Costs of a memorial tree vs. traditional options

When thinking about end-of-life plans many people wonder, what is the cost of cremation vs. burial? And how much do other options cost? 

These are good questions to ask and can help you set up your plans today, saving your family from burdensome decision making later. 

Here is an overview of end-of-life planning costs. 

What are traditional burial costs? 

Pricing for funerals and memorial services will depend on what part of the country you’re in and what type of casket, plot, and service you want. But in just about all cases, you’re paying for the following: 

  • Casket ($2,300 and up, depending on materials used)
  • Embalming ($500–$800)
  • A burial liner or vault ($1,000 and up)
  • Cemetery plot ($1,000–$5,000 and up)
  • Headstone or marker ($1,500 and up)
  • Funeral service ($7,000 and up)

All of these costs can add up to roughly $15,000 or more. If you haven’t made end-of-life plans by the time you pass, it will be your loved ones who end up paying for your memorial service. They may also have to plan this service, which can be a heavy emotional burden for those who are grieving and possibly already overwhelmed by the financial impact of a traditional funeral.

But there are other options. Societal beliefs around interment are changing, and many people are searching for greener and more meaningful alternatives. One of these alternatives is cremation, followed by spreading ashes at a memorial tree

If you opt to have your ashes spread in a memorial forest, your memorial tree can become a living tribute to your time spent on earth. Having your ashes scattered in a memorial forest can also be a fraction of the cost of a traditional burial. 

The cost of cremation and a tree in a memorial forest

According to the Cremation Institute, the average cost to be cremated is between $3,000–$4,000 — far less than the cost of a traditional burial. When you choose cremation, you're not limited to the confines of a casket; instead, cremation ashes can be stored in an urn, turned into jewelry, or spread at a memorial tree your loved ones can visit for generations to come. 

The beauty and peace of a memorial forest can be immensely comforting. Not only are these memorial spaces places of comfort for your friends and family to pay tribute; they also contribute to conservation and, with every tree planted, help protect the health of our planet.

We know that legacy planning is a big commitment. To help you understand what goes into choosing a memorial forest, we’ve answered some financial questions below: 

How much do I save by choosing a memorial tree with Better Place Forests?

We tailor each of our memorial packages to your unique needs, creating a custom package that meets your end-of-life vision. We have memorial packages available for any budget — often at less than half the cost of a traditional burial. 

When you’re ready to make your end-of-life plans, one of our advisors will work with you to determine location, tree size and type, and how many people and/or pets will share the tree. 

Schedule a free online forest tour to get started. 

What kind of packages does Better Place Forests offer?

We have four customizable packages to help you envision your final resting place. Most memorial trees cover spreading rights for two people. Additional spreading rights can be added to any package for $3,000 per person or $250 per pet

With each of our memorial packages, we plant 25 to 1,600 reforestation saplings in parts of the country affected by deforestation or wildfires. These reforestation saplings are planted in partnership with the non-profit One Tree Planted to further benefit the environment. By choosing a memorial tree, you leave the planet better for future generations. 

Browse our sample packages to learn which one is right for you (bear in mind that available options are dependent on the forest you choose): 

  • Our Heritage Tree package features a memorial tree up to 12” in diameter. It includes the right to spread ashes for one person and plants 50 reforestation saplings. This package starts at $6,900 — roughly $8,100 less per person than a traditional burial would be. 
  • The Legacy Tree consists of a tree up to 30” in diameter and includes the right to spread ashes for two people. For every Legacy Tree package reserved, 200 reforestation saplings are planted to reforest America. This package starts at $9,900 — approximately $9,550 less per person than a traditional burial. 
  • Our Monument Tree package comes with a tree up to 40” in diameter. This package starts at $14,900 and has the right to spread ashes for two people. It comes with 400 reforestation saplings planted around the country. Compared to traditional burial, the Monument Tree package is $7,550 less per person. This is our most popular package. 
  • The Landmark Tree package is good for families as it includes the rights to spread ashes for four people. This package starts as $25,900 and includes a tree up to 70” in diameter. It comes with 1,600 reforestation saplings. The cost per person is $8,525 less than a traditional burial package.

What’s included when I buy my memorial tree? 

  • The rights to spread ashes at your tree. You’re purchasing the exclusive right to spread cremated ashes at the base of the tree and have a memorial marker placed there.
  • Special access to the forest. Visit, hike, picnic and watch your tree grow over the years. Share time outdoors with those you love, in a place they’ll remember you forever. 
  • Guided planning and support. Our team will support you through the planning process, helping you arrange visits to the forest, and sharing their knowledge as experts in planning, grief, and the local ecology. 
  • Protecting and restoring open spaces. Your purchase directly contributes to the protection and conservation of the forest and the planting of reforestation saplings across the U.S.
  • The memorial marker. Each tree can have a memorial marker placed at the base to make it easy for loved ones to visit.
  • The forest memorial. Our team can host family and friends for a forest memorial when it’s time to spread ashes. We'll customize the forest memorial to your vision and provide care and support for all in attendance. 

Does Better Place Forests have a refund policy?

Yes. Your purchase comes with our Peace of Mind Guarantee to ensure you feel great about your memorial tree. It includes a 100-day refund policy so you can feel confident you’ve made the right choice.

Who will take care of my memorial tree?

Our arborists and experienced forest guides maintain, protect, and nurture the whole forest. The health and preservation of your memorial are our top priority. In the event that your tree dies, we’ll allow you to choose a new tree or replant another at no additional cost to you. 

I have some other questions about memorial forests. Who can I talk to?

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Schedule a free online forest tour with one of our advisors to learn more about our forests and tree packages. 

Author Ann Neuman once said, “Death’s got its own schedule, so we can only determine so many things.” Your legacy is one of those things. By being proactive about your end-of-life planning, you can create a meaningful legacy while making a smart financial decision.