How Much Does A Funeral Cost?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

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

Funerals may be an emotional and important 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 in place before you die.

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

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

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The Median Cost Of Funerals

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

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

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.

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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, in states with high costs of living, such as New York and California, a burial can end up costing more than usual.

STATEFuneral CostFinal ExpensesTotal Cost
Alabama$6,933$12,264$19,197
Alaska$10,084$17,840$27,924
Arizona$7,530$13,321$20,852
Arkansas$6,746$11,934$18,681
California$11,777$20,834$32,611
Colorado$8,198$14,503$22,701
Connecticut$9,914$17,538$27,451
Delaware$8,392$14,846$23,238
Florida$7,600$13,445$21,045
Georgia$6,925$12,250$19,175
Hawaii$14,975$26,492$41,467
Idaho$7,165$12,676$19,841
Illinois$7,336$12,978$20,314
Indiana$6,987$12,360$19,347
Iowa$6,995$12,374$19,369
Kansas$6,909$12,223$19,132
Kentucky$7,057$12,484$19,541
Louisiana$7,290$12,896$20,185
Maine$9,122$16,137$25,259
Maryland$10,069$17,812$27,881
Massachusetts$10,216$18,073$28,290
Michigan$6,902$12,209$19,111
Minnesota$7,887$13,953$21,841
Mississippi$6,684$11,825$18,509
Missouri$6,762$11,962$18,724
Montana$8,299$14,681$22,980
Nebraska$7,049$12,470$19,519
New Hampshire$8,516$15,066$23,582
New Jersey$9,712$17,181$26,892
New Mexico$6,793$12,017$18,810
Nevada$8,423$14,901$23,324
New York$10,799$19,103$29,902
North Carolina$7,367$13,033$20,400
North Dakota$7,670$13,569$21,239
Ohio$7,049$12,470$19,519
Oklahoma$6,754$11,948$18,702
Oregon$10,418$18,430$28,849
Pennsylvania$7,895$7,895$21,862
Rhode Island$9,269$16,398$25,667
South Carolina$7,445$13,170$20,615
South Dakota$7,748$13,706$21,454
Tennessee$6,886$12,182$19,068
Texas$7,103$12,566$19,669
Utah$7,639$13,514$21,153
Vermont$8,889$15,725$24,614
Virginia$7,818$13,830$21,647
Washington$8,594$15,203$23,797
West Virginia$7,072$12,511$19,584
Wisconsin$7,554$13,363$20,916
Wyoming$6,933$12,264$19,197

Planning For A Funeral

Nobody wants to think about dying, but it’s vital to make plans for the people they leave behind. A 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 ahead of time. There are two essential methods to prepare your loved ones for your death.

  1. Making sure they’re financially prepared for the expense of your death
  2. Make a list of your desires with your financial planner, or write them down in a will and testament.

How To Prepare Financially For Funeral And Beyond

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

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

Your family will be able to 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. When a loved one dies, it’s a difficult period for the whole family. 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. From selecting your coffin to arranging the food and flowers for your memorial service, every little detail will need to be handled. 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.

You may make it less stressful for your loved ones by writing down your instructions. For example, instead of a conventional funeral, you might choose cremation or a green burial instead. 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 will and testament or as written directives with someone who oversees your affairs, such as a financial advisor or lawyer.

Types Of Life Insurance For Funerals

There are several life insurance options to help you safeguard your loved ones from financial hardship if you pass away. Each pays out a death benefit, but the way they function and the kind of coverage they provide vary 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 if you want 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, be sure you don’t lose your coverage by converting your term policy to a permanent life insurance policy or purchasing a new life insurance plan entirely.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance. It lasts the rest of your life, but it 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.

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Estate Planning And Probate

It’s critical to understand that a will isn’t a guarantee against financial strain. 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 will and testament, as well as examines where you may owe debts and makes sure 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. They could end up having no money to pay for your burial.

Is A Life Insurance Policy An Asset?

Creditors cannot take a life insurance policy, and it is not subject to the probate procedure. The individuals may only receive the payout on your 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.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’ve sold 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. 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. 

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