According to the AARP the national average for a funeral averages around 6000.00 dollars. If you care for a fancier send off the prices can skyrocket upwards of 10,000 dollars.
A traditional funeral includes transportation for the body of a loved one or yourself from place of death to the funeral home, professional embalming services, use of facilities (reception room, visiting room and usually an in house chapel), hearse for the body to be transported from place of death to eventual burial, transportation for the immediate family, temporary grave marker, grave liner, and casket. This does not include a final monument, actual burial plot or opening and closing of a crypt and flowers you may wish to choose among other items. Some funeral homes may include guest book and memorial cards, others may not.
This could be one of the top expenditures for a loved one to pay in order to bury you. If money is no object you can always hire a glass enclosed, flower draped, horse drawn hearse. If money is a consideration there are many ways to save thousands on a funeral.
You can still have a traditional funeral and save money if you preplan and prepay. If you preplan for yourself or a loved one you are apt to be less emotional and have a better understanding of what is offered.
The Federal Trade Commission has adapted some rules that apply to funeral homes that probably are not widely known. For instance, did you know that you are under no obligation to buy a casket from the funeral home that you choose to take care of the final arrangements? You can actually, if you choose, without an additional fee, shop around elsewhere, pick one out, and the funeral director must use it. You are not obligated to buy a casket at that particular funeral home even though you may find it less emotional and stressful.
You can save the price of a coffin altogether (and that could be literally thousands) if you choose cremation. You don’t actually need to buy a coffin at all but the funeral home has the responsibility of providing an alternate enclosure for the body.
You don’t even need to be embalmed if you choose to have a coffin and direct burial. It is done for practicality for viewing and preservation purposes. Not all states require it, it is best to inquire. If it is your intention to have a direct graveside service you could conceivably save on professional embalming services if you so chose to do so.
The Federal Trade Commission also requires that you must get everything in writing from a funeral provider (with some exceptions, check your state).
If you are a veteran you can have a nice funeral at the veteran’s cemetery. If you are a spouse or dependant child you are also eligible. This too, will save probably thousands. You are entitled to a space and a marker. I also know that here in NH the veteran’s cemetery is well kept up, this is another fee you could avoid. You can save on perpetual care of the gravesite.
No one should make a decision when they are at a disadvantage emotionally. Death will most assuredly do that to us as we are only human. Death is part of the chain of life but there is no need for getting into debt if you cannot afford it.
WWW.AARP.ORG is a wealth of information for the unfortunate necessity of funerals and the cost surrounding them. The Federal Trade Commission also has a very informative batch of information.