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The pros and cons of cremation

By Erica Lamberg
Cremation is now the most-popular option for final arrangements. Here are pros and cons. Tellu / Pixabay

Cremation is now the most popular option for final disposition. Cremation was used in 54 percent of deaths in 2019, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. They project that to rise to more than three-quarters by 2040.

Here are some pros and cons of choosing this route for your loved one.

Pros of cremation

Planning is simpler

The cremation choice is simpler than a burial as there are not as many arrangements or logistics for surviving family and friends to discuss and make. 

Costs are usually lower than traditional burials

But the main reason consumers pick cremation is cost. Cremation is cheaper than burial. The average cost of a funeral today is more than $7,500, according to NFDA. Cremation can reduce that cost by one-third or more.

The least-expensive option is typically a so-called "direct cremation" with minimal ceremony. Cremations can also include family participation, and timing can be arranged before or after other memorial services.

Memorial options can be more expansive

With cremation, there are more options for memorials. Cremated remains can be buried, but other options include keeping ashes in an urn or other container, planting a tree in remembrance, or scattered somewhere meaningful (check first).

Cons of cremation

Family members may not want to split up ashes

 After the cremation process, and the service or memorial, friends and family may each want some of the deceased ashes/remains.  This process may be emotional.

It may lead to family disagreements

The decision to cremate your loved one may cause family tension, if not all are on board with the decision to cremate. Some people feel that having a body buried at a cemetery can be comforting, and cremation still has negative connotations among people from some religions.  

It is important to have frank and open discussions with the family and make a choice everyone is comfortable with.

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