Cremation Funeral Planning Guide Texas: Everything You Need To Know
With so many cremation and funeral options in the great state of Texas, you might be a little confused about what to choose.
In this Texas funeral planning guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know before making plans.
We’ll discuss cremation & funeral costs, options available, laws, and also recommend the best providers.
As the second most populous state in the country, Texas has a large number of funeral homes and cremation providers.
And as it’s also the second-largest state geographically, not all of these may be convenient to where you live.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you determine which cremation provider will best suit your needs.
The Cremation Process
It’s not something people like to talk about, or even think about.
However, it can be comforting to understand all the steps of the cremation process.
After death, the body is taken directly to a funeral home or crematorium, based on arrangements that have been made.
Next, the necessary paperwork must be completed and filed before cremation can occur.
First, anything that cannot be cremated (i.e., jewelry etc.) is removed.
Pacemakers and therapeutic implants must also be removed, for safety reasons.
Next the body is placed in an alternative casket made of wood, heavy cardboard or fibreboard.
Another alternative to this might be placing the body in a shroud.
As soon as any necessary paperwork is completed, this process can begin.
First, the remains are placed in a cremation chamber and subjected to high heat, causing all organic matter to vaporize and bones to be incinerated.
Next, these “cremains” are ground up in a cremulator and returned to the family.
Check out our guide to the cremation process if you’d like to know more.
Direct cremation is the simplest and most cost-effective end-of-life option.
It allows you to dispense with funeral, burial and viewings.
It is no-frills cremation without any extras.
In Houston TX, you can contract with a provider for direct cremation for as little as $640.
This cost covers transportation of the body, preparation and the cremation itself.
One way to save money is by contracting directly with the crematorium.
Here are some of our picks for the best crematoriums in Texas.
Southeast Texas Crematory
Based out of Texas, the Southeast Texas Crematory often works directly with funeral homes to provide the best experience for their clients.
The 5200-square-foot facility was constructed in response to the rapidly increasing number of cremations requested.
Northeast Texas Crematory
This facility in Rockwall, TX has a picturesque, lakeside setting.
It’s conveniently located near Rest Haven Funeral Home and Memorial Park.
Like its companion in the Southeast, the Northeast Texas Crematory is a family-owned business that works directly with funeral homes.
Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory
One of the most affordable crematoriums on our list, Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory serves the Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth area. Funeral homes contract with them to provide services to clients.
They offer direct cremation on-site, and have years of experience working with people of many different faiths.
Hindu cremation is an area in which they have special expertise, honoring the sacred traditions of this belief system.
Grieving or anticipating a loss can be much easier if you know the costs up front.
These costs will vary depending on your region, your budget and your final wishes.
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for a cremation in Texas.
It’s possible to contract for a direct cremation, which eliminates extra costs associated with a funeral, memorial service or viewing.
The cost of direct cremation varies from one area to another.
In the Houston area, you can have a direct cremation for prices starting as low as $640. This is significantly lower than the nationwide average cost of $2000.
Again, the cost of a funeral varies depending on location.
The national average for the total cost of a funeral is $7755. This cost does not take into account the cost of cemetery fees, which may not be necessary if you are choosing cremation.
The total cost of a traditional funeral in Texas averages out to about $10,000.
A traditional burial comes with many expenses attached to it. A cemetery plot, a burial vault, and a headstone are just a few of the things that can make your bill really add up.
The average cost of a burial combined with a traditional funeral service with a viewing comes to about $15,000.
If you opt for a more casual memorial service, it will cost you about $10,000 on average.
Can you be buried on your own property?
For the most part, Texas law prohibits burial within city limits.
You can get more information by contacting the State Health Department and local zoning authorities.
In such a large state, it can be tough to find just the right cremation provider for your area.
We’ve helped you cut out some research time by presenting you with our recommendations for the best cremation providers in each major Texas city.
Due to the increasing popularity of cremation, the cremation industry in Houston is highly competitive, meaning that there are some great companies to choose from.
This company, based out of Houston, specializes in low-cost direct cremation.
Despite the low cost, they do not skimp on dignity or service.
They have licensed funeral/cremation providers available for free advice 24 hours a day.
They work with local funeral homes and cremation providers to help keep costs low.
The staff at Neptune Society Houston will work with you to come up with a customized memorial and cremation plan that reflects your needs and your budget.
The company has been in business in Houston since 2006, and they have plenty of experience in providing low-cost, high-value cremation services.
Cremation costs vary a great deal from one facility to another in San Antonio.
We think these give you the best value for your money.
This company offers a basic cremation service for just $695.
