By Last Updated: March 29th, 2022

A Guide to Cremation Costs in California

The cremation costs in California are typically lower than the national average, and much lower compared to a traditional funeral. While families and friends work through the grief after a loved one passes away, another burden that’s rarely discussed is the financial deficit that funerals can put families in. The last thing your loved one would want you to do is go into personal bankruptcy because of their death.

One way to defray the cost of a funeral is to consider cremation. In the state of California, the average cost of cremation is between $1,300 and $2,300. For comparison, the average cost of a traditional funeral in the Golden State in 2021 was upwards of $11,777, according to this source.

Naturally, the more cost-effective option is cremation in California. Whichever cremation provider you decide to go with, it’s important to know the costs and prices associated with the service, in addition to associated expenses that might come up. This guide offers you a look at everything you need to know when it comes to the costs associated with cremation in California.

infographic of funeral costs vs cremation costs in california in 2021: $11,777 vs $1,800
Funeral Costs vs Cremation Costs in California, 2021 data

California Cremation Costs

The first thing you need to know is that every cremation service is different and will offer unique services with varying costs. One form of cremation that will be more expensive than others is traditional cremation.

“The average cremation cost in California is between $1,300 and $2,300. The average cost of a traditional funeral in the Golden State can range from anywhere between $8,000 to more than $13,000.”

Traditional cremation will often include a viewing or memorial of the deceased before the cremation process. An alternative to traditional cremation is direct cremation, which is more cost-effective because there is no memorial service or viewing; the body is directly sent to the crematorium.

The same thing goes for traditional burial versus direct burial: It’s the ceremony or viewing where the expenses accumulate.

Here’s a breakdown of what the average prices are for these services in California:

Traditional Cremation – $2,300
Direct Cremation – $1,300
Traditional Burial – $4,255
Direct Burial – $1,700

Direct Cremation is clearly the most affordable option, but there are some other things you should budget for even when planning on going the direct cremation route in California.

Coroner Fees by County

Sometimes after a loved one passes away, you may need to pay a coroner fee. This type of fee varies by county, and it might even include transportation in order for the body to be examined. Certain places like Los Angeles County actually have placed a limit on how much a coroner can charge; in Los Angeles County, it’s $400. Typically, cremation providers like Opal Cremation will incorporate this fee to the total service cost.

Securing a Death Certificate

In the state of California, if you would like to get a certified copy of a death certificate, it typically costs $21. Occasionally there might be additional fees on top of this according to payment method (for example, if you pay with a credit card, there might be a processing fee). Cremation providers like Opal Cremation can assist in securing death certificates.

Permits to Scatter

If you want to scatter a loved one’s ashes at a park or a particular location, there might be a permit cost associated with it in order to obtain approval to do so. Some cremation services include these permit prices in their funeral packages. To give you an idea of what this might cost, a burial permit in California is $12.

There might also be a fee to scatter ashes in water. If this is something that would be meaningful to the deceased, note that you’ll also have to factor in expenses to charter a boat to do so (price ranges between $300 and $400).

view of los angeles sky from below tall palm trees

Interring Ashes in a Cemetery

If you would like to inter a loved one’s ashes in a cemetery or columbarium, then you’ll need to incorporate this cost in your planning budget. On average, the cost to bury ashes in California is $1,000. Some cemeteries may also charge you an upkeep fee.

Choosing the Right Cremation Provider – Opal Offers Low-Cost Cremation Services

Ultimately, choosing the right cremation provider will affect how much you end up spending on these funeral expenses. Remember to consider affordability, how transparent the cremation provider is about the process/fees, reviews (if they are available), and whether you’re receiving personalized service that justifies the price. Also, one of the most important qualities to look for is compassion.

Do you have more questions about the cremation process and how everything works when it comes to making arrangements? Opal Cremation would be happy to walk you through the process step by step, including what’s expected and how to go about starting to make plans. Compassionate professionals are eagerly awaiting your call and will provide you with all of the information you need about Opal Cremation services.

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