Cremation vs Burial: Making End of Life Decisions


When you think of fun things to do in life, you probably don’t think about dying. Yet, planning your funeral is helpful and important, especially if you want to minimize your family’s duties when you die.

End-of-life planning is something more people think about today. But unfortunately, only 17% of people go through with their thoughts by planning their funerals. 

One tough decision you must make is choosing between cremation vs. burial. Of course, both options are common, but you can only choose one.

Keep reading this guide to learn about the top factors to consider as you decide what you want your family to do with your body.

The Procedures of Cremation vs. Burial

As you consider burial vs. cremation, you might begin by comparing each procedure.

The first option is burial. With this option, a funeral home prepares your body for the casket. However, you can choose to let your family show your body during the funeral service or not. 

In either case, the funeral home prepares the body by removing the blood and replacing it with chemicals.

If you prefer to show your body during the funeral, your family can provide clothing for you to wear. In addition, someone will do your hair and makeup to make you look as good as possible. 

After the funeral, they’ll move the casket to a graveyard. Then, they’ll place the casket in the ground and cover it with dirt. 

On the other hand, cremation is the process that involves burning your body. With cremation, they won’t bury you. Instead, they’ll place your ashes in a box, and the family keeps the box. 

Religious Beliefs or Traditions 

Many people consider the procedures for burial and cremation when choosing, but they also consider their family’s traditions and beliefs.

For example, do your religious views consider cremation a sin? Some religious people feel that cremation is a sin, so they choose burial instead. On the flip side, some religions view burial as a sin.

Other people choose burials because their families have grave plots for them already. If your family always chooses burials, you might choose this option to honor your family tradition. 

Of course, your family traditions and religious beliefs might not play a role in this decision. If that’s the case, you can consider other factors when deciding what to do. 

Where Your Body Ends Up

Planning a funeral is something families do at the last minute, as you can’t plan the exact date. Therefore, preplanning your funeral is a way to help your family when this day arrives.

While you’re planning your funeral and deciding between cremation vs. burial, you might consider where your body ends up with these options.

First, when choosing cremation services, your body ends up in a box in the form of ashes. Your family can do multiple things with your ashes, and you might want to decide what you’d like them to do. 

For example, you can ask them to put them in an urn or multiple urns. Then, you could name who should have these urns. 

Other people prefer asking their families to spread their ashes in a particular place. For example, maybe you want them to spread them in a field by your house or the pond in your yard. 

Additionally, your family could place some of your ashes into necklaces and wear them. You can do all kinds of things with a person’s ashes. 

When choosing burial, your body will be in the ground, and your family can visit this spot to honor you. Of course, your family can still buy a burial plot if you choose cremation. However, your body will not be there. 

With a burial, your family won’t have your remains with them. If they want to visit you, they must travel to the graveyard. 

Environmental Considerations

Some people also compare the environmental impacts of these options. For example, cremation has fewer impacts on the environment than burial, but both have effects.

When a funeral home prepares a body for burial, they place chemicals in the person’s body. Unfortunately, these chemicals can leak out of the casket and into the ground, causing contamination to the ground and water supply. 

The second environmental impact is the space you use for your gravesite for a burial. 

The only environmental impact of cremation is the carbon dioxide released into the air from the fuel used to perform the cremation. 

Cost Differences

Finally, you might want to consider the cost differences between burial and cremation. In almost any case, burial costs are higher than cremation costs

You can compare these costs by considering the various expenses of each option, starting with burial costs.

When you bury someone, you must pay for the following things:

  • Body preparation
  • Casket
  • Gravesite
  • Headstone
  • Transportation costs

You’ll discover that these expenses add up quickly, causing a higher funeral bill. 

Choosing cremation is more affordable, as you won’t have to pay for the costs of a casket, gravesite, or headstone. You might also save money on other expenses. 

Therefore, you can save a lot of money by choosing cremation instead of burial services.

However, you shouldn’t base your decision on money alone. You should factor in the other considerations as you decide whether to choose burial or cremation.

Preplan Your Funeral to Help Your Family

Choosing between cremation vs. burial is one step of preplanning a funeral, but you can also plan other details.

Preplanning a funeral offers a way to help your family when you die. Your family won’t have to wonder what you want or decide how to handle it. They’ll know your wishes and be able to grant them to you.

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