Burial or Cremation? Deciding in Advance

March 31, 2021

It may be surprising that comprehensive estate planning also takes into consideration issues related to funeral and burial instructions. With the shocking costs of traditional burial arrangements, the option for cremation is thoughtfully considered during the estate planning process. While saving money is the driving force for many who choose cremation, environmental concerns also tend to be a factor. The space taken up by burials, the chemicals used for embalming and the products used for caskets all have detrimental impacts on the earth. Many environmentalists are studying these impacts and looking for alternative ways to respectfully, but naturally, bury the dead. While cremation is still not the most environmentally friendly, it is preferable to traditional burials from an environmentally-conscious point of view.

Cremation services can be customized to fit your budget and preferences. The cost of cremation is determined more by the preferences for services to honor the deceased and placement of the ashes than by the cremation process itself.

Some prefer to have the body embalmed and available for viewing in a casket while others simply wait the 12 hours required by Maryland state law and then have the body cremated. The services, if any, are then conducted without a body present.

Choosing the final resting place also impacts the costs (and the environment). Urns range in price based on the complexity and type of materials used. The urns containing the cremated ashes may be kept in a private residence, buried in a smaller plot in a traditional cemetery, interred in a mausoleum or incorporated into a private garden. The costs will also increase based on the types of headstone or markers used to designate the final resting place. It also popular (and inexpensive) to simply spread the ashes in an area sentimental to the deceased or his or her loved ones. Environmentalists also caution those spreading ashes about where they choose to do so. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published guidelines about spreading ashes.

To discuss the pros and cons of traditional burial arrangements versus cremation or other eco-friendly modern alternatives as part of your comprehensive estate planning, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area for more information. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufflerlegal.com.

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