Budgeting for a funeral

How to plan for funeral expenses. The subject no one wants to talk about (but everyone should).

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When we lose a loved one, we find ourselves in a state of emotional turmoil. No matter the situation, we can feel a little lost about how to proceed. We want to honor the deceased, and we need to give our families an appropriate way to share their feelings and bring closure. However, the cost of an average funeral may be a lot more than you would expect.

Average funeral costs

First of all, what is an “average funeral”? This is about as easy to define as an “average life.” Traditions and details involved in celebrating a life while dealing with end-of-life duties can vary widely. You may prefer a religious funeral service, with an expensive casket blanketed in flowers and a graveside burial service as well. However, even the costs of a simple cremation and family gathering can add up.

The average cost of a funeral can be anywhere from $6,500 – $15,000, as calculated by state. In states where the cost of living is high, funeral costs tend to be high as well.

Funeral cost breakdown

The Federal Trade Commission provides information and a checklist to use when shopping for funeral expenses. It’s easy to overlook some of the costs of a funeral. Beyond the funeral home expenses, there are the costs of a service or gathering, the cemetery expenses, and possible expenses related to travel and accommodations for family members. Costs of embalming, caskets, headstones or grave markers, church services, memorial videos, hearse transport, limousines, etc. are all part of the final costs of a funeral.

If you are the one tasked with overseeing the funeral and last wishes of a loved one, don’t be afraid to reach out for help with decisions. Sometimes people indicate their burial requests in a will or final letter. Sometimes the decisions are left to surviving family members. Either way, there are resources you can call upon to help you during this difficult time. A funeral home director will be able to help you with the many decisions in front of you. Additionally, if your loved one was connected with hospice services at the end of their life, an end-of-life coordinator may be available to you to provide support with the decision-making process. If you are part of a religious community, your pastor, rabbi, or leader may also be a helpful resource in planning the services.

Take the time to outline which aspects of the burial process will be most meaningful to you and your family.

If you have no funds to pay for a funeral, there are ways to receive public assistance, including Federal, State, and County assistance, Social Security, and Veterans Assistance. Additionally, non-profit groups such as the Salvation Army provide funeral assistance under specific conditions.

Crowdfunding and GoFundMe options are good ways to reach out for help. Oftentimes, family and friends are looking for ways to provide meaningful assistance when someone passes away. 

How to help and protect your family by making your own funeral plans now.

Older man and younger man sitting on sofa having a conversation

As you’re faced with making funeral arrangements for someone, you may find yourself asking, “what would my loved one want me to do?” This is why it is so important to have a plan in place now that your family or friends can rely on when the time comes for them to take care of your final arrangements.

It may seem like a dreary subject to face, but it’s never too early to speak to your family about how you view the end of life and how you would like to be honored and remembered.

 1. Make sure your loved ones know your wishes.

Have a meaningful conversation with the people you designate to make your funeral arrangements. Then, put your thoughts onto paper so that they have the details when the time comes and so that they can confirm with any other family members or friends that these were, in fact, your intentions.

Just like planning for any other big life event such as a wedding, set a budget for how much you think should be spent. The last thing you want to do concerning your own last wishes is to put your family or friends under stress to pay for your funeral expenses.

There are many options out there to help save and plan, including funeral insurance.

 2. Have a life insurance policy in place.

Protect your family from having to spend their savings or going into debt to arrange your funeral by having a life insurance policy in place.

When you die, your assets go into probate, and this procedure can take a long time to settle. All of your debts and final expenses, including medical bills, will be paid from your assets or estate, so there may be less left over to leave to your loved ones than you (or they) expect.

However, a life insurance policy can be paid out to your beneficiaries as soon as the insurance company receives a death certificate. This money is not subject to your expenses and debts. Even if you only buy a policy that’s large enough to cover your funeral expenses, it is a priceless gift for those who will be responsible for paying for your last wishes.

The information and materials provided on this website are intended for informational purposes only and should not be treated an offer or solicitation of credit or any other product or service of Regional Finance or any other company. This website may contain links to websites controlled or offered by third parties. We have not reviewed all of the third-party sites linked to this website and are not responsible for the content, products, privacy policy, security, or practices of any linked third-party website. The inclusion of any third-party link does not imply any endorsement by Regional Finance of the linked third party, its website, or its product or services. Use of any third-party website is at your own risk.

References accessed on February 12, 2021:

How Much A Funeral Costs And Average Funeral Cost: Your Complete Guide

Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist

How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost?

How much does a funeral cost?

Paying for a Funeral

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