How to Set a Funeral Budget

How to Set a Funeral BudgetBefore you sit down with a funeral director to go over all your options for a loved one’s funeral plans, it’s a good idea to figure out how much money you’re willing to spend. Although the average funeral can go as high as $10,000, you aren’t required to spend this much—nor will you have to. With the right planning, you should be able to find a budget you’re comfortable with and buy a respectful, beautiful service to go with it.

  1. Find out how much money there is. Life insurance, retirement pensions, estate money, funeral pre-plans, Veterans’ benefits, union or fraternal organization benefits, Social Security burial funds—all of these might help contribute to paying for a loved one’s funeral. Go through all the paperwork and figure out how much existing money there is before you set a budget.

  1. Know how much you can personally contribute. Not everyone leaves behind enough money to pay for a funeral in full, so you may have to put in some money of your own. (Note: if you plan on paying and having the estate pay you back in the future, make sure you build in enough time for that to happen. An estate in probate can take months or even years to be fully settled.)

  1. Research funeral costs in your area. Call around to area funeral homes to determine what kind of costs you’re facing. They are legally required to provide you with a Price List, which should break down each component of a burial or cremation separately. This should give you an idea of what to expect when you go in for a consultation.

  1. Look at all your options. At the lowest end of the cost ladder, you have direct cremation. At the higher end, you have a full burial with an accompanying funeral service. Understand what every option means and how the prices compare to one another. (It’s also important to remember that opting for direct cremation doesn’t mean you can’t also have your own memorial service at a church or even at your home.)

  1. Get a second opinion. When we’re grieving, it can be difficult to even consider paying less for a funeral. After all, we don’t want to mar the memory of someone important to us. Ask a friend or financial advisor to sit down and go over the budget with you. They may have ideas or insight to help you make decisions from a financial place (as opposed to an emotional one).

  1. Put the money in a special account. One of the best ways to avoid overpaying for a funeral is by not allowing yourself to go beyond your budget. Open a bank account specifically for the funeral and related expenses—and only allow yourself to draw from there.

Setting a budget for a funeral might not sound like a good way to show your love for someone, but it makes sense in today’s economy. With so many different types of funerals out there, you can have an incredible ceremony no matter how much money you have to spend.

Please share your thoughts on this article