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Going Green in Death

Today there are many options for people to choose as to how their loved ones should handle the disposition of their remains. Cremation is on the rise. In 1999 only 25% of Americans were cremated. In 2009, the percentage rose to 37%. It is estimated that by 2025, 60% of Americans will choose cremation. One of the reasons is of course, cost. The average cost of cremation with a basic urn and a few extras is about $1500 as compared to $7775, the average cost of a traditional funeral without a headstone or extras such as flowers. The other reason is the mind set of this generation. Many people feel that after they have passed away, what happens to their body is not an important issue. They may state a preference for burial or cremation but leave the details to their family.

Many people who do not want cremation but still want a “green” choice, opt for a green or natural burial which usually means no embalming, biodegradable caskets, and burial in a natural setting with no headstones.

The latest of green options in the funeral industry is called bio-cremation. Rather than the usual cremation which adds to the pollution in the environment, bio-cremation involves dissolving the decedent in a heated chemical solution that leaves less of a carbon footprint and is an accelerated version of the natural decomposition that the body undergoes when buried. The first bio-cremation is supposed to take place before the end of the year in Florida. Florida leads the United States in cremations, where an estimated 50% of the deaths result in cremation. Other states that are permitting the process are Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and Minnesota.

At Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, we can state your preferences for burial or cremation in your Advance Health Care Directive. The Advance Health Care Directive is part of a revocable living trust package which we offer which includes a trust, pour over wills, durable power of attorney for finances, and other estate planning documents.

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