This service includes transportation of the body, a temporary urn and the filing of necessary paperwork in addition to the cremation process.
For $995, you can purchase the same package but with the add-on of a 30-minute visitation at the crematorium before cremation.
Heart of Texas Cremation and Burial Service
This provider offers a number of helpful features, including a “My Cremation Status” button to allow users to check on progress. They even provide cremation information in Braille for the visually impaired.
An elegant Visitation Suite is available for loved ones to spend time with the deceased before cremation.
They advertise direct cremation at a cost of $595.
Aria Cremation Services
This is a funeral home which owns its own crematorium, thus cutting out the “middleman.”
They also have a number of special discounts and services for veterans.
The funeral home has been in business for the last 38 years, and later merged with the crematorium for more streamlined service.
This company allows you to plan a cremation entirely online from the comfort of your own home.
They include many free add-ons in the cost of a cremation plan including a simple urn and one copy of the death certificate.
Central Texas Cremation
This company provides simple, stream-lined “one cost” service. They also combine their funeral home with their own crematorium, so no third-party company is involved.
Prices start as low as $650 for a direct cremation.
Staff is available 24/7 to assist you in the cremation planning process or to meet an immediate need.
What can you do with your loved one’s cremation ashes?
There are a number of choices.
You can keep them on display in a nice urn. You can bury them. Or you can scatter them in a place that’s meaningful to you.
If you want to scatter ashes in Texas, it just takes a little bit of planning
Where can you scatter ashes?
There are many possibilities for a meaningful ash scattering ceremony.
Oceans, lakes, private homes and scattering gardens are all popular choices.
According to Texas law, ash scattering is permitted in most places.
Here are some things to keep in mind about ash scattering in Texas.
A scattering garden
Many cemeteries provide an established scattering garden that you can use for your loved one’s ashes.
Make inquiries of your local cemetery when you’re making arrangements.
It is completely legal in Texas to scatter ashes on your own property.
You can also scatter ashes on someone else’s property as long as you get their permission first.
Texas law states that the scattering of ashes is permitted over “uninhabited public land.”
In general, it’s a good idea to check local zoning regulations regarding the scattering of ashes on public land.
However, in most cases, it’s just a matter of common sense. Avoid scattering in very obvious places where other visitors might be disturbed. And unless you are using a biodegradable container, be sure to dispose of that separately.
The State of Texas allows the scattering of ashes at sea. However, there are a number of regulations which must be observed.
The Clean Water Act requires that you scatter ashes at least three nautical miles from shore. Ashes cannot be scattered on beaches or in seaside wading pools.
If you are planning to scatter on an inland waterway, you may need to contact the state agency which owns that waterway for a permit.
Any containers must be properly disposed of (unless they are biodegradable) and the EPA must be contacted within 30 days of the scattering.
Texas Cremation Laws
Every state has slightly different laws and regulations around death and cremation.
There is also a process for obtaining and filing necessary paperwork.
Here is an outline of how cremation works in the great state of Texas.
How long does cremation take?
Cremation is far more final than burial; it means that the body cannot be exhumed later if any questions arise.
For that reason, cremation entails a long process to ensure that every t is crossed and every i dotted.
Texas law requires a minimum of 48 hours after death before cremation can take place, unless there’s a court order for early cremation.
In addition, doctors have up to five days to electronically certify the death.
This process can be slowed down even further if there are hold-ups in signing paperwork, such as the documents that must be signed by the deceased’s next of kin.
Getting a death certificate in Texas
Typically, the death certificate will be filed with the authorities by the mortuary or funeral home within ten days of the death. An easy way to get a certified copy is simply to request that they put in an order for you at the time they file it. It’s a good idea to order at least ten.
If you need more, simply contact the Texas Department of State Health Services where you can either download a form or find instructions for ordering online or in person.
Who can order one?
You can order a certified copy of the death certificate in Texas only if you are an immediate family member or if you have documentation (such as an insurance policy) proving you have a direct, tangible interest in the death certificate.
The death certificate must be ordered within 25 days of the death.
Is embalming required in Texas?
Embalming is a costly process which involves draining blood from the body and filling it with fluids that delay decomposition.
If no relative comes forward to claim the body, embalming is required within 24 hours of the death.
Otherwise, the body must be either embalmed, refrigerated or placed in a sealed container.
Is a casket required for burial or cremation?
State law does not require the use of a casket for either burial or cremation.
If you are planning a burial in a cemetery, it’s a good idea to check with them, as some cemeteries do require a casket.
In the case of a cremation, the funeral home or crematorium is required to make you aware of the availability of alternative containers to hold the body before cremation. These are often made of wood or heavy cardboard.