What Will You Leave Your Heirs? Hopefully Not Burial Costs

March 18, 2021

Talking about your own funeral is never a fun conversation especially burial costs. However, it’s even less fun to leave it for your grieving heirs to plan and finance a funeral with no input from you. It’s a good idea to think through what kind of funeral you want. There are also many ways to finance all the expenses so your family doesn’t have that extra burden at such a difficult time. We have several ideas for you, so even though it’s not the most cheery subject, let’s get started. 

How Much Are Burial Costs?

Funerals can get very expensive very quickly. The average burial cost is around $8,000, while the average cremation comes in at about $6,000. You can provide for the expenses in several ways. One is to simply set aside money each month in a savings account. If you go this route, you need to make sure that your family can access the money once you’re gone. Saving up money can be difficult, and you might find yourself in an emergency and need to dip into your savings. 

If a savings account isn’t practical, there are several other options. Life insurance is often a good way to have money for funeral expenses. Be sure to choose a policy that will be available to your heirs when it’s needed. There are also life insurance policies called Final Expense Policies that are specifically written to cover funerals. It can be helpful to have the money earmarked so there are no arguments between family members about how to spend it. 

You can also pre-select the funeral home you want and set up a pre-payment plan. Many funeral homes offer this service, so you should be able to pick the one that will cater to your needs best. 

When it comes to burial costs, that doesn’t include the service. Lots of factors will influence the final price tag of a funeral or memorial service. A casket is often a large expense, but the burial plot, flowers, venue, and refreshments also start to add up. You can do your family a huge favor by writing down your wishes and discussing them together. 

Plan the Type of Service You Want to Have With Your Family Members

The first question is whether you want a funeral service or a memorial. The body is usually present at a funeral, but it is not at a memorial. Some people would rather have a small funeral with only family and close friends and then have a larger memorial service open to acquaintances and work colleagues. 

If you belong to a religious or spiritual tradition, the funeral service may be already mapped out for you. In other traditions, you have more leeway for planning what you want at the service. Other people simply prefer to have control over the program. You want to think about who you want to speak at your service. Do you have clergy you want to invite to give a sermon? Are there particular friends or family members whom you would like to give a eulogy? Ask them in advance and make sure they are up to the task. You should also plan out what type of music you want as well as flowers. There are several types of venues to hold a funeral or memorial. A house of worship, a funeral chapel, or a large auditorium are all possible options. Your religious faith, the number of people attending, and the cost will determine what is right for you. 

You’ll also have to decide whether you want to have a viewing of the body or visitation. At a visitation, mourners have the opportunity to grieve together, though the body is not usually present. 

Food is another important consideration. It’s not necessary to have a meal after a funeral or memorial, but it’s a nice custom. Think about what type of food and drinks you want to serve. Having the meal catered can take a lot of hassle away from family members.

Last of all, think about how to invite people to the service unless it’s going to be very small. Make sure your family members have access to physical and e-mail addresses and phone numbers of your friends and colleagues. You might want to consider whether you want to make an announcement in the local newspaper, to a professional group you’re part of, or to your college or university alumni association. 

We hope this list will help you and your family make preparations for your final rest easier on everyone. Subscribe to Senior Life to get more tips on living your best life. 

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