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Managing the death of a loved one: The costs of a funeral and life insurance

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Arranging a Funeral

Planning for a funeral can be a strenuous time for family when a loved one passes away. Having to deal with the costs on top of the emotional toil can be especially burdensome. Normally, a funeral is arranged by the people closest to the deceased, such as the person’s daughter or son, or spouse.

When arranging a funeral, you need to take into account the deceased’s wishes. They may write their personal wishes for their funeral, such as the type of burial and procession.  Depending on the preferences stated, the costs can vary. You do not need to follow the instructions, but they should be considered before any decision is made. If there was a pre-paid plan involved, then you would need to use the package as paid.

Funeral Costs

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There are numerous costs to a funeral, some of which are mandatory and others that are optional add-ons. Cremation is increasingly become a popular alternative, although many people today still prefer the traditional burial method.

Usually, people use a funeral director to ease with the arrangements. This gives loved ones the chance to cope with the loss as they rely on an expert to help plan the funeral. It is a good idea to look for a funeral director from a professional association who follows a code of conduct.

If you are on a budget, you can choose to plan the funeral yourself without a director. This will take careful planning and research on the options, though.

Depending on your region, there may be local councils available to assist with funerals for low prices. Whichever method you choose, be sure to shop around for a price and service that suits your needs.

Main Costs of a Funeral

Funeral service providers often offer a package service with add-ons. It is important to look at the quote and all the services provided to determine whether or not you need them. If not, you can send a request for the provision of only the services you need.

On average, a traditional funeral will cost around $10,000. However, this amount will vary greatly depending on many factors, such as casket size, outer liner and service. It could cost as little as $5,000, or even $20,000, depending on how many amenities you wish to have for the funeral.

Here are the main costs in a typical funeral (each is a mid-price range with variations):

Item

Cost

Explanation

Service

$500

The service can be held in a different location that may have lower costs.

Embalming

$600

Embalming helps to preserve the deceased’s appearance for viewing, but is not compulsory.

Casket

$2,000

There is a great variation in price ranges for caskets, from as low as $100 to $12,000. The main contributor to cost is the material. You can use a cardboard or fiberboard casket, or a more expensive wooden one. Alternatively, you could opt for a shroud.

Funeral Director

$1,500

If you are knowledgeable or confident about arrangements, you could make them yourself.

Grave site

$1,500

The plot site will vary according to location. It is a good idea to check out the locations available and difference in costs.

Burial

$700

Depending on where you live and the service, it may be possible to perform the digging on your own.

Outer grave liner

$1,000

Like the casket, the liner will vary in cost.

Headstone

$1,600

The monument can range from a simple stone to an ornate and large sculpture.

 

Above are the basic costs for a traditional funeral. A cremation will cost less than a burial, averaging around $7,000 for a ceremony and costs involved in the cremation process.

For a burial, you can add additional items and services for extra fees, in what are known as ‘disbursement costs’.

Here are the disbursement costs:

Item

Cost

Explanation

Burial clothes

$250

You can order clothing for the deceased to wear, or dress them in nice attire already owned.

Hearse

$350

Arrangements can be made to pick up the casket instead, if preferred.

Obituary

$300

If you like, you can put a notice in the paper about your loved one, although many choose not to.

Funeral programs

$50

You can work with a professional to develop a program, or make one yourself if you prefer.

Flowers

$300

Flowers can be pricey, so if the funeral is on a budget, you can opt out of these. Artificial flowers are usually more affordable.

Clergy

$200

You can ask a friend or relative to perform this service.

Musician

$150

An organist or pianist can perform the service. You could also ask a friend who plays an instrument to perform this service.

Funeral service

Life Insurance

Many people shy away from the topic of death, which can make people ill-equipped to deal with how to manage funeral costs ahead of time. However, with the increasing costs of funerals, it is worth investigating life insurance options. Planning ahead could take the burden off loved ones, who will bear the costs of arrangements.

There are different types of insurance policies, depending on where you live. For instance, an insurance policy could include pre-paid funeral arrangements. Premiums are paid to the insurance company, and the details are worked out with the funeral home. This puts a lot of the strain away when managing funeral costs.

A second policy could be to purchase pre-paid funeral arrangements from a funeral home itself. The money is then deposited into a trust account to earn interest as long as the contract is maintained.

Before jumping into such insurance plans though, the long-term costs and contract details must be considered. As with all contracts, the fine print must be read carefully. Some policies only cover the very basic funeral costs, so a number of funeral expenses still be covered out of pocket.

Insurance companies often offer the option between a lump sum payment or a monthly payment. Keep in mind that the monthly payment will likely cost more, though. There will likely be covenants that need to be followed. Defaulting on a monthly payment could mean that the contract will end and there will be no pay-out given.

To evaluate whether or not life insurance is suitable for you or a loved one, you must consider whether or not you or your loved one is healthy and without sickness, and if the anticipated insurance payments outweigh expected funeral costs.

A Closing Note

The passing of a loved one is a difficult time, placing emotional strain and financial costs. There are numerous options for making arrangements. However, with careful planning and research, the process can go more smoothly.

If you found this article useful, perhaps you would like to learn about creating a eulogy in Sample Funeral Speeches for Various People.

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