Funerals are a final send-off for our loved ones, and we want them to be as well-suited to the individual as possible. This includes choosing a coffin that fits them, figuratively and literally. And that may be harder for someone that’s taller than average.
It’s not so much a question of making a tall person fit into a casket but more of choosing the right casket that accommodates the height of a tall person. There are dozens of types of caskets available at different dimensions, and customization is always an option too.
This article will look at the requirements and various options for a casket and how to choose one that will honor the deceased, no matter their height.
Features of a Casket and Why They Matter
Coffins have a few standard sizes that accommodate most body types, albeit not always perfectly. Occasionally, a casket will be slightly too large for the deceased, or the funeral director will slightly bend a particularly tall person’s knees.
In this case, the coffin is often made to close over the bottom half of a person, even if it’s an open casket funeral. There is no visible evidence that their legs have been arranged in a particular way.
However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. If you want a coffin made especially for your loved one, either because of their proportions or simply because you want to give them something truly unique, you can arrange that.
Many companies make custom caskets on request. However, if you don’t want to outsource from a specific company or don’t know where to start, many United States funeral homes will arrange for you to have a custom coffin made if you want one.
In fact, asking a funeral director for guidance might be precisely what you need, not only for customization but also for size and material. Additionally, not every coffin type is customizable, so knowing what you want is crucial.
Factors to consider include:
Weight is also something to consider, but it depends on the material the casket is made of, as well as the dimensions of it/how large it is.
The standard dimensions for an adult casket are 28” x 23” x 48” (71 cm x 58cm x 121cm). These are made to fit a standard burial plot and will most likely accommodate adults. However, oversized caskets are available, as well as customization options.
The standard burial plot is 30 inches (76 cm) wide, so if you want a casket larger than this, you’ll need to arrange a larger burial plot. The same goes for the plot’s length, typically 86 inches (216 cm).
If the deceased is exceptionally tall, they may need a custom or oversized casket and even an oversized burial plot or vault. These are things to consider before finalizing funeral arrangements.
Don’t be concerned if the deceased individual doesn’t fit into a standard coffin. Funeral directors can easily help you to arrange oversized or custom caskets. Your funeral director is there to give guidance and has plenty of connections to help you with a proper send-off.
Different materials have different weights, durability, cost, etc., and are better suited to specific bodily proportions or customizations.
For example, metal caskets are lighter and more durable. They can be made in various metals such as stainless steel or copper. For these reasons, metal caskets are the easiest to customize and can also be cheaper.
However, you can make it work with any type of casket, so don’t feel discouraged if you had your heart set on a wooden one.
To many, a final farewell is priceless. However, funeral costs are an unavoidable obstacle to many that they need to minimize where they can.
The cheapest coffins are steel, pine, poplar, or cedar. So, to customize a casket, you may be able to reduce costs by purchasing or renting one made out of a more affordable material.
If you want to buy a non-custom “oversized” casket, you can find 28 by 55 inches (71 by 139 cm) steel coffins available for your loved one.
Laws Involved in Casket Burial
Several laws in the US govern burials, which funeral directors must abide by.
For example, no funeral home can tell you that you’re not allowed to source a coffin from elsewhere, and different states have specific requirements for whether or not a body has to be embalmed. Some cemeteries don’t even require a casket for burial.
These are a few considerations before deciding on anything final. You can read up about the funeral requirements in different US states here.
Though there isn’t necessarily a legal size that a coffin can exceed, it’s essential to know what is and isn’t possible or lawful for a particular funeral home or cemetery to accommodate.
Do morticians break people’s legs to fit them into caskets? You’ve likely asked this at least once in your life. The answer is no, never. Altering a body like this constitutes tampering with human remains and is illegal.
Even the tallest body is treated with the utmost respect, and while they could have their knees bent slightly to accommodate them, they will simply be buried in a coffin that fits them.
Make sure that you’re aware of the death and burial laws in your particular state to ensure that you understand your own rights and responsibilities from the death of an individual to after the funeral.
Alternatives to the Traditional Coffin
There are several options for burial, with only one being the traditional casket burial. So, if the coffin route isn’t working out, you aren’t at a dead end.
One option is green burial. This is when someone is buried in a way that’s not harmful to the environment, such as in a biodegradable casket or without any coffin at all.
This is more “green” because the embalming methods and liners are sometimes used in burial to preserve the body, and the coffin contains harmful chemicals that leach into the soil over time. Though this is not always the case, it does happen frequently.
Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it can also become far more straightforward and cheaper and require less admin and coordination on your side.
Another option is cremation. Though not necessarily more cost-effective, it can resolve the dilemma of organizing a bigger coffin and possibly a larger burial plot. This is also more environmentally friendly than traditional burial.
Finding a casket that fits even the tallest individual is possible and easily accessible. Ask your funeral home for advice, and they will happily help you arrange a suitable coffin for the deceased.