There are so many things to choose from and think about when planning a funeral. When your loved one dies suddenly it is so hard to make decisions. We can help with that, whether death is sudden or not.

Comparison shopping can be possible if death is expected.

When death is sudden it is more difficult especially if money is already an issue. That is why it is important to be informed going into the buying process. There are different kinds of funerals and it comes down to personal choice. 

The first type of funeral is the traditional funeral, the one most people will be familiar with, and will be the most expensive. This includes the following:

  • Viewing
  • Casket – The largest expense, ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 dollars.
  • Service
  • Hearse
  • Burial

The second option is the direct burial. This means to bury your loved one shortly after death with no visitation, no graveside or memorial service. 

 The third option is cremation with no service. This costs less, especially if a canvas container is used instead of a casket for cremation. You will still incur the cost of an urn, a burial plot and headstone if burial is desired. If your loved one wanted you to spread their ashes, and not leave a headstone behind, this ultimately saves money but may require coordination to visit their resting place.

Some things to keep in mind to save you money.

 Your loved one does not need to be embalmed if there is no visitation or viewing, or if cremation is your choice. Burial must be done shortly after death, however.

 If a viewing or visitation is the choice of the family, then the biggest expense is the casket. Prices for caskets can run anywhere between two and ten thousand dollars! Funeral directors generally show you the mid-priced caskets, but they must tell you all your options when asked to do so.

There are also places outside of the funeral home to buy a casket cheaper. The funeral home must let you use it – it is your right.

Even if cremation is the option chosen, there is a charge to rent a casket for the viewing. This casket can also be purchased for your loved one to be cremated in.

Know your expenses.

Some funeral home charges need to be paid for up-front:

  • Flowers
  • Obituary notices or online legacy services
  • Prayer cards
  • Thank you cards
  • Registry book
  • Musicians
  • Pallbearers
  • Clergy

The last two of these can be provided by the family at little or no charge typically. Service fees can be charged by the funeral director for acquiring any of these services.

The funeral director must, by law, provide you with an itemized list of all these charges with good faith estimates for unknown prices. Although some of these items are mandated by law, many are not and many are not necessary. It is ultimately up to the family.

When considering these options, remember that when young people pass away, other kids need the closure of a funeral but always consider budget first.

Other charges from the funeral home could be:

  • Use of the funeral home for services (with extra charges for staff)
  • Transporting your loved one to the funeral home
  • Preparation of your loved one for the viewing
  • Transportation to the cemetery in a hearse
  • A limousine for the family to ride to the cemetery (optional and expensive).

You will also pay charges to the cemetery through the funeral home. These include opening and closing of the vault the vault itself (not required by many state laws but required by many cemeteries) and a headstone.

By getting familiar with these expenses, you can help plan for the worst and by talking now with your loved ones you can be sure to meet their needs. It is not a comfortable topic, but generally knowing their desires will help you ensure you can be thinking clearly when making these decisions. Know your rights, and don’t fall victim to your emotions, this is only one step of the grieving process.