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Cremation in Jacksonville Florida

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
March 25th 2024 - 12 minute read
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Families planning a cremation in Jacksonville, Florida sometimes have questions. This guide explains the process, cremation cost and more.

Florida has one of the highest cremation rates in the U.S., making up 67.8 percent of arrangements in 2020 (source). However, some people aren't familiar with arranging cremation funerals and frequently have questions about the end-of-life process. In this article, we answer some of the most common questions about cremation in Jacksonville, Florida.

We cover the following cremation questions as it relates to the Jacksonville area:

What is the cremation process in Jacksonville?

Discussed below are typical steps for a cremation funeral in Jacksonville. The information will be useful to anyone across Florida.

Reporting the death

All deaths occurring in Florida must be reported to the appropriate personnel. This varies depending on the circumstances of the death.

If the death is sudden or unexpected, emergency services should be contacted first by calling 9-1-1. If a death occurs under supervised care (e.g., hospital), the staff will report the death. Emergency services do not need to be contacted if a death is expected, however they can provide guidance if you are unsure who to call.

An expected death typically means that a post-death plan is in place. These plans outline roles, responsibilities, and activities involved in an expected death (e.g., home hospice care). A funeral provider or physician is usually called first with a post-death plan. As such, emergency services do not need to be contacted unless the death is suspicious or the death is expected, but there is no post-death plan.

Cremation documentation in Jacksonville

Funeral documentation in Florida is typically submitted by a licensed funeral home. However, it is legal to complete paperwork independently. Local authorities can be contacted for assistance in this process.

Cremation paperwork can vary slightly between cities but often includes the following documents:

  • Death certificate: Official statement of death that an attending physician or medical examiner must sign before cremation or burial can occur.
  • Vital Statistics Form: Contains identifying information about the deceased person needed to complete other documentation.
  • Cremation authorization form: Provides legal consent from the deceased person's family to allow the funeral providers to handle cremation services.
  • Release form: Authorizes the funeral home to transport the deceased person's body.

Body identification

Funeral providers follow specific procedures to ensure bodies and ashes are not mixed up while under their care. Standard identification methods include:

  • Discs. This is a coin-shaped disc containing identifying information (e.g., name) about the deceased person that remains with them throughout the process. It is checked repeatedly by funeral and crematorium staff. The disc is made from stainless steel, which is not destroyed during cremation, and is often placed with the cremated remains in the urn afterward.
  • Tags. Tags contain information about the deceased person and are placed on the body. Funeral staff check tags continuously throughout the process. The tags are kept on the body during cremation, but are destroyed during the process.

Cremation process

Regulations in Florida require a 48-hour waiting period after death before cremation can occur. Thereafter, the deceased person's body is prepared for cremation.

Medical implants (e.g., pacemakers) that pose a risk to crematorium staff must be removed. Personal items like jewelry are also often removed and returned to the family. Non-hazardous materials, such as artificial joints, remain in the body during cremation and are later removed and recycled.

Next, the body is placed in a cremation container (or casket) and loaded into the retort (cremation chamber). In the retort, the body is exposed to flames and extreme heat (1400 to 1800 F /760 to 980 Celsius). This process reduces organic matter, leaving behind bone fragments and non-combustible materials (e.g., metal dental fillings). Metals are removed and recycled after a cooling period. Finally, the bones are pulverized to a coarse, grey or brown powder, known as cremated remains or ashes.

How much does cremation cost in Jacksonville?

Funeral costs in the United States can vary dramatically depending on services, location, demand, etc. However, cremation funerals tend to be cheaper than burials.

A study by the National Funeral Directors Association put the median cost for a burial with a viewing at about $7,848. By contrast, the median price for a cremation with a viewing was around $6,971 (source). Funeral fees in the U.S. range from $600 to over 10,000, but cremations tend to fall under $7,000.  

Florida's large population and high demand for cremation enable funeral providers to offer competitive pricing for arrangement packages. Therefore, cremation fees in Jacksonville and across the state are often more affordable, costing between $1,000 and $3,500+. Simpler arrangement options (e.g., direct cremation) often fall on the lower end of this range (under $2,000).

There is also a price difference between cremation and aquamation, a water-based form of final disposition (discussed below). Direct cremation typically ranges from $600 to over $2,000, and direct aquamation costs between $1,000 and $3,000+ on average.

Fees and services in cremation arrangement packages include:

  • Documentation ($100 to $300+)
  • Transportation ($100+)
  • Storage (starting around $20 to $50 per day)
  • Embalming ($600 to $800+)
  • Body preparation ($50 to $300+)
  • Cremation cost (starting around $300)
  • Professional services and staff fees ($200 to $1,000+)
  • Ceremony/celebrations ($0 to $3,000+)
  • Urn purchase ($10 to $2,000+)
  • Interment in the ground or columbarium ($200 to $3,000+)

To see a detailed analysis of cremation cost in Jacksonville, click here.

