Are There Any Additional Costs For Cremation, Even If You Prearrange?

Understanding what your prearranged cremation includes is a crucial step to ensuring your and your family’s peace of mind after your passing.

Cremation can save hundreds to even thousands of dollars when compared to a standard funeral. Prearranging your cremation with the Neptune Society saves even more, as cremation prices are subject to inflation. Prearranging your cremation services locks in the plan you want at today’s price, without costly surprises for your family.

But what about fees that cannot be pre-planned?

According to Laura Anderson, of Neptune Society’s Minneapolis office, “If you prearrange, the only additional costs are usually the government fees that are applicable at the time of death.  Each state and each county across the country has a different cost.”

Costs for cremation can differ depending on where you live, whether you have pre-planned your cremation, and the type of cremation services you choose. Ask your Neptune Society Funeral director for more details about your specific services and any costs that are or are not included.

Cremation costs that can usually be prearranged include:

Cremation Cost

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a cremation in 2013 averaged between $2,260 for a “direct cremation (no services) including crematory fee and alternative container,” to $3,250 for a cremation with memorial service, but no viewing.

This is less than half the average cost of a traditional funeral, says Barbara Kemmis, executive director of the Cremation Association of North America. Prearranging allows you to lock in the cremation services you want at today’s costs, keeping these costs to a minimum.

Cremation Urn

Urn costs can vary from a simple scattering urn made of biodegradable materials for as little as $100 to $200, to keepsake urns in the $300 to $400 range, up to more than $1,000 for an urn made of fine or precious materials. Again, prearranging offers a way to minimize the cost of your cremation urn and select the urn you want.


Memorials can be simple or elaborate. An engraved memorial plaque might cost as little as $100; a memorial statue or bench might exceed the $2,000 to $3,000 range. Choosing a prearranged cremation can help minimize this cost as well.

Costs that cannot be prearranged are usually minimal, consisting of government fees such as death certificates and cremation authorization. Cremation must be authorized by the county medical examiner because it is a final form of disposition; if investigation into cause of death is necessary, a cremation may not be authorized.

On average, death certificates will typically cost less than $25, while the cremation authorization from the County Medical Examiner varies from county to county around the country.

According to Anderson, in her home state of Minnesota, the cost of a death certificate is $13 for the first copy and $6 for each copy after that on the same order. Medical Examiners in most Minnesota counties typically charge between $25 and $50, depending on the county. However in some states like Wisconsin, the cost of the Medical Examiner Authorization can be as high as $300.

Anderson continued, “Unfortunately, we cannot include government fees in cremation pre-planning, since they are fees we do not control.”

Prearranging your cremation grants your family time to remember and celebrate your life rather than face confusing choices and high costs. It also puts you in the driver’s seat; able to decide how you will be remembered, and to minimize costs and unpleasant surprises for your family.

For more information on the affordability of cremation prearrangement, please contact the Neptune Society here.

Special thanks to Laura Anderson, location manager of Neptune Society Minneapolis for her support and contributions to this post.


The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.