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 LifeInsuranceQuotes.info, 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. Markets

    The 5 Biggest Chinese Insurance Companies

    Read about the top Chinese insurance companies by market capitalization, and learn a little about their positions in the marketplace.
  2. Insurance

    5 Ways to Lower Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn several effective methods for lowering life insurance premiums. These include quitting smoking and considering term life insurance.
  3. Insurance

    Understanding Taxes on Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn about the tax implications of life insurance premiums, including when they might be taxable and whether they are tax deductible.
  4. Insurance

    Whole or Term Life Insurance: Which Is Better?

    Learn the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance. Understand when it is beneficial to buy each type of life insurance.
  5. Insurance

    Umbrella Insurance: You May Need It, Too

    If you have assets to protect – or just run a business from home – you could be unpleasantly surprised at how much you need umbrella insurance.
  6. Insurance

    Who is a Beneficiary?

    A beneficiary is a person or entity that receives funds, assets, property or other benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR S&P Insurance

    Learn about the SPDR S&P Insurance exchange-traded fund, which follows the S&P Insurance Select Industry Index by investing in equities of U.S. insurers.
  8. Retirement

    Strategies for a Worry-Free Retirement

    Worried about retirement? Here are several strategies to greatly reduce the chance your nest egg will end up depleted.
  9. Markets

    The 5 Biggest Canadian Insurance Companies

    Learn more about the insurance industry as a whole, how it functions in Canada, and the five largest Canada-based insurance companies.
  10. Insurance

    How to Shop for Home Insurance

    Tips for getting the best protection for your place and possessions.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Directors And Officers Liability ...

    Directors and officers liability insurance covers you if you're ...
  2. Automatic Premium Loan

    An insurance policy provision that allows the insurer to deduct ...
  3. Cestui Que Vie

    The individual who is the beneficiary of a trust or insurance ...
  4. Classified Insurance

    Insurance coverage provided to a policyholder that is considered ...
  5. Guideline Premium And Corridor ...

    A test used to determine whether an insurance product can be ...
  6. Cash Value Accumulation Test (CVAT)

    A test method used to determine whether a financial product can ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the main factors that impact share prices in the insurance sector?

    The main factors that impact share prices in the insurance sector are interest rates, earnings and actuarial risk. In the ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why do insurance policies have deductibles?

    Insurance policies have deductibles for behavioral and financial reasons. Moral Hazards Deductibles mitigate the behavioral ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Which emerging markets are seeing the strongest growth in the insurance sector?

    The emerging market economies seeing the strongest growth for the insurance sector are primarily the main emerging market ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do insurance companies use a whistleblower?

    Fraudulent claims are among the most prevalent and serious business risks that insurance companies face. Many consumers have ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How is maintenance of standard of living for survivors accomplished in estate planning?

    Estate planning is an integral component of comprehensive financial planning, as it allows individuals and couples to maintain ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What options strategies are best suited for investing in the insurance sector?

    Three segments comprise the insurance sector. The largest, property and casualty insurance, exhibits significantly less volatility ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!