Costs Associated with A Funeral
Costs accrued while planning a funeral can seem very overwhelming. They can range from a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars. The cost of a funeral is one of the reasons that pre-planning (the process of making arrangements and paying for a funeral "pre-need") has become an increasingly popular decision for many families. Through pre-planning, family plots or burial plots are purchased and sometimes caskets are even picked out and paid for in advance. A qualified funeral director or cemetery manager will gladly answer all of your questions about pre-planning. Payment plans are most always available so you can pre-pay for your service over time.
Cremation can be less expensive than a traditional burial, and has gained popularity in recent years. Many people choose to include a traditional service or a memorial service, even when cremation has been selected as an option. Cremation urns are widely available in a variety of prices, some costing nearly as much as a casket - while some are much less expensive. Cost varies depending on the amount and types of services the family of the deceased desires as well.
Services and Products Included in the Funeral Cost
There are three types of costs typically associated with a funeral or burial:
- Common funeral services fees
- Charges for optional services and products
- Outside vendors
Basic services include the services that are common to all funerals such as: funeral planning, notice preparation, securing permits and copies of the death certificate, sheltering the remains, coordination of the crematory or cemetery. These services are provided no matter what special arrangements are made for the funeral and service. Funeral directors all charge this service fee that consumers cannot refuse to pay.
Optional services and products incur extra fees.
These services include: embalming and preparation of the body, transporting the remains, using the funeral home for the viewing or ceremony, use of limousine or hearse, casket or urn, interment or cremation, and use of staff and equipment for graveside services.
Cash advances are fees the funeral home can charge to pay outside vendors for obituary notices, flowers, officiating clergy, pallbearers, soloists and organists. Some funeral homes add service fees to the cost of these amounts that they must disclose to you, although they do not have to tell you the amount of their markup.
The bereaved must also make separate arrangements with the chosen cemetery for payment and service. The burial plot, crypt or mausoleum must be selected and paid for as well as the cemetery and graveside service. The price of cemetery plots vary and payment and selection can be prearranged. There are also costs associated with opening and closing the gravesite. Some cemeteries cover the cost of perpetual care, but that is not always the case with every cemetery. If you desire a repast, the space must often be rented and catering must be chosen and costs vary also. Floral arrangements must be made and payment worked out with the florist.
Estimation of Costs
All costs will vary by geographical location, services and products requested (and required by law) and by funeral home. Keep in mind that these costs are estimations and may be different in your area or as the market changes.
*The average cost of a casket is around $2000. Caskets are usually the most expensive part of a traditional funeral service and vary greatly in price as well as style. They are usually made of wood, fiberboard, metal, plastic or fiberglass, but caskets of copper, mahogany and bronze are available and sell for averages of $10,000. The purpose of a casket is to move the body in a dignified manner and not to indefinitely preserve the body. Caskets made of metal are made in various gauges and the lower the gauge, the thicker the rolled steel. If you are having the remains cremated, you can rent a casket from the funeral home for the service, or if you are not having a service you will have the option of an unfinished wood box.
**Outer burial containers include grave liners and burial vaults and are used in traditional funerals. Vaults are laced into the grave before burial and the casket is lowered into it. Burial vaults may be sold with warranties and surround the casket in concrete or other materials. They are meant to keep the ground from caving in on the casket over time. Grave liners are made of reinforced concrete and cover the sides and top of the casket. Grave liners are cheaper than burial vaults. State laws do not require either. They do not prevent the human body from decomposing over time and may not keep out dirt or water either.
Tips for Saving Money
- Pre-plan and discuss funeral services before death
- Shop around in advance when you are not stressed and pressed for time
- Compare prices from different locations
- Ask for a price list as funeral directors are required to provide one
- Know what is important to you and your family.
- Everyone has a different idea about what a funeral should be.
- Try to avoid emotional spending and keep your loved one'swishes in mind
- Know your local laws and which services are required and which are optional