When a loved one passes, funeral planning can be daunting. It is important to make burial arrangements that are respectful to the deceased, yet finding the means to pay for the services isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are some resources out there that may be able to assist with the cost of planning a funeral.
First and foremost, be sure to check with the deceased’s insurance. Many life insurance policies contain benefits that can be paid directly towards the cost of final arrangements. Since burial arrangements are often paid out of the estate of the deceased, this form of estate planning can reduce upfront costs to the loved ones of the deceased who may otherwise have to wait for probate to be reimbursed for the cost of planning for the funeral. There may also be tax benefits to setting up the funeral costs this way.
The Social Security Administration may also contribute some money towards the cost of funeral planning. A one-time contribution of $225 may be available, and while it won’t cover all the costs, the option can make a difference overall.
If the deceased is a veteran, there may be additional funding available for funeral planning. Even if your loved one wasn’t in active combat, you may be entitled to assistance with his or her final arrangements. Be sure to check with the Department of Veterans Affairs to see what benefits are available for those who served their country through the armed forces.
In some cases, there are simply no funds available for funeral planning. When this happens, many local authorities may provide options for burial arrangements at little or no cost to the family. Be sure to check with the local county treasurer’s office to see if there are funeral resources available for final arrangements for the deceased.
Local funeral or memorial societies may also be able to assist with funeral planning. These nonprofit groups exist to protect consumers’ rights and to help keep down the costs of planning for a funeral. They often have lists of resources to not only keep costs to a minimum, but also of groups who may be able to offer financial assistance with making final arrangements. Check with the Funeral Consumers Alliance for information on local societies.
If more funds are needed for funeral planning than are available through these resources, sometimes funeral home cemeteries will work with you to develop a payment plan. It won’t reduce the total cost of the burial arrangements, but it will spread the costs out over time. Often these arrangements are made with a pre need funeral plan many years before the deceased has passed, but there may still be options for funeral preparations with a payment plan at the time services are needed.
Finding the resources for funeral planning may take some digging, but there are benefits out there that many families are entitled to. By being upfront about your financial situation and asking for assistance, you may be surprised what resources are out there.