Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 10.06.2022

5 Ways to Get a Free Cremation in California

5 Ways to Get a Free Cremation in California

Reviewed By: William Prout

Cross Checked By: Elizabeth Siegel

4 min read

How does cremation work?

Cremation is an alternative to the more traditional burial. In this process, the body is dissolved either through high temperatures or using alkaline chemicals. It reduces the body to bone fragments, which can be further pulverized into small pieces called “cremains” or “ashes”. It has recently become the most popular means of final disposition in the US because it is cheaper than burial and allows the family to keep the ashes of their loved one.

The average cost of cremation in California.

The median funeral cost in the US is upwards of $7,500 and burials cost even higher than that. The average funeral cost in California is an astonishingly high $11,777, whereas cremation costs are in the range of $1,300 to $2,300. Burials are typically more expensive than cremations because they require a piece of land, the price of which depends on the location. Since real estate is extremely expensive in California, it also raises the cost of burials. The other costs that make up the total cremation cost include the following:

  1. Cremation Service ($350)
  2. A rental casket ($995), is especially important for those who wish to have a viewing before the cremation.
  3. Cremation Casket ($1200), which is usually made of wood or fabric or any other flammable material.
  4. Urn ($295), is required to hold the deceased person’s ashes.

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    5 places where you can get free cremation in California.

    Losing a loved one is one of the most emotionally stressful experiences in life. Fortunately, it need not be financially stressful as well. Below is a list of the top 5 free cremation programs in California, that you may consider:

    1. Omega Society Free Cremation Program: 

    Omega Society is a company that collaborates with Science Care for whole-body donations for educational and medical research, and in return, they cover the entire cost of cremation, which can help you save $600 or more. They provide counseling services as well for you and your loved ones, to help you through the donation process. You can pre-register to avail of their services which requires the filling of a few forms and then call them when your loved one passes away

    2. Medical schools: 

    You cannot register as a donor with a medical school on behalf of someone else. The person willing to be a donor must give their fully informed consent in a stable frame of mind. Medical schools utilize bodies as cadavers to impart surgical education to students. Your loved one can also donate specific parts of their body such as their cornea, which can be transplanted to save some other person’s eyes. Hence, your loved one can have a lasting and meaningful legacy, while getting a free cremation as well.

    3. Organ Donation Programs:

    The signing-up process for organ donation programs is similar to medical schools. The donor must give their consent to a full body donation to science while they are alive and well. However, certain restrictions can disqualify a person even after their death. For example, if the person died from HIV or TB or any other infectious disease, then they are considered ineligible to donate their organs.

    4. Anatomical donation services:

    These are private companies like MedCure or Anatomy Gifts Registry, which also require pre-death registration. They offer free cremation services in exchange for whole-body donations.

    5.Veteran reimbursements:

    Veterans are eligible for several death benefits if they die while on active duty or from sustained injuries after being honorably discharged. The veteran administration also covers the transportation cost of the deceased’s body. If a veteran dies after their military service, then their family is eligible for reimbursements under the veteran administration. The reimbursement is usually in the range of $300 to $2000, which can cover the total cost of cremation.

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    Tips to save money on cremation in California.

    In case the options mentioned above do not suit you, you may consider the following tips to save money on cremation in California:

    1. Set up a fundraiser on websites like GoFundMe or Elegy, to help cover the cost of cremation with the assistance of well-wishers.
    2. Check if you qualify for government assistance for funeral services.
    3. Choose an inexpensive location for memorial services such as your backyard or a public park.