Potential solutions when there is no money for a burial include cremation, shopping around for budget services, or donating the body to science or medicine, suggests Funeral Consumers Alliance. No charities or government agencies help pay debt arising from funeral arrangements. Some states and counties maintain funds for indigent funerals. Families can check with the local welfare office where the deceased relative lived to see if any assistance is available.
Some families choose to not claim the body, explains U.S. News and World Report. State or local governments dispose of unclaimed bodies by cremation, burial or donating the remains to a body farm, where forensic scientists study decomposition.
The family may find drastically reduced costs by calling multiple mortuaries, notes Funeral Consumers Alliance. Anatomical donation organizations usually cover expenses for transporting donated bodies to their facilities. Such businesses usually surgically divide the bodies and provide body parts for research or medical training.
Some donation organizations agree to cremate the remaining tissue and return the ashes to the family within several weeks at no charge, if requested, states Funeral Consumers Alliance. Medical schools that accept donated bodies generally keep them for up to two years, but most return cremated remains if requested.