How Much Does A Funeral Cost?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When someone dies, their loved ones often face the daunting task of funeral arrangements. This can be expensive, but there are a few ways to pay for it. This guide will explore how much funerals cost and payment methods. We will also provide tips for making the process easier for loved ones. Read on for more information.

What’s The Average Cost Of A Funeral?

Funerals may cost your loved ones as much as $10,000. However, with the appropriate precautions, your loved ones can enjoy your life while minimizing financial risk.

Funerals may be an emotional and vital occasion in life, but they may also place a financial strain on those in charge of planning and arrangements. The ideal way to prevent your loved ones from financially struggling after your death is to have a thorough strategy before you die.

You may accomplish this by setting up a life insurance policy for them to pay funeral costs and using a testament to designate how you’d want your funeral to be done. Creating a thorough action plan can help your loved ones avoid financial hardship.

The United States has an average of 2.4 million funerals yearly, with the deceased’s loved ones spending anything from $8,000 to $10,000. Burial is…costly. And it gets more expensive over time. Funeral costs have risen by 227.1% in the last 30 years.

What'S The Average Cost Of A Funeral

Understanding the Components of Funeral Costs

Funerals can encompass a wide range of services and expenses. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the various components that contribute to the overall cost of a funeral. Here, we will break down the main components of funeral costs, providing an overview of each aspect and explaining their significance.

  • Funeral Home Services: Funeral homes provide various services, including the preparation and handling of the deceased, facilities for the funeral service or memorial, and assistance with paperwork and legal requirements. These services can vary in cost depending on the location, reputation, and services offered by the funeral home.
  • Casket or Urn: The casket or urn is one of the most significant expenses at a funeral. Caskets come in various materials, designs, and price points, from simple to elaborate. Urns have many options, including different materials, sizes, and styles. Understanding the different options and their costs can help you make informed choices.
  • Funeral Ceremony or Memorial Service: The type and scale of the funeral ceremony or memorial service can significantly impact the overall cost. Factors such as the location, duration, and number of attendees can influence the cost. We will provide insights into the different types of funeral ceremonies and memorial services and their associated costs.
  • Burial or Cremation: The choice between burial and cremation is another factor that can impact funeral costs. Burial costs can include expenses such as the cemetery plot, headstone, and grave liner or vault. Cremation costs can include the cremation process, urn, and memorialization options. We will provide an in-depth comparison of burial and cremation costs, allowing readers to decide based on their preferences and budget.
  • Transportation: Transportation costs can also add up to funeral expenses. This includes transporting the deceased’s body from the place of death to the funeral home and the cemetery or crematory. Understanding the different transportation options and associated costs can help you plan accordingly.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: There may be additional miscellaneous expenses associated with a funeral, such as flowers, obituary notices, clergy or officiant fees, music, and other personalization elements. We will discuss these miscellaneous expenses and provide insights on budgeting for them.

Tips for Navigating Funeral Costs

Funeral costs can quickly add up, and being financially prepared during this challenging time is crucial. Here, we will provide practical tips on how to navigate funeral costs and make informed decisions.

  • Plan Ahead: Planning and prearranging a funeral can help alleviate financial stress during a difficult time. We will discuss the benefits of prearranging a funeral and provide tips on how to do so effectively.
  • Set a budget: Setting a budget for a funeral can help you make wise financial decisions. We will guide how to create a budget for a funeral and offer tips on prioritizing expenses based on your budget.
  • Compare Prices: Funeral costs vary greatly depending on the funeral home, location, and selected services. Therefore, comparing prices from different providers ensures you get the best value. We will provide practical tips on comparing prices and negotiating with funeral homes.
  • Understand Your Rights: As a consumer, you have rights regarding funeral services. Understanding your rights can help you make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary expenses. We will outline your critical rights as a consumer and how to exercise them.
  • Explore Financial Assistance Options: Financial assistance options may be available to help with funeral costs if you are facing financial constraints. We will provide information on potential financial assistance resources, such as government programs, charitable organizations, and insurance policies.

Who Pays For A Funeral?

The funeral cost is typically paid by the deceased person’s family or estate, although in some cases, it may be covered by insurance or other financial resources.

These resources might cover the funeral cost if the deceased had a prepaid funeral plan or life insurance policy with a funeral benefit rider. In addition, some states have programs that provide financial assistance to low-income individuals to help cover the funeral cost.

If the deceased did not have a prepaid funeral plan or life insurance policy with a funeral benefit rider, and if there are no other financial resources available, the funeral cost may need to be paid out of the deceased person’s estate or by the family members.

If the deceased person did not leave a will and had no assets or savings, the local government or a charitable organization may need to pay the funeral cost.

It is important to remember that the cost of a funeral can vary significantly depending on the type of funeral services and burial or cremation options chosen. To help manage the cost of a funeral, it can be helpful to shop around and compare prices from different funeral homes and to consider choosing less expensive options. Discussing your funeral plans and financial resources with your family may also be helpful to ensure your wishes are fulfilled and to help avoid any financial burden on your loved ones.

