Tag Archives: pre-planning

Can the Family be Present at a Direct Cremation?

At Cremation Society of America, one question that we’re often asked by clients is “Can my family be present at the Direct Cremation of my loved one?” 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. Here is why:

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.

 

Are Direct Cremations Tax Deductible?

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.