When you think about prearranging your funeral, the benefits that come to mind are probably abstract: peace of mind that your final wishes will be fulfilled or easing the burden on your loved ones. But, there’s another, more tangible benefit - saving money. With the average funeral cost rising, prepaid funeral plans can save money in the long run. Below, we outline the benefits of preplanning along with expected costs, as quoted by the National Funeral Directors Association.
How Can You Pay For Your Funeral In Advance?
Prearranging can often be less expensive than those services arranged at-need by the deceased’s family. First, when you prepay, your funeral may be guaranteed by your chosen provider. This means you are guaranteed the services you purchased at the price you paid, no matter when the funeral occurs. Preplanning offsets the potential for rising costs in the future. The forethought of prearranging can also ensure you consider all costs involved, rather than running into unexpected costs which can come with planning at the time of need.
How Much Does a Funeral Cost?
If you’re just starting to think of preplanning, the question of "how much does a funeral cost?” might not have crossed your mind until now. While each funeral is unique, here are some general guidelines for spending the right amount for your desired service. Keep in mind that your preferences and special needs may result in higher or lower costs.
First, the type of service you select – whether a traditional full-service funeral, a direct burial or direct cremation – is the largest determining factor in the cost of your service.
A traditional full-service funeral, whether the deceased is buried or cremated, involves the most services from the provider and is thus the most expensive option of these three. A full-service burial involves transportation, preparation, funeral service and sometimes can include merchandise as well. The median cost in 2017 for these services was $7,360 according to the National Funeral Directors Association. If a vault is also required by the cemetery, the median cost jumps to $8,508.
A full-service cremation with viewing/visitation tends to be slightly less expensive than full-service burial because the casket used for burial often costs more than the cremation casket, cremation fee and urn combined. With most of the other services still used, however, the cost of the median full-service cremation with viewing/visitation totals $6,260 according to the NFDA.
Direct burial and cremation each utilize fewer services from the provider. Direct burial involves burial shortly after death, usually in a simple container, and does not include embalming services. Direct cremation also skips embalming and services but includes the cremation container and an urn. Some funeral homes offer packages for direct services, which often include the basic services of funeral director and staff, but you should always consult each unique funeral home about their offerings.
Funeral Payment Plans
With all service options, prepaid cremations and burials can save you money in the future, keeping in mind that services often do not include fees outside of the funeral home. Whichever disposition you choose, the best course is to do thorough research and compare providers to ensure the best value and fit for your preferences and talking with your chosen funeral provider about the best method to pay. Your chosen provider may allow you to pay for your arrangements with a funeral payment plan. Whether through the insurance company, or the funeral home directly, you can pay in installments, lessening the burden of a lump sum.
Whichever services best fit your needs, knowing the benefits of advance funeral planning and saving money and talking with your provider to ensure all details are covered is key.
At The Love Always Project, we understand that loss is a natural part of life. We believe that by accepting, embracing, and planning for death, we can find peace with our own mortality—while easing the pain of loved ones. Use these additional resources to help you navigate planning for yourself and your loved ones. Learn more about our mission to encourage funeral preplanning as the ultimate act of love: Join the movement.