Don't let funeral expenses keep you from getting the send-off your family deserves. Plan ahead and ease the financial burden on your loved ones.
If you put any stock in tabloid stories, Judy Garland, most famous for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, was $4 million in debt when she died at the age of 47. Brat pack actor Corey Haim died at the age of 38; his family reportedly had to ask fans to help cover funeral expenses. And Billboard reports that Michael Jackson died approximately $400 million in debt.
Hopefully, most of us won't owe millions when we pass away. What goes without a doubt, however, is that making your own funeral preparations can save you money and can save your family a lot of stress and pain. By prepaying, your family can rest assured knowing your funeral expenses are taken care of, whether you're a celebrity or not.
Those expenses are no small amount, either. Parting, a funeral home comparison website, states that the average cost of a funeral is between $7,000 and $10,000. The National Funeral Directors Association gives a similar estimate, also noting that the cost rose 28.6% between 2004 and 2014. Not only is that a lot of money, but it's payable at the time of your funeral.
What adds up to so much? The fee for a funeral director's services is around $2,000. A casket is about the same, and preparing the body for a funeral is another $500 to $1,000. Even flowers can cost a few hundred dollars. It's easy to see how funeral expenses can add up quickly. It's also easy to understand why prepaying for a funeral can spare your family significant financial stress at what is already a painful time.
How to Plan for the Unexpected
There are a few ways you could save money for funeral expenses. Unfortunately, many of them don't guarantee the money will actually go toward your funeral.
Any money in a savings or checking account, money from an estate sale, or any other money that goes into your estate may be used to pay debts before it goes to your heirs. One of the best ways for you to make sure your money goes where you want it to go is to purchase a life insurance policy.
Even with a life insurance policy, however, your family will still need to go through the process of choosing a funeral home and arranging the details of your burial or cremation. That's why a specific policy is ideal for pre-planning and taking care of your funeral expenses before your loved ones inherit that responsibility.
When you prepay funeral expenses, the funeral director puts your money into a trust so even if your chosen funeral home goes out of business, your money is still available. Some insurance companies offer a type of insurance that has the same benefits, but in some cases, such as with our Pathway® products, the value of your policy increases with interest over time.
Aside from the expenses mentioned earlier, what else should you save for? Here are some of the most common funeral expenses, according to Everplans and the National Funeral Directors Association:
- Ceremony at the funeral home: $500 - $1,000
- Hearse: $300
- Tent and chairs at the cemetery: $150
- Newspaper obituary: $100
- Copies of the death certificate: $5 each
- Grave and cost to open and close the grave: $2,000
- Headstone: $2,000
Additional expenses, items, and services can add to the final bill. And, of course, your personal preferences can add or subtract some of these expenditures. Caskets, for example, may average $2,000, but they can be as little as $400 or $500 and up to $8,000.
The Federal Trade Commission has a pricing checklist you can use to get a better idea of what your actual funeral expenses will be. Funeral Planning also has a cost calculator, as well as tips on lowering the cost of a funeral and resources for coping with loss. Planningafuneral.com has additional tips and ideas to help you lower the cost of a funeral. And for handling the details ahead of time, Dignity Planner is a good source for planning the send-off you want.
It can be tough to think about a time when we won't be here to partake in family celebrations and events, but planning for and taking care of funeral expenses is one way to remind our families how much we care about them.
To find out more about Pekin Insurance's Pathway® products and how they can help you, get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance pre-need agent today.