) is your trusted provider of Cremation services. Since we at CSA focus solely on Cremation – and leave funerals, burials and ceremonies to others – we can offer cost-effective Cremation services without sacrificing the dignity or solemnity of your love one.

    We offer the most efficient online process in the industry as well as 24 x 7 Cremation Consultants who are ready to answer any and all questions during such a troubling time for your family.

    Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. CSA can also help you Pre-Plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • “Next of Kin”: What Does It Really Mean?

    When you are faced with the loss of a loved one or if you are pre-planning cremation arrangements and/or a will, you will undoubtedly find the term “Next of Kin” used frequently. It sounds a bit “folksy” or old-fashioned but this is term that is still used throughout society, especially in the legal community.

    Per Investopedia, Next of Kin “refers to a person’s closest living blood relative. The next-of-kin relationship is important in determining inheritance rights if a person dies without a will and has no spouse and/or children. The next of kin may also have responsibilities during and after their relative’s life. They might have to make medical decisions if the person becomes incapacitated or take responsibility for their funeral/burial arrangements and financial affairs after their relative dies.”

    Who is Considered Next of Kin in Florida?

    In State of Florida, Chapter 744 Title XLII (14), Next of Kin is defined as ““those persons who would be heirs at law of the ward or alleged incapacitated person if the person were deceased and includes the lineal descendants of the ward or alleged incapacitated person.”

    Cremation Society of America is Here to Help

    We at CSA realize that decision making in the aftermath of losing a loved on is stressful and difficult. We’re here to help. Visit our Home Page to download our FREE Cremation Planning Guide that will help you and your family ensure that the best decisions are being made and that nothing is missed. Of course, feel free to Contact Us with any questions.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • Even though Direct Cremation is steadily overtaking funeral homes as the arrangement of choice for most Americans and their loved ones, some cremation providers can be saddled with a tedious or inconvenient process to purchase a cremation.

    At Cremation Society of America, we continually seek to make our Direct Cremation Services the easiest and most affordable Direct Cremation ordering process in the industry.

    If you’ve been following our Blog, you know that the median cost of a funeral can be $8,000 with many exceeding $10,000. Of course, a Direct Cremation is a far more affordable option for a loved one. At Cremation Society of America, our Direct Cremation packages start at only $795.00 with the option to upgrade to more comprehensive packages that include an Urn Allowance, for example. You can also order features such as Cremation Jewelry and Celebration of Life Kits.

    Our industry-leading secure Online Ordering System can be completed in mere minutes and is easy to understand. Here are highlights of the Online Ordering System:

    • Choose either Direct Cremation for a loved one who has passed or Pre-Plan for a Cremation in the future
    • Enter your contact information
    • Choose from one of Three Packages
    • Select Medical Examiner Cremation Approval Fee, if applicable
    • Select Delivery Method
    • Order Death Certificate(s)
    • Choose from a selection of Cremation Jewelry and Celebration of Life Kit options, if desired
    • Enter Billing and Shipping Addresses
    • Enter payment information
    • Complete the Necessary Forms

    You simply SUBMIT and you’re all set! The entire process takes just a few minutes and we’ll take care of the rest.

    We understand that there is rarely a convenient time to arrange for a Direct Cremation. However, we are confident that you will find our streamlined Online Ordering System easy to use and it will take little time to complete. Don’t forget that all Online Direct Cremation orders come with a 30-Day 100% Money Back Guarantee!

    So, you see, there is no better time nor better reason to order your Direct Cremation ONLINE NOW.

    Peace of Mind has never been so affordable or so easy to arrange. Give us a call for more information or to ask us questions. That’s why we’re here. We look forward to serving as your trusted Direct Cremation resource.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • Direct Cremation continues to be the preferred choice of families in the United States in lieu of more traditional funeral services. Direct Cremation is far more affordable and offers families the flexibility to arrange for services at time and place more convenient for the family. One example of such flexibility is the Scattering of Ashes at Sea.

    Scattering Ashes at Sea has become more and more popular among families of the deceased.  This type of ceremony is considered by many to be much more natural and soothing for your loved ones versus traditional, terrestrial burials.

    Shortly following the cremation and receipt of the ashes, you are ready to provide your loved one with the ceremony and serenity that he or she deserves – and most likely requested with his or her final wishes.

    U.S. federal law allows for the scattering of ashes at sea but certain conditions must be met, including: the use of decomposable flowers and wreaths; certain notification requirements; ensuring that ashes are scattered at least three (3) nautical miles from shore; and others.

    To scatter your loved one’s cremated remains (“cremains”) by boat, family and friends board the vessel and travel to the desired location on the ocean. This typically involves chartering a boat with a licensed captain and the trip may last for several hours.

    Upon arrival at the desired location, the captain will position the vessel boat into the wind and with enough forward speed to prevent the cremains from being blown back into the vessel. The ceremony and tribute can begin. The ceremony can range from clergy reciting prayers to Family members reciting poetry to a few poignant comments and everything in between.

