What will happen to your body when you die?

Who Cares? I'm dead!

Chances are, your friends and family do, and they'd prefer that you provide simple instructions in the case of your demise.

I don't think this
applies to me...

Take this simple quiz to find out!

Are you going to die? Yes No

Where will you be when that happens?

  • Home
  • Hospital
  • Nursing Home
  • Other
  • Hospice Care

80% of Americans say they prefer to die at home, but many families are not prepared for the difficuly of providing end-of-life care. Only you have the power to control where and how you will end up - and you have to act in advance.

Wait, sorry - are you an American? Yes No

Chances are, you will be embalmed.

It is estimated that

of all Americans are embalmed.


Chances are, you will not be embalmed.

Embalming is only practiced on a large scale in the U.S. and Canada.

Embalming is required by the vast majority of Funeral Directors, regardless of if you want to be cremated.

It is not, however, required by law. If you wish to not be embalmed, you must find a funeral director that will respect your wishes - in advance of your demise.

Have you discussed your interment options with your family or friends?
Yes No

Good for you!

It is estimated that only

of Americans


have an advance directive, living will or declaration of Power of Attorney, and 45% of elderly Americans. Any and all of these can declare your intent for 'Disposition of Remains.'

It is estimated that only

of Americans


have an advance directive, living will or declaration of Power of Attorney. Any of these can be used to declare your intent for 'Disposition of Remains:' cremation, burial, etc.

Without instructions, your death will lead to confusion and stress for your already overwhelmed loved ones.

Factors to consider for interment

What's most important to you?

Financial Burden

The average cost of an American funeral is between $8,000-12,000.

  • A traditional burial requires embalming and body preparation, a casket and vault, and cemetery and transportation fees.
  • While cremation is more affordable than traditional burial, the procedure is rarely witnessesed and does not act to memorialize the dead.
  • Alkaline Hydrolosis, or 'water cremation,' costs $2,000 and up, and is also rarely witnessed.
  • Green burials & home funerals can be affordable because there is no embalming, hardwood casket or vault, but memorialization options could increase the cost.
  • Body donation is free of cost, but does not include a memorialization.
1960 $702
1980 $1,809
2000 $5,180
2020 $8,000

Environmental Impact

Your choice for interment may contribute to some of the following:

  • Air pollution

  • tree

    Loss of Natural Habitat

  • Wasted natural resources

  • Increased Carbon Footprint


Family Involvement

Not all forms of interment have the same emotional impact.

  • Cremations and Alkaline Hydrolysis are rarely witnessed by friends or family.
  • Home burial allows for the most customization of the ceremony.
  • Generally, the more directly involved in the planning and implementation of the interment, the more closure family and friends feel.
  • Not all green burial sites have grave markers.
  • Donation to an academic institution requires that the body be embalmed, and it will not be available for memorialization.

Religious Limitations

Not all religions allow all forms of interment:

  • Islam and Jewish Orthodoxy require a body be buried, and it must happen within 24 hours of death. After being washed and wrapped in a shroud, the body is put directly into the ground with no embalming, casket or vault.
  • A traditional Hindu interment is similar, but ends in cremation.
  • The Catholic church did not recognize cremation as a viable form of interment until 1963.

Geographical Limitations

Not all parts of the U.S. have the same options for interment:

  • There may not be a 'green' cemetery near you. Most traditional cemeteries require embalming, a casket, and a vault.
  • Alkaline Hydrolysis is not legal in all countries. In the U.S., it is only legal in 18 states.
  • The legality of home burial varies by state and municipality, but it's usually harder in metropolitan areas.

What are my options, then?

Let's take a look!