After a loved one passes away, those grieving have to face the task of planning a funeral—and the high costs that go along with it. But searching for help with burial expenses doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. If you’d like to honor your loved one with a funeral but need help with funeral costs, this article offers ideas and resources that can ease the financial burden.
Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Funeral Services
It’s difficult to place a monetary value on a funeral or memorial service. The chance to honor the life of your lost loved one is truly priceless. And yet, the real cost of funeral services can add up to over $8,000—not including any personalized details or flowers.
Not many people know that the Federal Trade Commission regulates the price of basic funeral services under the Funeral Rule, but even the price of basic services can be out of reach for many people. Below, we outline these basic costs.
Funeral home costs
When a loved one passes away, families often contact a funeral home to begin preparations. The general list of funeral home costs includes basic service fees, embalming, and the cost of using the funeral home itself. Here’s an overview of some current prices:
- The average cost of a funeral in 2017 was $7,360, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
- Embalming typically costs about $700.
- Some funeral homes may also require advance payment for services like verifying the death certificate, preparing notices, and securing a burial permit, which can cost up to $1,228.
Cemetery and burial costs
There is usually a procession to the cemetery for the burial following a service at the funeral home. Associated cemetery costs typically include transportation of the remains, a burial plot, and a casket. These costs can add up quickly:
- The cost of transportation from the funeral home to the cemetery can cost over $800.
- Securing a plot of land for burial costs around $1,000.
- According to the Federal Trade Commission, the average cost of a casket is $2,000, though some can cost up to $10,000.
Memorial service costs
For families looking to avoid both the cost and the process of funeral services, a memorial service offers flexibility and is usually less expensive. A memorial involves a celebration of life but may vary from a funeral according to the traditions, beliefs, and wishes of the family. Here’s an overview of costs typically associated with memorials:
- Cremation costs approximately $700.
- The cost of a cremation urn can vary greatly depending on materials and whether it’s purchased through a funeral home. The National Funeral Directors Association quotes about $280 for an urn.
Funeral financial assistance to help offset burial costs
If your loved one had a life insurance policy, it may very well include a death benefit for burial expenses. It’s always a good idea to check with the insurance company.
States and counties
States and counties sometimes assist with burial expenses. In the US, these benefits can vary greatly from one state to the next. In many cases, assistance is offered to low-income individuals, so it may be best to contact your county coroner or the local Department of Health to find out your options.
Specific government programs
People already receiving certain forms of government assistance—such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—at the time of their death may receive financial assistance for burial on behalf of the state. If your loved one received aid from one of these programs, check with the administrators to see what the benefits are.
Similarly, if your loved one was receiving social security retirement benefits, Medicare, or Medicaid support, you will want to contact administrators about benefit payments and survivor benefits.
Death benefits are also available for veterans through the Veterans Administration.
Today, countless families turn to crowdfunding when they need help with funeral expenses. When government benefits or other financial aid falls short, crowdfunding can help bridge the gap and make it easy to ask for donations for funeral expenses.
The beauty of crowdfunding is that you can receive financial support while also creating a place for people to unite and offer emotional support. If you’re starting a fundraiser for a friend or family member, it can be a way to help someone who is grieving. Your online fundraiser can also serve as a hub for friends and loved ones to share memories and reflect on the life of the deceased. Through your fundraiser story, you can easily let friends and family know how they can best offer support, whether that’s through a donation or a hot meal.
Find a way to pay for burial expenses today
Memorial fundraising is easy through GoFundMe. With our streamlined platform and funeral fundraising tips, you’ll be able to raise the funds you need to plan a funeral the way your loved one would want it. If you’re struggling to afford funeral home costs, we make it simple to reach out to the people who care most for support. And because we offer free fundraising, more of your donations can be used to honor your loved one. Sign up today to create your memorial fundraiser.