    Family members have the option to scatter the cremains if they so choose. The cremains are placed in the water and allowed to descend into the ocean. Cremation Society of America can help you to choose a reputable charter service to ensure that the cremains make it into the ocean properly.

    Shortly thereafter, the Family and friends are usually handed flowers or even a bouquet that they can toss in along with the cremains to create an area of the ceremony on the water. The captain can then circle the area while the Family and friends take photos and say their final goodbyes.

    With the Cremation Society of America Package One, our advisors can help you arrange to scatter your loved one’s ashes at sea. CSA has relationships with reputable charter services that have vast experience to provide a dignified and touching at-sea tribute to your loved one. Contact us NOW to order a Direct Cremation and to explore our Scattering of Ashes at Sea services.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • As an increasing number of Americans choose Cremation over traditional burials, Cremation Scams and Fraudulent Practices are also on the rise. As with IRS scams and Banking scams, Cremation Scams are aimed at people 65 and older.  Fraudsters and scammers attempt to take advantage of the sadness, grief and confusion many feel in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one. This is a time of great vulnerability for families, especially those who did not take advantage of Pre-Planning Services.

    The best way to combat Cremation Scams and Fraud is education. Here are some examples of Cremation Scams:

    • Concealing or misrepresenting prices. Dishonest providers may deliberately avoid providing prices to you in writing or they even increase prices/fees once the cremains are delivered.
    • Selling extra or unnecessary services or items. Service providers may try to sell unnecessary additional services, such as embalming or a burial casket, as part of a cremation package. These items can be quite expensive and are considered “pure profit” by unscrupulous funeral providers. Oftentimes, providers will use “high-pressure” sales tactics to coerce elderly customers into buying unnecessary products and services.
    • Forcing consumers to buy proprietary goods. Sometimes called “cramming,” a family member who wants to use a family heirloom for the cremains may be coerced into buying an “approved” urn or casket that is only sold by the provider, at a premium of course.
    • Misrepresenting legal requirements for funeral or cremation services. Unscrupulous providers may insist that embalming is required by law, even in a direct cremation with no viewing or funeral service, despite the fact that embalming is not a statutory requirement in most states.

    Now that you know what a Cremation Scam looks like, here are some steps you can take to avoid falling victim to such scams:

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

    Cremation providers should be willing to answer any questions that you or your family may have. If a provider fails to answer questions, is evasive or tries to hurry your family into a decision that does not feel right, you could be at risk for a scam. Be sure to meet with family members and even a family attorney to organize your questions in advance. Such questions can include:

    • How can I be sure that my loved one’s cremains are actually his or hers?
    • How will the cremains be presented to the family?
    • How long will the Cremation process take and how long will cremains be held prior to pick-up?
    • Do you offer support services for bereaved families, especially young children?

    Research the Cremation Provider

    As more and more families opt for Cremation in lieu of burial, “fly by night” cremation-only providers have begun to appear. In the same way that you would investigate a general contractor before building a house or hiring an attorney to draft a will for your family, you should investigate the credentials and performance of your Cremation provider. Here are some ways to conduct your investigation:

    • Visit the provider’s website and locate the provider’s physical address
    • Most provider websites include an “About Us” section. In many cases, you can double-check that information with public resources, including the Better Business Bureau and certain state-specific licensing agencies
    • Be wary of offers that may be too good to be true. Contact at least two providers so that you can compare products and services. The more offers you compare, the better
    • Read online reviews on social media and other online resources such as Yelp and Google
    • Where possible, follow-up with references

    Arrange for a Witness be present at the Cremation

    Request that a family member or representative (such as an attorney) witness the Cremation to ensure that no mishandling or mistakes in identification happen at any point during the Cremation process. The family representative must be able to visually identify the individual being cremated as a safeguard to ensure to that your loved one’s cremains are being returned to the family. Keep in mind that some states do not allow witnesses and some crematories have specific rules and regulations concerning witnesses, including additional fees to allow for a witness.

    Get Everything in Writing 

    Do not commit to any Cremation services until you have received all documentation in writing and have had a chance to review, including having legal counsel review the documents.

    Know Your Rights 

    As a consumer, your rights are clear under the FTC’s Funeral Rule, which describes in detail how providers of funeral services should provide burial and cremation services. Knowing your rights can help you to avoid the cremation and funeral scams listed above.

    The FTC’s Funeral Rule applies to all types of funeral and cremation service providers except third-party sellers like casket and urn dealers or cemeteries without an on-site funeral home. Your rights when purchasing or contracting services for burial or cremation include:

    • The right to buy only the services and products you want.
    • The right to refuse embalming. Many state laws do not require embalming as the only preservation process. In some cases, refrigeration may suffice. Check with your specific state laws before being forced to pay for embalming.
    • The right to get price information by phone without agreeing to buy.Funeral service providers are required by law to give you the prices you request by phone without requiring you to provide your name or other information. You also have the right to compare prices without being obligated to purchase a provider’s services.
    • The right to a written, itemized price list and written statement that lists your products and services.
    • The right to use a container other than a casket for cremation.A provider might try to coerce you into purchasing a casket for cremation even though no laws require it. The provider must offer alternatives such as wooden boxes or cardboard.
    • Know your rights and Cremation requirements in your state.

