Almost half of the people who die in the United States have their remains cremated. This represents a dramatic increase over the last 40 or 50 years when cremation was not a popular option. Many things have changed over these years, cremation is now widely accepted by religions, it is significantly less costly than an in-ground burial, there is fewer adherence to family values and traditions and people are more mobile. Although no one wishes to dwell on his or her death, it is wise to consider the options carefully and let your choice be known to your immediate family as they will take responsibility for your remains upon your death.
Lower cost: This is one of the primary reasons for choosing cremation. Although the actual costs associated with direct burial vs. cremation are unimportant for sake of discussion, what is important is that direct burial costs about five times as much. When an individual chooses cremation the only expense is the actual cremation process, the transfer of the body to the crematorium and the selection of one of many handcrafted wooden urns to hold the ashes of the deceased. All the expenses associated with a casket, a cemetery plot, a grave marker and other miscellaneous costs are eliminated completely. The only other cost associated with cremation other than the service and the urn may be the disposal of the ashes but this cost can also be eliminated if the family wishes to keep the ashes at home or scatter them themselves.
Expediency: At the moment of death the body begins the process of decomposition. When an in-ground burial has been chosen this usually results in the body being embalmed to slow the decay so the individual can be viewed out of respect. This is an added expense but many people feel that all the family are owed the right to attend the funeral and burial so embalming can hold the remains for perhaps a week.
In the case of a cremation, there is absolutely no great urgency to do anything with the remains. Once the deceased has been cremated and the remains placed in one of the beautiful handcrafted wooden urns that are available, a memorial service can be held at any time. As the memorial can be held well into the future, those that are left behind can deal with their grief and not be concerned with the myriad of details that need to be decided when a burial is chosen.