What is an Immediate Burial?
An immediate burial is when the decedent is buried immediately after death, skipping over embalming, viewings, and services that the funeral home would provide. Immediate burials do not mean that no services or ceremonies whatsoever may take place; many people choose to hold a memorial service without the body present after choosing a direct burial or cremation.
What does direct burial mean?
A direct burial is the same thing as an immediate burial. The two terms are used interchangeably.
Why do people choose immediate burial?
Immediate burials are perfect options for those who aren’t interested in holding a viewing and for those who are looking for ways to save money on a funeral. Here are some pros to immediate burials:
- Immediate burials are efficient. Skipping the viewing means less planning, less time, and less money.
- Immediate burials are more affordable. Immediate burials forego the viewing and the embalming fee since the decedent is buried without these services taking place. Since there is no viewing, an elaborate or expensive casket is not necessary and can be replaced by a simpler, less expensive casket.
- Immediate burials are more eco-friendly. Since the body is left to naturally decompose (as opposed to having it embalmed, which uses chemicals to delay the decaying process), immediate burials are less harmful to the environment.
What’s the cheapest way to be buried?
If you’re working with a funeral home, direct burials will always be the least expensive burial option since it skips over many other services.
Some other ways to save money on burial costs include: - Choosing a less expensive casket. - Choosing a burial plot in a public cemetery rather than a private cemetery. - Comparing prices at different funeral homes and cemeteries.
Can I have a viewing and a direct burial?
No, holding a viewing before a burial is no longer considered a direct burial. You'd be responsible for paying for the viewing and the burial, which would increase the price.
Alternatives to direct burial
If you’re looking for more affordable options when it comes to disposition methods (and are open to other methods of disposition), here are some affordable alternatives to a traditional burial, other than immediate burial which was already covered.
Green burials are burials that follow a certain set of criteria that was set by the Green Burial Council. The criteria includes:
- The body has not been embalmed or was embalmed using only fluids that have been approved by the Green Burial Council.
- The body is buried in a container or burial shroud that is made out of biodegradable and natural materials, without a concrete or metal vault.
- The cemetery the body is buried in will restrict the size, type, and visibility of certain memorial markers to maintain the natural view and focus instead on cultivating plants native to the land. Green burial is only available in select cemeteries (around 300 available sites in the U.S and Canada), so you’ll need to find a cemetery near you]() that performs this type of burial. Green burials usually cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000+. These prices can vary depending on location. It’s worth noting that direct burials can be green burials as well, they are not exclusive.
If you’re open to different methods of disposition, one of the least expensive options is a direct cremation. Direct cremations are the cremation-equivalent to a direct burial and usually start out around $695, depending on your location. Direct cremations forego viewings, embalmings, and the price of a casket, so are much more affordable to many families.
While this method of disposition is extremely new (and limited - it’s only available in Washington), it’s one of the cheaper methods of disposition. Human composting will cost around $5,500 and involves placing the decedent in a container that allows the body to naturally decompose at an accelerated rate. The end result is soil that’s returned to the family.
Donate the body to science
Donating a body to science is vital to the progress of science and to the training of future medical professionals. It’s also, typically, completely free for the families. At the end of the process, the organization the body was donated to will usually cremate the body and return it to the family.
Even though some methods of disposition are cheaper than others, the cost of a direct burial, direct cremation, or other method of disposition is typically more than most families are prepared for. Starting a funeral fundraiser can help you collect donations to cover unexpected funeral costs. If you’re in need of assistance, start collecting donations today.