There are many funeral expenses people overlook when funeral planning after the death of a loved one. The sorrow and grief following the death of a family member can make it difficult for you to focus on important funeral planning details. You may think that you have covered everything, but there are some items that you may tend to overlook – especially when you are planning the expense of a funeral.
Nobody is ever prepared to lose a loved one. The experience will be emotionally exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be financially draining if you’re prepared. Knowing all of the funeral expenses and how to prepare for them can keep you worry-free when the time comes.
Funeral expenses can be a challenge to pin down if you are trying to plan for a funeral in advance. Sometimes there can be some miscellaneous funeral expenses that you may overlook in your estimate. This article will cover some of the details you need to be aware of, in the hope that you will remember to include these items in your funeral plan.
FUNERAL EXPENSES PEOPLE OVERLOOK
Your funeral and burial can be one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make. In fact, extras like flowers, music and obituary notices can make the cost of a traditional funeral from roughly $8,000 to over $10,000.
Why do funerals cost so much? Consider these often overlooked expenses that add to the cost.
Some of the funeral expenses people overlook are:
#1 – COST OF BURIAL OR CREMATION
People may often leave out the cost of their burial or cremation. Even if you work with a specific funeral home regarding pre-paying for your funeral service, there can be a long list of other items that are not covered by the funeral services. These can include the actual cost of burial and cremation.
When you purchase a burial package, it will usually include the removal of the body from the place of death, embalming, dressing and casketing to prepare the body for the visitation. Included in the cost are the funeral ceremony and the delivery of the body to the cemetery.
The basic service fee of the funeral home is usually not included in the burial package price. Traditional burial packages range from $2,600 to $6,000 depending on inclusions.
Cremation is more inexpensive compared to a burial ceremony.
Crematories will typically charge between $175 and $300. However, you need to purchase other services along with the cremation procedure.
These can include hiring a funeral home to pick up the body from the place of death to the crematory, hiring the crematory to place the ashes into the urn, storing the urn until they pick it up, and obtaining the necessary legal permits for the cremation. You will also need a container or urn to place the ashes.
Be forewarned that many funeral homes offer cremation packages but don’t include the actual cost of cremation.
Most funeral homes do not provide cremation services because the funeral home doesn’t own the crematory. The cremation fee is added to the cost of the funeral home’s cremation package. Cremation packages range from $500 to $3,000 depending on the inclusions.
#2 – EMBALMING EXPENSES
Embalming requires draining the body of fluids and replacing them with embalming chemicals to temporarily preserve the body for viewing.
Embalming is not required in any state, but some state requires embalming if the body is not cremated or buried within 24 to 48 hour of death. Embalming ranges in price from $225 to $1,212.
#3 – THE COST OF THE CEMETERY PLOT
The funeral home may not include the cost of a cemetery plot in the overall bill, and you may end up with a surprising amount of bills because of this.
The price of cemetery plot depends on your location, whether you choose a public cemetery or private cemetery. Rural cemeteries are less expensive than urban cemeteries. The cemetery cost also includes the service of people to open the burial ground and vault used to reinforce the grave site.
Some cemeteries have an urn garden or a particular area for cremated remains. Plots in the urn garden are smaller than a standardly sized plot. You will need to check if the cemetery will require you to purchase a small burial container for the urn.
The average cost of a cemetery plot:
Burial plot in public cemetery – $200 to $2,000
Burial plot in private cemetery – $2,000 to $5,000
Burial plot for cremated remains in public cemetery – $350 to $500
Burial plot for cremated remains in a private cemetery – $1,000 to $2,500
#4 – CEMETERY AND MONUMENT COST
Monuments, headstone and grave markers are the terms used to describe the stone or metal sign used to indicate who is buried in the grave.
Grave markers typically lie flat on the ground and are made with granite or metal. Monuments are upright and made of granite or marble often rectangular in shape. The engraving, delivery, foundation, and installation are all the fees associated with each marker can cost from $500 to $12,000.
You will still need to consider cemetery expense in your plans whether you choose burial or cremation.
Cemetery expense would include the cost of a niche in a columbarium or mausoleum, and the cost of plaque or monument, along with the monument installation fee. The cemetery owner and monument or place maker determine these fees because the funeral home does not include it in their cost.
#5 – DEATH CERTIFICATES
You need to determine how many death certificates you will need.
Copies of death certificates are generally used for life insurance policies, veterans’ benefits, social security, banks, stocks, bonds, or for any other documents or establishments. You will need to purchase multiple copies, possibly more than you think you will need.
The state or municipality determines the cost of the death certificate and may change over time.
The death certificate cost is approximately $11 to 13 for each copy.
#6 – OBITUARY COSTS
You can be surprised by the cost associated with publishing an obituary in a newspaper, especially in a larger city. Most papers will publish an obituary for celebrities, prominent locals and public figures for free.
While some newspapers are willing to publish obituaries for free these notices are usually limited to a number of lines, just the person’s birth and death dates, biographical information or pictures are not included.
Obituaries in newspaper range in price from free to more than $600. The average cost is $298 for 20 lines and a picture.
#7 – TRANSPORTATION
If your loved one dies locally, the funeral director will transport his body to the funeral home.
If the death happens out of state, there will be additional expenses like a flight or service vehicle. Expect additional costs if you need to move your loved one from one funeral home to another.
Transportation cost to receive your loved one from another funeral home can range from $440 to $2,040. Transportation cost to forward your loved one to another funeral home can range from $780 to $2,520.
Transportation expense may include transporting the remains from the location of death to the funeral home or crematory to the burial site.
The funeral home’s fee includes the picking up of the body from a private residence or hospital and delivering the remains to the funeral home.
The quoted amount is usually based on a 25 miles radius. It is more expensive to pick up a body from private homes because two staff members are required for this type of removal.