    Pre-Planning 

    Not only can Pre-Planning save your family money, it is always better to make such important decisions ahead of time so that all aspects can be researched and evaluated. Rarely are proper decisions made under duress or during a time of grief and confusion.

    Veterans Benefits for Cremation 

    The Department of Veterans Affairs provides certain burial benefits for veterans of U.S. military service that covers free interment in a National Cemetery and associated military honors, and those benefits can also be used for cremation services. Ask your cremation provider how they are equipped to accommodate veterans and their families.

    What Can You Do if You Fall Victim to a Scam?

    What actions can you take if you experience cremation fraud or fall victim to a cremation scam? Your rights under the FTC’s Funeral Rule are protected by several agencies and organizations, and you can report any experiences of fraud or scams to these entities for further investigation. You can report a funeral or cremation scam to the FTC here. State Attorneys General also investigate consumer complaints pertaining to funeral services. You can contact the Attorney General’s Office in your state by searching online.

    Business organizations also track complaints about the funeral and cremation industry. The Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection Agency pursues reports of scams/fraud, and so does the Consumer Protection Agency.

    As you can see above, education is the best way to avoid falling victim to any cremation or funeral scams. At Cremation Society of America, we are committed to providing you and your family with the most competitive and dignified Cremation services available. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Category Archives: Cremation

  • We at Cremation Society of America are often asked by our clients whether Direct Cremations are tax deductible. The short answer for Individual Taxpayers is No. But this merits further explanation. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your tax specialist.

    These days, the median cost of a funeral can be $8,000 with many exceeding $10,000. Of course, a Direct Cremation is far more affordable option for a loved one. Even so, some families, upon advice from a trusted resource or due to reading an article, etc. are tempted to deduct funeral expenses on their personal income tax return. We suggest that you resist this temptation as you run the risk of an IRS audit and the heavy fines and penalties that come with it. The last thing you need after the loss of a loved one is to endure an IRS audit!

    Estates: Claiming a Deduction

    Funeral expenses are only deductible if they paid by a previously-established Estate. An Estate can be defined as everything comprising the net worth of an individual, including all land, possessions and other assets r that the individual owns or has a controlling interest in. As such, individuals cannot claim funeral expenses on their income tax returns (IRS Form 1040) and funeral expenses cannot be itemized or deducted on the decedent’s final tax return.

    Per the IRS ‘Miscellaneous Deductions” guide (Publication 529), “Burial or funeral expenses, including the cost of a cemetery lot” are nondeductible. Please also keep in mind that if you pay funeral expenses for a loved one or other individual, you cannot treat those expenses as a medical deduction on your tax return.

    Estate: Claiming a Deduction

    The appropriate way to deduct funeral expenses is for the Estate to pay the burial costs and then claim the deduction for estate tax purposes on IRS Form 706 (United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return). The funeral expense deduction is one of several deductions that are used to determine the taxable estate, resulting in the taxable amount of the Estate. The executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for filing IRS Form 706, and such executor/administrator must attach a death certificate per the Form 706. The executor/administrator should notify the family involved in the Estate as well as those making funeral arrangements that reimbursement for funeral expenses may be affected by IRS regulation and other laws. Again, we cannot stress enough that you consult with your Tax Specialist and possibly an Estate Attorney for guidance and advice.

    Can any costs be Deducted?

    Itemized funeral expenses that may be eligible for deduction may include but not be limited to:

    • Cost to purchase a burial plot or mausoleum space and any reservations
    • Headstone or grave marker and related expenses
    • Funeral director fees, embalming and body preparation charges
    • Ceremony or viewing/visitation expenses, including – flower arrangements, food, audio visual presentations, clergy honorarium
    • Casket costs and interment fees
    • Transportation expenses such as transporting your loved one to and from the funeral home, hearse/limousine and driver costs

    If the decedent’s Estate is reimbursed for any funeral costs, the reimbursement must be deducted from total expenses before claiming the deduction on Form 706 – this includes any federal payments such as Social Security or Veterans death benefits.

    The person or family representative responsible for making the funeral arrangements and paying the resulting expenses should retain and preserve all invoices, receipts, contracts, agreements, etc. Note that the Estate may not receive full reimbursement if the funeral costs are deemed unreasonable, or the Estate becomes insolvent. This is why Pre-Planning for funeral or Cremation services can be so very helpful to your family during such a challenging time.

    Do you have questions about arranging a Direct Cremation and whether any aspect can be tax deductible? Please feel free to give us a call. One of our Direct Cremation Specialists is here for you.

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