The Median Cost Of Funerals

The graph below displays the median funeral costs in 2021 according to the National Directors Funeral Association:

Basic services fee$2,500
Funeral home fees$1,500
Embalming and body preparation$750
Funeral ceremony$925

Medical Bills After Death

This does not include end-of-life expenses such as final medical bills that might have to be paid by your loved ones after you pass away.

Cost Of Funerals And Final Expenses By State

The expense of dying will differ depending on where you reside, much like the cost of living. The table below may give you a sense of what average funeral expenses will be in your state. You’ll see that a burial can cost more than usual in states with high living costs, such as New York and California.

STATEFuneral CostFinal ExpensesTotal Cost
New Hampshire$8,516$15,066$23,582
New Jersey$9,712$17,181$26,892
New Mexico$6,793$12,017$18,810
New York$10,799$19,103$29,902
North Carolina$7,367$13,033$20,400
North Dakota$7,670$13,569$21,239
Rhode Island$9,269$16,398$25,667
South Carolina$7,445$13,170$20,615
South Dakota$7,748$13,706$21,454
West Virginia$7,072$12,511$19,584

Planning For A Funeral

Nobody wants to think about dying, but planning for the people they leave behind is vital. Risk to their financial stability would only add to the agony of your family if you’re already dealing with a loss.

You can safeguard your loved ones from the financial strain of a funeral if you prepare beforehand. There are two essential methods to prepare your loved ones for your death.

  • Make sure they’re financially prepared for the expense of your death
  • List your desires with your financial planner, or write them down in a testament.

How To Prepare Financially For Funeral And Beyond

The easiest way to prevent them from dipping into their savings or getting into debt to arrange their funeral is to purchase a life insurance policy.

Although funeral costs are usually expensive, several other associated expenses connected with death must be considered, such as end-of-life care and regular charges and expenditures you paid.

Your family can finance your funeral and other expenses if you have the appropriate coverage, allowing them to concentrate on honoring your legacy. In addition, life insurance pays out a death benefit to your designated beneficiaries when you pass away, which they can do with as much or as little as they want.

Planning Your Funeral

Your family will need to take action after you pass away. The whole family is going through a difficult period when a loved one dies. Planning a funeral on top of this may be overwhelming.

A funeral is similar to a wedding in that it needs to be planned meticulously. Every detail must be handled, from selecting your coffin to arranging the food and flowers for your memorial service. The distinction is that most people spend months planning their weddings, but funerals must be planned in only a few weeks and are exacerbated by grief.

Writing down your instructions may make it less stressful for your loved ones. For example, you might choose cremation or a green burial instead of a conventional funeral. If you don’t inform your family about these desires, they will never find out.

You can also leave instructions regarding your burial in your testament or written directives with someone who oversees your affairs, such as a financial advisor or lawyer.

Making Informed Decisions During a Sensitive Time

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, especially during grief and loss. Therefore, informed decisions aligning with your wishes and budget is crucial. This section will guide making informed decisions during this time, ensuring you are comfortable with your choices.

  • Communicate and Collaborate: Funerals are often a collaborative effort involving family members and loved ones. Effective communication and collaboration can help ensure everyone’s wishes are considered while managing costs. We will provide tips on communicating and collaborating effectively during funeral planning.
  • Prioritize Your Needs: Funeral expenses can quickly add up, and it’s essential to prioritize your needs based on your budget and preferences. We will discuss how to identify and prioritize the essential elements of a funeral, allowing you to make choices that align with your needs and values.
  • Consider Alternatives: Traditional funerals may not be the only option available. Alternative funeral arrangements, such as green or eco-friendly funerals, home funerals, or direct cremations, can be more cost-effective while honoring the deceased’s wishes. We will provide insights into these alternatives and their potential cost savings.
  • Ask Questions and Seek Clarification: It’s crucial to ask questions and seek clarification from funeral service providers to ensure you fully understand the costs and services involved. We will provide a list of questions to ask funeral homes and tips on seeking clarification to avoid surprises or hidden costs.

Types Of Life Insurance For Funerals

Several life insurance options help you safeguard your loved ones from financial hardship if you pass away. Each pays out a death benefit, but how they function and their coverage varies considerably.

Term life insurance

The most popular form of life insurance is a term life policy. It generally ranges between ten to thirty years and is the most cost-effective option. Because a term life policy is the most affordable, it’s an excellent choice to get the most coverage for your money.

Although a term life insurance policy is typically the best option for most individuals, it does have an expiration date. So if you want to use term life insurance to pay for your funeral expenses, don’t lose your coverage by converting your term to a permanent life insurance policy or purchasing a new life insurance plan.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It lasts the rest of your life but is five to fifteen times more expensive than term life insurance.

Final expense life insurance

If you’re closer to retirement and don’t have to worry about daily expenditures for your family, final expense insurance can be an intelligent alternative. It’s typically more expensive than term life insurance, but it doesn’t need a medical test and is a guaranteed issue, so long as you can make the premiums and aren’t terminally ill.

