It's nothing any of us want to consider, and yet, the avoidance of the issue may end up costing our loved ones dearly. In a recent study conducted by LIMRA, it was noted that 30% of Americans don't have life insurance – a staple asset many rely on to ensure proper care during (and after) one's end of life. In addition to the inability to pay household bills and care for a family left behind, the mounting cost of funeral services can place a burden on an already grieving family.
Just what are these expenses? We break them down:

Basic Funeral Home Fees
Regardless of whether you go eco-friendly or traditional, there are some unavoidable expenses that come with the business of death. According to an infographic put together by, this includes the cost of permits and legal documents, obituaries, holding the remains and arranging for the final resting place of the body. Since every little detail has a price tag (death certificates, for example, run a minimum of $12), one can expect that these essential but basic services can total in the thousands.

The Details of Dying
Less enjoyable to think about are the actual services performed by morticians and those in the end-of-life industry. These can include transporting the remains, embalming the body and the casket or cremation process. What's interesting to note is the wide range in prices for similar services in this category: cremation, for example, without the pomp and circumstance of a farewell service can come in at under $1,000 if done directly through the cremation service. Compare it with the most costly cremations, done through a funeral home, and you can expect the bill to total $4,000 or more.

The classic burial service, casket and all, will run several times this amount. Factoring in the expense of the casket (average of $2,000), tombstone ($500 to $3,000) and plot ($4,000 or more), it could be an expense of $10,000 to $20,000 at the end of the ordeal. Everything, even the clothes the deceased wears at the viewing, has a price.

Third-Party Services
If you would like the event to have a personal and sentimental touch, there can be a bill for that, as well. Displaying a favorite variety of daffodil or having a special song played after the service will both likely be provided by a service provider outside of the funeral home's jurisdiction. While there is some wiggle room to work down the costs of such services, most grieving loved ones will not want the hassle of bargain-hunting during this difficult time, and many families will pay the asking price to have things taken care of without the drama. Most of these services will need to prepaid before the event, as well.

The Bottom Line
While some friends and families will consider no cost too high to have the memorial service they feel is appropriate, many will find the price tag of even the most modest service to be more than they can handle. To ensure the fees aren't crippling, a simple, prepaid service plan with a reputable funeral home may be ideal; life insurance or death benefit plans may also be a more practical way to keep the bill from becoming a devastating one. Check with your financial planner or financial service professional to see what your end-of-life needs are and to prevent the cost from falling on others after you're gone.

Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    How Life Insurance Works in a Divorce

    Learn the implications of life insurance in a divorce situation, and identify the steps you should take to ensure your policies are sorted out post-divorce.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    Identifying And Managing Business Risks

    There are a lot of risks associated with running a business, but there are an equal number of ways to prepare for and manage them.
  3. Insurance

    Cashing in Your Life Insurance Policy

    Tough times call for desperate measures, but is raiding your life insurance policy even worth considering?
  4. Insurance

    Avoiding The Modified Endowment Contract Trap

    To avoid MEC status, flexible-premium policies must cap the amount that can be paid into the policy over a period of seven years.
  5. Insurance

    Do You Need Short-Term Health Insurance?

    Yes, if you've no other coverage options. Here’s what you need to know about how it works and how it differs from employer-provided and marketplace plans.
  6. Home & Auto

    Make This The Year You Get Vacation Insurance

    With a few simple policy additions you can protect your holiday plans from being ruined.
  7. Options & Futures

    Understanding The Escrow Process

    Learn the 10 steps that lead up to closing the deal on your new home and taking possession.
  8. FA

    Why the Wealthy Should Buy Lots of Life Insurance

    Wealthy clients have an enviable problem — managing, preserving and growing wealth. Properly structured life insurance can help with these goals.
  9. Insurance

    How To Read a Permanent Life Insurance Illustration

    To help you understand your life insurance policy, companies provide a permanent life insurance illustration. Here is how to read and understand it.
  10. Home & Auto

    How To Choose The Right Bond For You

    Bond investing is a stable and low-risk way to diversify a portfolio. However, knowing which types of bonds are right for you is not always easy.
  1. Do beneficiaries pay taxes on life insurance?

    Generally speaking, when the beneficiary of a life insurance policy receives the death benefit, this money is not counted ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I borrow from my annuity to put a down payment on a house?

    You can borrow from your annuity to put a down payment on a house, but be prepared to pay an assortment of fees and penalties. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the biggest disadvantages of annuities?

    Annuities can sound enticing when pitched by a salesperson who, not coincidentally, makes huge commissions selling them. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I determine if a longevity annuity is right for me?

    A longevity annuity may be right for an individual if, based on his current health and a family history of longevity, he ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can your life insurance company sue you?

    A life insurance company generally cannot sue you, but it can sue your estate. The company may do this in order to recover ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center