Funeral Costs You Might Not Be Expecting
When most people go into a funeral home expecting to plan a funeral, they have a pretty good idea of what they can afford to pay and how they want to spend their money. Caskets, use of the facilities for a memorial service, funeral flowers, and embalming are all the kinds of things we’ve become accustomed to purchasing. Those who want to save money might decide on cremation or direct burial, while those with a comfortable life insurance policy might plan on going for a little more extravagance.
While this kind of foresight is always a good idea, there are some other costs you’ll need to factor into the total funeral planning package.
Hidden Paperwork Costs
- Obituary: Obituaries, although common in this day and age, aren’t free. Death notices generally don’t come with a charge, but if you want to include a picture and loving commemoration of the deceased, you’ll most likely have to pay by word or by line. If you don’t want to write the obituary yourself, you’ll also need to pay either the funeral home or a copywriter to do it for you.
- Funeral Programs: The beautiful pamphlets handed out during a funeral service (outlining the order of operations or sharing information about the deceased) also come with a charge. Printing and design must be factored in.
- Death Certificates: Last on the list of paperwork costs comes the death certificate. Each official piece of paper (which must be sent to financial institutions, the government, and other agencies as proof of death) must be purchased separately.
Hidden Burial Costs
- Grave Opening: Although you might think that it’s a given that the burial plot has to be opened before the deceased’s casket can be lowered into it, many cemeteries charge for this service. The day of the week can affect how high these costs go.
- Burial Vaults: Most cemeteries require that caskets be placed in a vault before they are buried. This vault helps protect the ground from sinking in around the casket, adding to the overall aesthetics of the park—which is why most cemeteries use them.
- Temporary Markers: It generally takes up to six weeks to have a headstone engraved and placed on the grave. In the meantime, you must have a disposable marker that acts as a place filler.
- Graveside Service Setup: A graveside service is something most people expect to have to pay for. After all, this is separate from the memorial service and includes the lowering of the casket. However, don’t be surprised to find a setup fee for the awning, chairs, and carpeting laid out to make this event comfortable.
Legally, all funeral homes and cemeteries are required to be upfront about the costs of a funeral and where your money is going. Be sure and ask for a price list that details each fee, and make sure you look at the fine print in a burial package option to see where you might be asked to pay for additional services.