The final expense plans, also known as Burial Insurance, have a relatively low death benefit, but they’re enough if all you want is funeral costs (and perhaps last medical expenditures). It’s somewhat more expensive than term life insurance, but it ensures that your loved ones are looked after if you can’t get a standard life insurance policy.

Estate Planning And Probate

Understanding that a will isn’t a guarantee against financial strain is critical. So if you’re counting on leaving your estate and assets to your beneficiaries so they may financially support your loved ones and pay for the funeral, it’s vital to note that this plan isn’t foolproof.

When you pass away, your property is subject to probate, which ensures that your assets go to the people you specified in your testament, examines where you may owe debts, and ensures that any creditors you owe get paid.

Because your dependents may not receive as much as you intended if the payment is paid to creditors before they get anything from your estate, they might not receive enough to pay for a funeral or have to make difficult financial decisions regarding funeral costs. As a result, they could have no money to pay for your burial.

Is A Life Insurance Policy An Asset?

Creditors cannot take a life insurance policy, which is not subject to the probate procedure. The individuals may only receive the payout on the policy you designate in it — making it an excellent method to provide financial aid to your loved ones in the event of your death.

Finally, your executor doesn’t distribute your estate and assets as rapidly as the life insurance death benefit because of the probate system.

Helpful Tip: If you’re searching for an affordable solution to complete your estate planning, including the creation of a living trust and testament, we highly recommend:

Are Funeral Expenses Tax Deductible

Next Steps

In conclusion, understanding the cost of a funeral is an essential aspect of funeral planning. By adopting a people-first approach and focusing on the benefits to the reader, we have provided authoritative and trustworthy information on funeral costs in a friendly, approachable, and confident tone. In addition, we have explored the different components contributing to funeral costs, offered tips on navigating the financial aspects, and guided in making informed decisions during this sensitive time. By planning, setting a budget, comparing prices, understanding your rights, exploring financial assistance options, and making informed decisions, you can make choices that align with your needs, preferences, and budget while honoring the memory of your loved one. We hope this guide has been informative and helpful in shedding light on the costs associated with funerals, and we extend our heartfelt condolences during this difficult time.

How Much Does A Funeral Cost And How To Pay For Burial And Funeral Expenses.

Need Help Getting Life Insurance Coverage?

Contact us if you need help purchasing a life insurance policy. The service is free of charge.

Life Insurance Inquiry

Frequently Asked Questions

Is funeral expenses tax deductible?

No, funeral expenses are not tax deductible.

How Much Is It To Bury Someone?

The cost of burying someone can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of funeral service, the location, and the type of burial. On average, a traditional funeral with a burial can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 or more. This includes funeral services, a casket, a burial plot or mausoleum space, a headstone or grave marker, and other expenses.

Is $10000 enough for a funeral?

Is $10,000 sufficient to cover funeral costs? Financial specialists usually advise setting aside more than this figure; many final expense life insurance policies provide an even higher benefit of up to $10,000. When budgeting for your loved one’s funeral expenses, it is wise to aim for at least that amount as the starting point.

What if nobody wants to pay for a funeral?

The county usually has several options to help with burial or cremation costs. However, suppose your family does not have any money for this. In that case, they will still be able to receive assistance from the local government, which would cover all appropriate arrangements and disposal of the body through modern cremation techniques.

Who pays for the funeral if?

The decedent’s family typically arranges and pays for the funeral service, then works to recuperate the expenses from their departed loved one’s estate. Whoever organizes the burial is immediately accountable for footing that bill.

Why do funerals cost so much money?

It’s because it takes around-the-clock labor and ample facilities, such as viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, and more. Therefore, when calculating the cost of funerals, one must not forget to include: retrieving your loved one from where they passed away, embalming & any applicable esthetic treatments, and transportation via a hearse or private automobile.

What is the etiquette for funeral money?

Funeral money is not traditionally given as a gift, though sometimes it would be appropriate to make an exception. For example, if the deceased’s family is left in dire financial straits, friends and family could work together to contribute funds for assistance.

Is it normal to pay for your funeral?

Pre-paying Prepayingral plan is an option that many people are turning to alleviate the financial and emotional burden of making decisions on their behalf after they pass away. This way, loved ones can focus on grieving without worrying about the costs of memorializing them.

What is the cheapest way to hold a funeral?

Cremation is often the least expensive option if you’re looking to keep funeral costs down. However, certain aspects such as flowers, venue hire, catering for the wake, and paying for a burial plot will still incur an additional cost. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why cremation can be cheaper; it eliminates steps like embalming or dressing the body, and families do not need to view the deceased in person if they choose not to.

How much is a graveside funeral

A graveside funeral costs vary based on several factors, including location, funeral home fees, casket/urn choice, and burial plot expenses. It can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

*Disclosure: Some of the links in this guide may be affiliate links. I may receive a commission at no cost if you purchase a policy. It helps us keep the lights on!

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

Scroll to Top