How Much Does a Burial Cost in California?

Learn about how much a burial costs in California, plus what you can expect to pay for each part of a burial.

Coping with the loss of a loved one is never easy. And yet, amidst the grieving, you have so much to figure out. How much does a burial cost in California? How do you organize a funeral? Is there financial support available?

A little research will reveal this unfortunate truth: Funeral costs can be an unexpected financial strain, especially in California, where a simple burial costs about $7,000 on average.

This blog post aims to break the silence surrounding burial costs in California. We'll provide a transparent look at what you can expect to pay for each part of a burial, explore the alternatives, and connect you with resources for financial assistance if needed.

Our goal is to help you create a meaningful tribute that honors your loved one's memory, all while staying mindful of your budget.

What does a burial cost in California?

A simple burial that doesn’t involve premium caskets or elaborate headstones can start at around $7,000. A more elaborate burial can cost you $20,000 or more.

These estimates can vary widely based on personal choices, specific service providers, and the exact location within California.

Here's a structured overview with estimated cost ranges to help guide your understanding:

What is typically included in a burial service?

A place for burial


Additional considerations

Is support available if you are unable to afford a burial service?

County burial programs

Many California counties have burial programs that assume responsibility for burials when no other resources are available. Eligibility requirements and application processes vary by county.

Contact your local department of social services or coroner's office to inquire about:

Federal benefits

Non-profit organizations

Differences between burials and other options

A burial may be the most well-known next step after losing a loved one — however, it isn’t the only option available to you.

Here are the ways you can bid farewell to your loved one in a way that honors their life and aligns with your values:

Traditional burial

The customary method of laying a body to rest in a cemetery plot is often accompanied by a funeral service. It offers a physical space for remembrance but is typically the most expensive option due to cemetery costs and casket selection. 


This is a process where the body is reduced to ashes through intense heat. Unlike burials, cremated remains offer flexibility for placement in a cemetery, urn, or scattering in a designated location.

You can also create memorial tokens such as jewelry or keepsakes made from the ashes.

While cremation itself is generally less expensive than a burial, associated funeral home fees and urn selection can affect the overall cost.

Aquamation or water cremation

This is an eco-friendly approach to cremation that uses natural elements of water and alkali salts, eliminating the need for flames.

Compared to traditional cremation, it uses less energy and is considered more eco-friendly. 

Body donation

Donating the body to science or medical education programs is an alternative to burial. This offers a valuable contribution to medical advancements but requires prior arrangements with a medical institution and may not be suitable for everyone due to religious or cultural beliefs.

Remember: The decision is personal. Consider cultural traditions, your loved one's wishes, costs associated, and the preferences of family members while choosing an option.

Next steps

If you’re considering cremation, Meadow is here to offer a gentle hand and a streamlined approach to managing one.

We understand the weight of this moment. We offer a more compassionate and meaningful way to celebrate a life well-lived with customized memorial planning services.

Our team of caring memorial planners partner with you in this tender time to create an occasion as remarkable as the life it honors.

With our team, you can expect:

Our team is available 24/7 to guide you through this process. Explore our personalized memorial services to honor your loved one, on your own terms.