Funeral Service Shopping: Planning Tips Part 5 of 7

Part 5 – Funeral Pricing

In our world, when thinking of making a major purchase, we often times will shop around for the best prices, to find the item we like best, etc.  Funerals should be no different except that if you are faced with making decisions unexpectedly, just as you would be if the HVAC broke in your home, you might make spontaneous decisions.  This is one of the major advantages of pre-planning your funeral. 

The following is a list of some things to consider when thinking about certain details which will impact the total cost of a funeral.

  • Disposition of remains will be immediate burial or immediate cremation?  If cremation, cost of cremation.
  • Is the body being donated to a medical school or hospital?  If so, what are the arrangements for the donation?
  • Basic services for the funeral director and staff include:
    • Pickup of deceased
    • Embalming
    • Other preparation of body (makeup, hair, nails, etc.)
    • Visitation/viewing – staff and facilities (funeral home, other location)
    • Funeral or memorial service – staff and facilities
    • Graveside service – staff and equipment (hearse, other vehicles)
    • Transportation of body from/to another funeral home
  • Other Expenses such as visitor book, memorial cards, thank you notes, obituary costs, etc.
  • Casket or container for cremains
  • Burial Vault/Grave Liner
  • Cemetery Charges, including cost of lot or crypt?  Will there be perpetual care costs, what will be the cost of opening and closing, cost of marker or monument?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.

Part 6 will discuss Interment Options.



About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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