With over 1300 cremation providers in the state of Florida, the task of planning a cremation here may be overwhelming.
If you’ve just lost a loved one, you may quickly become stressed by such a large and difficult array to choose from.
That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding about your priorities ahead of time.
What is your budget? What are your wishes for a funeral or memorial service? Asking yourself these questions can help you narrow down the choices to find the cremation provider who is best for you.
Paying for your funeral ahead of time gives you more control while easing the burden on your loved ones.
It also helps keep some of the costs in check.
You may choose to have a traditional funeral with a viewing before cremation.
You can also opt for a more casual memorial service after cremation has taken place. You can even choose a direct cremation, which dispenses with any funeral at all by simply returning your ashes to your family afterwards.
If budget is a major concern for you, direct cremation may be the way to go.
It is the most basic plan you can purchase, and the least expensive.
You are paying for cremation only. There is no funeral, viewing or memorial service included in the package.
The funeral home simply transports your loved one’s remains to the crematorium. After cremation, you can either collect the ashes or have them sent somewhere.
Average Cremation Costs
Though still an economical choice, cremation in Florida is expensive compared with the costs in other states.
Due to its high population and disproportionate number of retirees, Florida sees a bigger demand for these services than other places.
The cost of cremation here averages between $500 and $3500. This cost varies depending on what services you choose.
Florida licenses direct disposers, which means there are many providers who specialize in low-cost cremation.
Funeral Providers in Florida
What’s the bright side of having so many providers to choose from?
It means you can choose almost any kind of service you want!
You also have the freedom to choose the provider who best fits your budget.
With so many possibilities, you can customize your plan perfectly to your needs.
Of course, a lot depends on your location too, as different cities have different resources available to them.
Choosing a provider
Start by making a list of what your needs are.
Do you want cremation or burial? A traditional funeral service or more of a lighthearted celebration of life? Where would you like your service to be held? Now is also the time to decide if you want your service to take place in a specific location or in a specific venue.
Clarifying these wants and needs ahead of time allows you to find providers that can meet your needs most affordably.
Of course, budget is another important consideration to keep in mind in your planning.
Once you’ve made a list of your wants and needs, you’re ready to begin reviewing individual cremation providers.
Still, with so many available, you may need to seek out references and recommendations to know which can give you the best bang for your buck.
Here is our list of recommendations, broken down by city.
Jacksonville: Just Cremation Florida
This company stands out for their commitment to high-quality, affordable cremation plans.
Convenience is another major selling point. These are one of the few companies that allow you to order your entire cremation plan online from the comfort and privacy of your home.
Once you have selected and ordered your plan, the company will contact you to finalize the arrangements and ensure that you are placed in their database.
They offer three tiers of service: Direct Cremation ($699), Viewing and Cremation ($2050) and Viewing, Funeral and Cremation ($2999).
Within these tiers, you can customize your arrangements to meet your needs.
Rental caskets can be ordered separately, and they start at $695.
A digital “Book of Memories” comes standard with each package. It gives friends and families a place to record their condolences, leave donations, post photos or send flowers.
Miami: DFS Memorials
This company also appears to be committed to saving their customers money while still providing quality services.
They advertise direct cremation for $696. After the cremation, your loved one’s remains are returned to you in a simple plastic container.
Cremation is an especially economical alternative to burial in Miami Beach, where the average price for a traditional funeral and burial is around $7227.
Besides direct cremation, DFS Memorials also offers several other options. You can choose cremation with a full-service funeral before cremation takes place.
You may also opt for a memorial service after the cremation, or a cremation with a viewing beforehand.
In Miami, the cost of a cremation memorial averages out to about $4022. However, DFS Memorials provides some affordable alternatives to this cost.
Tampa: Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay
Respectful and attentive customer service are among the hallmarks of this family business.
They are experienced in providing emotional support to customers as they navigate the tough choices around funeral and cremation services. Staff is available to take calls and messages 24/7.
This company offers a number of opportunities to personalize your cremation plan.
Options include direct cremation ($795), cremation with a memorial service ($1795) and cremation with a viewing ($2795).
Individual services can be purchased separately. Funeral and cremation merchandise, such as urns and prayer cards, can also be ordered. They will even scatter cremains on the Gulf of Mexico for $125 by request.
Reviewers give high praise for Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay, citing compassion, respect and 24/7 availability as the highlights of their experience.
Orlando: Baldwin Brothers Cremation Society
Baldwin Brothers has organized a number of different packages, which can simplify this process.
There are a variety of unusual and appealing plans such as a catered family gathering, anatomical body donation and the opportunity to witness the cremation.
These are offered alongside more traditional options like a funeral service, a celebration of life, a viewing in a rental casket or direct cremation.