Night and holiday body removal can also be more expensive. The average removal expenses range from $125 to $500.
#8 – BURIAL CLOTHES COSTS
Some families want their loved one to be dressed in proper clothes for the visitation, funeral, and disposition.
Most funeral homes offer unique burial clothes for this wardrobe need. You can purchase complete outfits including complete burial clothing and burial shoes from the funeral home.
Men’s burial clothing outfits including suit, shirt, and tie range from $170 to $400. Women’s burial clothing cost $95 to $350.
#9 – FUNERAL HOME EXPENSES
Funeral homes charge the cost of managing the funeral. The funeral home will utilize staff to handle the visitation, submission of paperwork for permits and death certificates.
The basic services fee covers services like the initial meeting to plan the funeral, preparation and filing of authorizations and permits, coordinating with the cemetery or crematory or other third party providers.
Each funeral home is different, and the inclusions of their services are different as well.
Average funeral costs include overhead expenses such as professional licensing, insurance, legal and accounting fees, administrative expenses, parking lot and grounds maintenance, building and utility expenses.
Families are required to pay the basic services fee on top of other services they will request. Basic services fee can be covered in the price of the package or service.
There is a wide range of funeral home charges for basic services fees that range from $480 to $3,000.
#10 – CHURCH OR VENUE CHARGES
If you decide to have a funeral or memorial service outside the funeral home facility, you may need to pay for the venue you choose for the use of their space. Make sure to set aside enough amount for the rental of the space to be used for funeral service, viewing, and reception after the funeral.
#11 – CASKET COSTS
Caskets are available in different styles and materials. It can be made from wood, steel, copper, bronze, fiberglass, plastic, and biodegradable materials. Caskets are one of the most expensive funeral products. Caskets can range in price from $200 to $65,000.
Wood caskets – $345 to $12,000
Metal caskets – $1,000 to $12,000
Cardboard or fiberboard caskets – $50 to $500
#12 – BURIAL SHROUD COST
Burial shrouds are a kind of fabric that is wrapped around the body. It has been used for burial rites for thousands of years.
Today, burial shrouds are used for green burials. Some companies are now creating burial shrouds to be used for burials. These shrouds contain a series of fabric handles for four people to be able to move the body. Burial shrouds price range from $195 to $1,000.
#13 CREMATION URN COSTS
Cremated ashes can be placed in any container, but most people choose to purchase cremation urns.
Urns become the final resting place of the ashes of a loved one. There are many things to consider when selecting cremation urns, cremation options, and the cost of urns. There are a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes to choose from.
Urns can be personalized, hand-crafted, and made of different materials such as ceramic or marble urns. The price of urns ranges from approximately $80 to $2,000.
#14 FUNERAL MUSIC COSTS
If you choose to have special music, you will need to pay an honorarium. Additionally, the musicians you choose to hire will determine the cost.
Soloists (either musical or vocal typically) charge by the hour but some may charge a flat fee depending on the number of songs performed. Most of the time musicians include a travel fee.
The more popular the musician is, the more they are likely to charge. Custom crafted funeral music tells the life story of the loved one in a very personalized and meaningful way and can be used for a video tribute. The average musician cost is $150 per funeral.
#15 – CLERGY AND CELEBRANT COSTS
Offering an honorarium to the celebrant or clergy person is customary.
A family friend may officiate for free if you have an arrangement in advance.
The clergy is ordained by religious denomination, while a celebrant may not have any religious affiliation but have the training regarding funeral services. The clergy and celebrant cost ranges from $50 to $500.
Some funeral homes have clergy or celebrants on a contract or the staff. The clergy will meet with your family a day or two before the ceremony to prepare the eulogy.
If you purchase a funeral package make sure to check if the clergy or celebrant is included in your package. If it is included, there is no need to offer an honorarium because they are already being compensated for their work.
#16 – FLOWERS
The costs of flowers fluctuate depending on the time of the year. Because of this, the actual cost can be hard to pin.
Funeral flowers can be an expensive hidden cost that many families do not factor into the funeral costs. Many funeral flower arrangement can range from $100 to as high as $600 depending on the flower arrangements chosen and the floral company. Funeral homes may have its florist, or they can purchase floral arrangement on your behalf.
There are two floral arrangements you can choose from:
Casket spray – a cascading assortment of funeral flowers that are placed on top of the casket
Standing easel display – flower arrangements which are attached to a free-standing easel placed in a wreath.
#17 – PALLBEARERS
Pallbearers are usually family members and friends. However, it may sometimes be difficult to find six or eight pallbearers.
If you need assistance with pallbearers, the funeral home can provide help if needed. You will need to pay for the services of the pallbearers.
#18 – POLICE ESCORT
You may request a police escort for the funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery. With a police escort, the funeral procession will be able to move through the traffic without traffic delays. The cost associated with a police escort is determined by local rates.
While not all-inclusive this list shares eighteen funeral expenses people often overlook. Even if think you have everything covered, some of these items may be left out.
When all the funeral expenses are added up, the average cost of a funeral with other final expenses can exceed $10,000. This amount that many families just simply do not have readily available.
One smart way to ease the family’s worries is to purchase burial insurance or a final expense policy. Burial insurance can cover the cost of the funeral and final expenses. These policies are available to people between the age of 50 and 85. Often the face amounts on these policies are in the range of $1,000 to $25,000 – although some insurance carriers will allow more coverage.
When you are ready to purchase burial insurance, it is better to work with an independent insurance agency like Funeral Funds who can directly compare multiple policies for you.
By reviewing the policy, coverage, insurance company, and premium cost, you will be able to make a better purchasing decision. If you are ready to take action, fill out the instant quote form on this page or call us at (888)862-9456 to assist you.