Death isn’t a fun subject to think about, but in order to help your family and loved ones cope with the expenses after your eventual passing, it’s important to put some funeral planning in place. The average funeral in North America hovers around $8,000 but some research estimates that the average funeral will cost over $12,000 within the next few years. Coming up with the finances to handle these costs in time of great grief can feel impossible.
Whether you’re involved in funeral planning for a loved one or you’re preparing your own burial plans to take the stress off of your loved ones’ shoulders down the road, these tips and strategies will help you reduce the overall expenses of a funeral.
You’ll be offered comprehensive packages touted as a money-conscious option, but these are not always the deals they’re made out to be. Sometimes it’s better to purchase the individual portions of the ceremony separately. For example, you can buy a casket online from wholesale websites. Most states don’t require that you purchase these items from a funeral home, and if you purchase one elsewhere, they’re not allowed to charge a handling fee.
Cremation versus Burial
In general, cremation is much cheaper than burial. Most estimates show that cremation costs, on average, $1,000 less than burial. As time goes on, cremation becomes a more popular choice for several reasons. Some cite the positive environmental aspects this option provides, while others cite a shifting of rigid religious rules. Depending on the services and other aspects, a cremation burial can range around $3,000 in comparison to a traditional burial that can run upwards of $8,000.
As with any purchase in life, it’s important to shop around to find the best deal. That may mean going funeral home to funeral home and speaking with the funeral directors to determine which costs are best. You can ask to see lists of casket prices and ask for itemize price lists on the other costs associated with a burial. Whenever you do this, be sure to get a written payment of the prices before paying, so as not to be gouged after the fact. Compare funeral homes at Parting.com and look at the costs in your area. It provides photos, reviews, and resources you need to find inexpensive options near you.
Consider Burial Insurance
You might also consider looking into a burial policy. Many assume their life insurance policy will cover the costs of their funeral, but this is not always the case. Burial insurance ensures those costs are taken care of; these costs may include not only the casket and services, but also take care of outstanding medical bills, credit card bills left behind, and legal costs associated with your death and estate.
Veteran State Coverage
The state will generally pay for the funeral services of veterans, so long as the individual is buried in one of 130 national cemeteries. The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide a free gravesite, grave opening and closing services, maintenance, and a headstone. Spouses and dependents of veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery for free, even if their passing comes before the veteran. Generally, the wake or viewing in a funeral home is paid by loved ones.
Explain Your Wishes
If you’re making arrangements for yourself in the future, be sure to write down your funeral preferences. Dealing with tough funeral decisions on top of the emotional pain that comes with the passing of a loved one is a stress no one wants to face. Be sure to get the details in writing, and provide family members with this list of plans, and explain the insurance policies you have, or the prepayments you’ve already made.
Whether you’re preplanning your own funeral or making arrangements for a loved one who has passed away, these tips will help you avoid the steep costs associated with modern burials.