Affordable Options

Not a complete list, but merely some suggestions to check out.

D0-It-Yourself Arrangements. In Vermont, according to a state statute and a 1973 Attorney General’s Opinion, families may care for their own dead including transporting the deceased, burial on private property, or cremation. No funeral home involvement is required in the State of Vermont, nor is embalming required. The Vermont Health Department website provides a wealth of information about required permits and statutory requirements for those who favor a family/community/church do-it-yourself approach.  The Health Department website includes information on advance directives (and the Vermont Advanced Directive Registry), cemetery burials, home burials, funeral services, and cremation and burial at sea. It also provides a link to Digging Deep:  Unearthing the Mysteries of Burial and Cemetery Law which is a great resource for understanding Vermont requirements.

Do-It-Yourself arrangements do require some planning ahead. Planning for earth burial includes designating a site and checking with the Town Clerk whether there are local ordinances or regulations for home burials. A burial-transit permit from the Town Clerk in which the death occurs, is needed to transport the body to the burial site or crematory, but the transport can easily be done by friends and family and will save money.  Depending on local regulations, a body can be buried in a shroud, or simple handmade coffin. For those choosing cremation, a special cardboard container to transport the body may be purchased from the crematory if it receives bodies directly (which many do not).   No permit is required to scatter, or bury, or keep cremated remains.

With some help from family and friends to do the paper work and plan a celebration of life, the process can be quite simple and inexpensive and deeply meaningful. The Vermont Health Department website above is a big help to know just what you need and how to obtain it. Books are available for sale and free pamphlets are available for download on the national Funeral Consumers Alliance website. It always pays to plan ahead!

Whether you’re handling these arrangements yourself or using a funeral home, you may also want to use this free resource for listing an obituary here in Vermont at VermontObits.org.

Body donation to UVM for medical research: Donations to the University of Vermont College of Medicine Anatomical Gifts Program are an integral part of education students and medical professionals. However, donations are accepted only from those who have registered with the program prior to death.  Contact: Lynn Bateman at 802-656-2230 or Lynn.Bateman@uvm.edu to request registration materials as well as assistance to donors and their families in considering this option. The College of Medicine bears the cost of transportation of the body within the State of Vermont to UVM and related fees. The College of Medicine also assumes responsibility for cremation of the remains after the completion of studies. Ashes (cremains) will be returned to family, if desired, or can be interred in the UVM burial plot at no expense to the family.  Each year the a Convocation of Thanks program is held to honor donors to this program.

Other medical schools may have anatomical gifts programs, but it is wise to assure that bodies received through such programs are not used for other than the intended medical research.

Cremation alternatives:

Mount Pleasant Crematorium, P.O. Box 296, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819, or call 802-748-3063 or 1-800-547-7462.  This is the only non-profit crematory in Vermont.  Visitors are welcome with advance appointments. A regulation sheet outlining required paperwork is available upon request to Mount Pleasant Crematory for those wanting to transport their own dead rather than using a funeral home. Current fee as of 10/18/12 is $265 with the family transporting the body, completing all paper work, writing the obituary and picking up ashes; if ashes are mailed to family, the fee is $300. The charge for cardboard container for the body is $60. More information about Mount Pleasant may be found here.

Eternal Blessing Cremation Service, LLC, 286 Tubbs Drive, Guilford, VT 05301 or call toll free: 1-877-747-9443, located near the Massachusetts border, serves all of Vermont with no funeral home involvement necessary. Direct cremation service, including body transport for those within 100 miles, costs $1,395 for southern Vermont as of 10/2013 and $1,495 for northern Vermont with an additional charge per mile beyond 150 miles. They provide all of the required paperwork and will answer questions and send literature when requested. If family decides to transport the body, the fee is only $800. Their website is here.

Stephen C. Gregory and Son Cremation Service802-985-3523, located in South Burlington, provides cremation assistance without the expense of using a funeral home. Father and son are both licensed funeral directors and state that they provide basic services all over Vermont. Their $1600 fee includes transportation, cremation, and necessary permits. Their website is here.

A.W. Rich Funeral Home,  802-878-2220, located in Essex Junction provides direct cremation services all over Vermont for $1,495. This includes transportation, a cardboard container, the crematory charge, a plastic container for the cremains, and all necessary fees and permits. Effective 7/1/2013. Their website is here.

Prices change, so call ahead to confirm current charges.

All information above has been compiled by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of VT.  To get the most up to date information, go to the web sites above where most of the prices are available on line or call the homes directly.  The 2013 Vermont Price Survey is available here on line  or email us at: VT-FCA@myfairpoint.net . More educational information can also be found on our Pamphlets and Publications page and at the National FCA website.

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