How Much Does It Cost To Die (USA)

About how much is the barest of bare-bones (heh) cremations, in the US? I mean, in as little as the funeral home is legally allowed to let you spend? The deceased body is cremated and then given to his next-of-kin in a Folger’s can, if the funeral home can get away with it?

Also, what if the deceased was an asshole and no one gives a damn what happens to his body (let alone wants to pay for its disposal)? Does the county coroner (or whomever) pick a funeral home out of the [metaphorical] phone book and make them cremate the body (and either pay them or tell them to fuck off)?

DISCLAIMERS: I am not currently in either situation (knock on wood), just asking for curiosity.

I paid about $1000 for a cremation for a family member several years ago. This was in Austin, Texas.

Why do you think a private business like a funeral home would have a minimum amount they are “legally allowed to let (you) spend”, or would be “made” to take on work for the local government (and consequently be told to “fuck off” on the bill??)

What about donating your body to medical science? Are there any expenses involved in that?

Google “Disposition of unclaimed body of deceased person”

Looks like in some states at least, they donate the body to science!

Also, here

click on “Assistance for Indigent Funerals” [PDF!] to see how much each state will cover for cremation or burial. I’m assuming that’s the “bare-bones” rate or less. :frowning:

Let me just say that it’s a LOT cheaper if the person is already dead.

There are a number of things a private person can legally do with a dead body, and those would vary according to state law. Without considerable forethought, few people would be in a position to perform most of these procedures, and in nearly every case they are left to a mortician to do, which will be an itemized expense.

For example, a mortician does not need to transport the body, the survivors can do that themselves, but state laws will specify the minimum criteria for a legal container for the body, which you cannot buy at Home Depot. You can’t just throw it in your van in a Hefty bag.

I told my wife to just throw my corpse in a ditch for the coyotes. Probably not the most legal of things to do, however.

I assume even if you’re next of kin you can simply refuse to claim the body if you really hate the person. Then the local government will give them a paupers burial. For example I can’t imagine that the wife of a separated violently abusive husband can be forced to pay the costs for her husbands funeral. However if the deceased has any assets at all they’ll be used to pay the cremation cost before anything is distributed to heirs.

This. If you want to get your hands on any part of the deceased’s estate you’re going to have to deal with funeral arrangements, since funeral costs are a first charge on the estate, and whoever administers the estate has the responsiblity of discharging the funeral costs before paying anything to beneficiaries (including themselves).

They can, of course, refuse to do anything with regard to the funeral and let the local government authorities deal with it (which they eventually will) and present a bill. But it’s going to be quicker and less stressful to organise a minimal funeral than to wait for the gubmin to do it. Any competent undertaker can advise on (and arrange) the cheapest possible way of disposing of a human cadaver lawfully, but it’s likely to be cremation with no funeral or memorial service.

If the deceased leaves no estate, or too little to be worth the bother of collected, then the next of kin can simply abandon the cadaver - simply fail to arrange collection from wherever the death occurred - and the local government will deal with it.

Body Worlds also accepts bodys for Plastination, I assume thats free, but you have to agree to that before you die.

You can also donate bodies to a body farm for forensic research. That might be appropriate for someone you hate, having their body slowly rot away to help forensic science.

Because that’s how things work in reality. There are regulations and price controls, protections. I don’t know about being told to fuck off on the bill, but plenty of “private” businesses work for and get paid by the government. Sometimes it means getting underpaid and sometimes it means overpaid or the government doing favors- maybe seizing some property to give you a free parking lot or giving you an exclusive contract in exchange for cheap volume work, whatever. I’m not sure the current legal status across the US (I know there have been lawsuits), but the casket business (not the same as cremation and funeral, just an example) long had inflated minimum prices and crazy regulations granting monopolies and outlawing competition. Stores everywhere advertise “state minimum prices” on things.

Maybe once but not anymore. Heres a casket for $175: (scroll down to plain)

Funeral directors by law must let you use a casket purchased elsewhere and cannot charge extra for doing this (and you don’t even have to have a funeral director).

In the UK it is quite hard to find the rules and regulations on disposal of bodies. There are a load of myths, like you have to get permission to cross a county boundary (You do to cross into Scotland though). A lot of people believe that you have to use a hearse to transport a body but that’s not so:

There are only a few restrictions on where you can bury a body "- At least 10 metres from any ‘dry’ ditch or field drain - At least 30 metres from any spring or any running or standing water - At least 50 metres from any well, borehole or spring that supplies water for any use" plus some legal paperwork and, of course, permission from the owner of the land.

Many undertakers offer a cheap cardboard coffin (I have seen one which cost under £100 and looked fine) and for a cremation it is surely a total waste of money to buy an expensive wooden one. Crematoria charges are likely to be around £600 for an adult so burial in the back garden is probably the cheapest option, at least it is if you ignore the loss of value on the property.

Except of course for donation to a medical school which is perfectly possible in the UK.

Unless you fill out the paperwork to have your body donated to a forensic school.

You can donate your body, but medical schools are very careful about who (what?) they will accept. No nasty diseases etc. They also like the body to be as fit and complete as possible (apart from being dead).

Got a cite for that? I was under the impression that med schools were quite happy to take bodies in pretty much any state of fitness, so that students could develop a feel for the variety of bodies they would encounter in practice. A gross anatomy class that learned only from cadavers that died at 35 with low cholesterol, normal body mass and zero deformities is going to be less prepared for the real world than a class that has tinkered with a more diverse array of cadavers; the latter will gain hands-on experience with tumors, obesity, cirrhosis, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, and whatever other afflictions they are likely to encounter when they finally do enter practice.

Around these parts, dumping ashes (excuse me, maritime burial) in the ocean is pretty common.