Baldwin Brothers sells a variety of urns (starting at $125) and cremation jewelry (starting at $65) directly from their website. Flowers can be ordered and sent from their website, too.
The company allows you to arrange your cremation plan online at your convenience. However, they are available by phone or in person to meet with you if you need their help. Their Licensed Planning Counselors can be contacted 24/7.
The cost of a cemetery plot in Florida averages between $600 and $3000. A burial vault is not required by Florida law. However, the cemetery may insist on one; so this is an added expense that you should plan on.
The cemetery may try to sell you a vault or grave liner, but don’t feel pressured to purchase these.
It’s a good idea to shop around for the most affordable options.
Always research regulations at a cemetery before making arrangements with them.
Florida has no laws banning the storage or scattering of ashes. In addition, we know that cremation ashes are safe, posing no threat to the environment.
Still, it’s a good idea to use discretion and avoid scattering them in a location that will be too obvious to the public.
There are several locations that you might consider.
On private land, either your own or someone else’s, with permission
At sea. Keep in mind that ashes must be scattered at least three nautical miles from shore, per Florida state law. Unless you have a biodegradable container, that must be disposed of separately. Remember to contact the EPA within 30 days of scattering ashes at sea.
In a scattering garden. Check with your local cemetery to see if they have one.
On federal land. This is allowed as long as you request permission, and avoid trails and waterways.
On public land. Check local zoning rules first.
Scattering At Sea Providers in Florida
Florida has plenty of stunning natural waterways and oceanfront, making it a wonderful place for a scattering ceremony.
There are a number of scattering at sea providers to meet this popular need.
Here are our recommendations.
Is it illegal to spread ashes in Florida?
The short answer is no.
You are allowed to scatter ashes in Florida as long as proper precautions are taken.
Here are some state regulations you need to keep in mind.
You must turn the boat into the wind while scattering, and scatter from the back of the boat.
Get as close as you can to the surface of the water when scattering.
With available technology and to the best of your ability, try to record the exact coordinates for the location of the scattering.
Consider a biodegradable urn to make the process easier.
Carefully observe all the rules of boating safety.
Travel at least three miles off the coast for the scattering.
Bring some flowers with you to mark the site.
Report details of the scattering to the EPA Regional Office.
Florida Ashes At Sea
This charter company gives an added luster of professionalism and dignity to your scattering ceremony.
A Coast Guard captain takes you out to sea in a Coast Guard approved vessel.
An attended ceremony costs $900. There are purchase add-ons to request additional time or an additional scattering.
Around the World and Back Again
This company offers the unique service of sending cremation ashes directly into the ocean currents and indirectly, around the world.
The ceremony takes place on a 31-foot yacht, furnished with a galley and restroom.
They sail out of ports in Saint Petersburg, Destin and the Florida Keys.
There is a certain amount of paperwork that goes into performing a cremation in Florida.
First, the legal next-of-kin must sign off on a Crematory Authorization Form. Once this is done, the coroner must issue a cremation permit.
There is a minimum wait of 48 hours after death before a cremation can be performed. In general, all the paperwork takes about three days.
Obtaining a death certificate
Most funeral homes will procure the death certificate for you. However, you can request the death certificate, or additional copies of it, by contacting your county’s division of the Department of Vital Statistics.
A certified copy costs $5.00. You must pay $4.00 for each additional copy.
Who can order one?
Anyone can obtain a certified copy of the death certificate without the cause of death listed.
However, only an immediate family member or a representative can get a copy that lists the cause of death. By law, this is confidential. You will need an ID to obtain it.
Will the state of Florida pay for cremation?
Assistance for burial/cremation costs is not available at the state level in Florida. However, there is local aid available through your county or municipality for those who meet certain indicators of poverty.
To begin the process of applying, call Florida’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Is embalming required in Florida?
Embalming is the common practice of draining blood from the body and replacing it with fluids to preserve the body from decay. It is often used when there is a viewing or visitation. However, it is not a necessity or a requirement. Refrigeration can work just as well.
Is a casket necessary?
A casket is a major expense and is not needed for cremation.
Your funeral home should give you the option of using an alternative container.
These containers are made of wood, cardboard or fiberboard. They are significantly less expensive than a casket.
Where can bodies be buried in Florida?
The obvious answer is a cemetery. However, there are no laws against burying bodies on private land in Florida.
Families may establish their own cemeteries as long as these are less than two acres, and they are not selling burial plots there.
Make sure to check your local zoning ordinances.
How do I report funeral director misconduct?
Fortunately, the funeral industry in Florida is very tightly regulated, and misconduct is rare.
However, if there is a need to make a complaint, you can do so by writing to the Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services, in Tallahassee.