How Much Will A Funeral Service Cost?

With the death of a person, grieving family members and close friends of the deceased often have to deal with plenty of tasks regarding the funeral. As a funeral service takes place with the presence of the body of the deceased, all the important decisions regarding funerals must be made quickly and within a budget.

When planning a funeral there are many essential decisions to be made like – the type of funeral, which funeral home to contact, whether there will be burial or cremation, whom to invite and so on. But the decisions cannot be made easily as there is always the question of how much a funeral is going to cost.

As per the survey done by 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.”

According to the Federated Funeral Directors of America, the average regular adult funeral cost in the U.S. was $4,287 in the year 1966. The total cost of a funeral will vary greatly depending on location, the type of funeral chosen by a customer and the funeral home. According to law, funeral homes need to provide the customers a price list of their services. Customers can ask for the general price list via phone, mail or in person.

When it comes to funeral costs, there are three main sections where the total cost is divided. The three sections are:

Basic funeral home fees:

According to the funeral rules of the US, there is a basic service fee that funeral homes charge the customers and to enjoy the services provided by the funeral homes customers need to pay this service fee. The basic fee is charged for some of the common services required in a funeral. Some of the common services are getting necessary burial or cremation permits, making copies of death certificates, housing the dead body, preparing the necessary notices and making necessary arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or any other organization. The basic fee vary a lot depending on the funeral home used. However, the average basic fee charged by funeral homes operating in the US is around $1,595.

Other services:

Apart from the common services, there are also many other things required in a funeral for which you need to make payments. For instance you will have to make payments for transportation, embalming, use of the funeral home for viewing, ceremony service, use of graveside service equipments along with staff of the funeral home, use of a hearse, a casket and so on. This is one section where you can tell your preferences to the funeral home and some adjustments can be made according to your budget for the funeral. In all the U.S. states, as per law funeral homes need to give you a detailed price list if you ask for it.

Important cash advances:

There are many goods and services that you may have to buy from outside. Such goods and services are known as cash advance items. Some examples of cash advance items are the obituary, honorariums, guest books, funeral flowers and so on. You can ask the funeral home to make such purchases on your behalf and you can later on pay the funeral home for their services. According to the funeral rule, if the funeral home is adding a service fee to their cost they need to mention about it in writing. There are some funeral homes that do not charge any additional money for their service.

In the US the overall cost of a traditional funeral is between $7,000 and $10,000 in the year 2010.  For a traditional funeral involving burial and installation of a headstone, here is a reasonable estimation of the main cost:

  • Basic fee of a funeral home: $1,500
  • The cost of a casket: $2,300
  • Embalming: $500
  • Cost for the actual funeral service: $500
  • Cost of a grave site: $1,000
  • Cost to dig the grave: $600
  • Cost of a burial container: $1,000
  • Cost of a headstone: $1,500

If the above mentioned price list is taken into consideration the total cost of a funeral is around $9,000. This is a cost estimation of just the ‘main’ items required in a funeral.  There are many additional costs for floral arrangements, prayer cards and family transportation that can make the total cost of a funeral much higher. Also as cremation is getting popular in the US, the total cost of the funeral is becoming less as compared to a traditional funeral service involving burial. So, the decision regarding burial or cremation can have a huge impact on the total cost of a funeral service.

To conclude, during funeral arrangements one goes through a complex mixture of emotions, but then also you need to act practically. It is not logical to plan a funeral beyond your budget. So, first decide on the budget and then plan accordingly to avoid dreadful financial consequences after the funeral.

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