Is embalming required in Jacksonville?

Embalming is a process that chemically preserves a body, slowing down physiological changes that occur after death. This is typically done in preparation for visitation, viewing, or wake.

Embalming is not mandatory in Florida or any other U.S. state. However, Florida regulations require that a body be refrigerated or embalmed within 24 hours after death. Embalming may also be recommended for certain circumstances, such as international or state-wide transportation. Learn more.

What cremation funeral options are available in Jacksonville?

There are many cremation funeral options and providers in Jacksonville. For example, a cremation funeral can include traditional services, such as a viewing, visitation, mass, etc. By contrast, most of these services are avoided during direct cremation, offering an affordable alternative. Others may want to add an eco-friendly element to their cremation with a green burial urn.

Overall, cremations tend to offer greater flexibility when compared to burials, allowing for easy and often lower-cost funeral plans. (Learn more about why to choose cremation here).

To explore cremation options with Eirene Cremations, click here.

Aquamation is a water-based form of disposition. It uses the chemical process of alkaline hydrolysis to reduce organic matter to ashes (or hydrolyzed remains). This is the same process that occurs when a body is buried in the ground but at an accelerated rate.

The process is legal and available in the state of Florida. Learn more about the legality of aquamation in this article: Where in the United States is Aquamation Legal or Allowed?

During aquamation, the body is treated with water, alkali (potassium hydroxide), heat, and pressure. It produces a reaction that speeds up the body's decomposition, reducing compounds in the body to basic organic components (i.e., fats get reduced to salts).

The process results in two by-products: bone fragments and a sterile liquid. The bone fragments are processed to a powder (ashes) and the liquid is disposed of as wastewater.

Body preparation for aquamation is often simpler than cremation. For example, medical implants are not destroyed, so they do not need to be removed unless legally required. However, cloth materials do not break down during aquamation. Therefore, clothing must be removed unless it is protein-based (e.g., silk).

Aquamation also has a different environmental impact. Unlike cremation, the process has no direct emissions of harmful greenhouse gasses and does not require the burning of fossil fuels.

Learn more about aquamation.

What is direct cremation, and is it available in Jacksonville?

Direct cremation forgoes traditional services like viewing, wake, procession, etc. Instead, the deceased person is cremated shortly after death, and the ashes are promptly returned to their loved ones. This makes it more affordable because it eliminates fees that may be required or recommended with full-service burial or cremation (e.g., embalming, casket purchase, etc.).

Do Jacksonville residents prefer cremation or burial?

Cremation is becoming increasingly popular across the country. National cremation rates have risen by over 30 per cent from 2000 to 2021 and are projected to reach 64.1 per cent by 2025 (source).

Florida has followed this trend, producing one of the highest cremation growth rates from 2015 to 2019. State cremation rates are also expected to increase from 67.8 per cent in 2020 to 77.2 per cent in 2030 (source).

Where can I buy a cremation urn in Jacksonville?

Cremation urns are sold online, through retailers or wholesalers, from funeral providers, etc. There are many options, with minimal restrictions on the type of urn that can be used for cremated remains.

A wide selection of urns to suit various needs and budgets can be found on the Eirene Urn Store: https://store.eirene.ca/. Shipping is available to the U.S.

Who regulates cremation in Jacksonville?

Cremation in Florida is regulated by the Division and the Board of the Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services in the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Division and the Board oversee the death care industry in Jacksonville and across the state.

The roles of the Division and the Board are described in Chapter 497  of the Florida Statutes. In addition, chapter 69K of the Florida Administrative Code also provides information about the death care industry. (Learn more).

Can I witness a cremation in Jacksonville?

Witnessing involves viewing a deceased loved one before cremation and/or watching the start of the cremation process. This allows families to say final goodbyes to their loved ones in a private setting.

Witnessing services are offered by many providers across the state, including Jacksonville, but are at the discretion of a funeral provider.

Is financial assistance available for end-of-life arrangements in Jacksonville?

Many Jacksonville residents are eligible for federal and state financial funeral assistance programs. See some of the most common resources for this purpose listed below. Each program link below will take you to a more detailed website so you can determine your (or your family's) eligibility and review steps on the application process.

Jacksonville/Florida assistance programs:

Federal funeral assistance programs:

Need more info?

See our helpful guide on help for low income families with funeral costs in Florida.

What can I do with cremated remains?

Cremated remains are typically kept, buried, scattered, or interred in a columbarium. However, there are many unique and creative options you can choose to honor a loved one. Examples include:

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