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Cremation is an alternative mode of disposition to earth burial. It is simply the process of reducing the body to bone fragments through the application of intense heat for three to four hours in a cremation furnace. In our area approximately 15% of the families we serve choose cremation as disposition of choice.
When selected as a substitute for a traditional funeral followed by earth burial, the cost will be considerably less. Direct cremation costs range from $2,675 and up. Please see our Funeral Costs General Price List on our home page for more details.
Today, however, most cremation families choose from a variety of opportunities that provide for meaningful services for the benefit of family and friends – both before and after cremation takes place. Among those options are: A gathering of family and friends with the body present followed by a funeral before going to the crematory, a gathering of family and friends without the body present followed by a funeral, or a Memorial Service of remembrance at the funeral home or place of worship.
The California State Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for the licensing and regulation of all funeral-directing activities in the state. The Federal Trade Commission also regulates funeral services. When areas of misunderstanding occur, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the consumer may wish to contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, 1625 N. Market Blvd., Ste. S-208, Sacramento, CA 95834. To contact call 916-574-7870.
Pre-arranging a funeral is one of the more thoughtful decisions an individual can make for his or her survivors. It ensures that your funeral preferences and desires will be respected upon your death.
To make informed choices, you should know what you want; how much you can afford to pay; what guarantees are provided on merchandise and services; what happens if you move and want to change funeral homes; the tax consequence of the funding arrangements, if any; and if you are protected against inflation. Your selections and preferences will determine the cost. You may elect to pre-fund the cost through insurance or a special funeral trust. Most funeral directors offer inflation-proof funding vehicles that allow you to arrange exactly the kind of service you desire, at today‘s prices, and be assured of adequate funds at the time of need.
For additional information visit our Pre Arrangement Section.
Should I choose a family funeral home or chain operation? Over the past several years, large multi-national organizations have been purchasing funeral homes at an alarming rate. Recent media reports such as 60 Minutes, Time, and US News and World Report conclude that these death care business operations, while trying to maintain the facade of a family operation, quickly increase prices considerably and enforce merchandising policies on employees geared to significantly increase their bottom lines. Family funeral directors are free to carry out policies that are flexible and meet the various needs of their local communities.
Funeral costs are determined by the services and merchandise requested by the consumer. Costs may range from below $2,900 for immediate disposition services to several thousand dollars depending on the type of services and merchandise selected.
Traditional Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items. The typical traditional service cost at Jay Chapel, Inc. including, staff and facility fees for visitation and the funeral service, automotive equipment, and a casket is between $5,300 and $7,500.
When compared to other major life-cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but, because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized.
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.). These expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of funeral directors and staff in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details.
There is no California State law that requires the use of a burial vault. However, most cemeteries require the casket to be placed in a protective outer container suitable to keep the ground above it from sinking. Years ago graves were dug by hand. Today heavy earth moving equipment is used. That equipment may travel on top of many graves to reach the specific location. Vaults and Concrete grave liners provide adequate strength to keep the earth from sinking. Earth burial is often selected by those who choose the cremation process. As is the case with a casket, the urn or urn vault is buried on the family gravesite or in a special urn memorial garden.
In California, except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement which does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial. Embalming sanitizes and provides temporary preservation of the body, decelerates the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most meaningful to them.
Consumer InformationConsumer Information regarding Coroner Investigations
In the State of California, a Coroner investigation is required following the death of a person for the reasons listed below according to the Health and Safety Code Section 102850:
- Without medical attendance
- During continued absence of the attending physician and surgeon.
- Where the attending physician or the physician assistant is unable to state the cause of death.
- Where suicide is suspected.
- Following an injury or an accident.
- Under circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused by the criminal act of another.
Most counties in the State of California maintain a Coroner facility that provides a place to have the deceased held during the investigation. This is commonly called the Central Morgue or Coroner Office. A few counties that do not have a central morgue or coroner office have a contract for the use of other facilities. Under those contract terms, some funeral homes have provided limited use for those investigations. Once the investigation has been completed, the decedent will be released to the funeral home of the families’ choice.
For counties that have a Central Morgue, the investigation is usually completed within a few days and release can be made to the funeral home of the families’ choice. A coroner release is required to be signed by the responsible family member. Many counties have a fee of $100.00 for the removal and holding of the deceased that is charged to the family.
For those counties that have a contract with a funeral home for Central Morgue services, the investigation should take the same amount of time as regular counties. A coroner release is required to be signed by the responsible family member and there may be a $100.00 removal and holding charge billed to the family. The county Coroner Office and their contracting agent (funeral home) will respect the wishes of the family at this most difficult time and will cooperate by releasing their deceased family member to the funeral home of the families’ choice.
Department of Consumer Affairs
1625 N. Market Blvd., Ste. S-208
Sacramento, CA 95834