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Funeral Costs

Making funeral arrangements generates a complex mixture of emotions in most of us.

We want the best for the one we loved, yet we may be appalled at the costs.

To estimate your own costs, see the Funeral Cost Calculator

The long-term costs

In all U.S. states, and most Canadian provinces, funeral homes are required by law to give you a detailed price list if you ask for it.

It may seem difficult to think about money at a time like this, but not thinking about money can have dreadful financial consequences for you after the funeral.

The bills can take years to pay off, and the survivors may have difficulty in meeting monthly expenses.

Sometimes a family will use all of the money from the life insurance or death benefits to pay for the funeral.

Would it be a better memorial to the deceased to use some of this money to help those he or she loved — or indeed, to help others in the community who may be less fortunate?

The cost of a traditional funeral

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission: "A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although 'extras' like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards or limousines can add thousands of dollars to the bottom line.

Many funerals run well over $10,000.

The cost of the burial is additional.

Here's one example:

Professional and administrative services (embalming, funeral home staff during the visitation, and so on) ... $1,650

Facilities and equipment (preparation room, visitation room, reception room, chapel) ... $850

Transportation (transfer from the place of death, funeral limousine, and cars for the family) ... $450

Merchandise (casket, vault, prayer cards, temporary grave marker) ... $2,515

Cash disbursements (flowers, cemetery plot, obituary, death certificates, honorariums, headstone) ... $1,828

Total (not including taxes) ... $7,293

The extra costs

A specific funeral home will not necessarily list the charges in this way, they may have more or fewer categories, and the actual value of the goods and services will certainly differ from one firm to the next. But the list will at least give you an idea of how many different costs there are in a typical funeral, and how quickly they add up.

The "extra costs" include all the items that are not directly related to the costs of burial or cremation. For instance, the cost of flowers, the obituary, honorariums, guest books, and so on. These costs may be listed under headings such as "cash advances" or "cash disbursements" or "stationery."

To estimate your own costs, see the Funeral Cost Calculator

Write a Eulogy You'll Be Proud Of . . .

A Eulogy to Remember“I can't tell you what a great help your publication was in helping me to write a tribute to my Mom. As you know, it is a very stressful time and I don't think I could have done it without the help of your book.
It not only helped me with the writing, but also with the delivery. I was able to control my emotions (which is very hard for me to do), and followed all of your suggestions for staying calm during her funeral service.”

— Irene Bissell, Ocean Park, BC


Click here to learn more about this downloadable Eulogy book

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