Funerals are expensive. When someone dies unexpectedly and you are not financially prepared for the bill it can seriously put you and your family in a bad situation financially. The Nationa Funeral Directors Association found in 2017 that the average cost of a burial style funeral is $7,200 and the average cost of a cremation funeral to be $3,100. Most families simply do not have this kind of money laying around to pay this bill. What does this mean for you? Well, if you see the health of a family member declining and anticipate having to organize a funeral in the immediate future you should be aware of how to plan the funeral as well as expenses that you may not have even realized exists.
Grave Plot Fees
It boggles my mind how some cemeteries get away with charging annual fees to bury someone. Not every cemetery will charge an annual fee for the grave plot, however, many will charge for a graveyard plot. This kind of recurring fee can easily triple the cost of a funeral over the course of several years. This fee is on top of other fees such as:
- grave digging fee
- ‘opening of the grave’ fee
- ‘closing of the grave’ fee
The more you know about these kinds of hidden fees, the better you will be at avoiding them or the specific funeral homes that charge these fees.
Body Identification Fee
Some funeral homes will rightfully charge a fee to identify the body. This is important because you always want to properly identify who died to prevent cases of mistaken identity. The fee for body identification is completely unwarranted when the person who has passed away died in a hospital or other healthcare facility. In a situation where someone dies in a hospital, they will already have been identified and accounted for when they arrive at the funeral home. To have the funeral home charge you an additional fee to identify the body is unethical and borderline fraudulent.
Temporary Grave Markers
Often times when you get a custom made headstone for a grave it takes several weeks to engrave, deliver, and install. While this is happening, a funeral home will provide a temporary grave marker. This seems like it should be a free service considering you may only need the grave marker for a week, but you will find some funeral homes charge for this service. You would think that the funeral homes that provide this service would understand the emotionally difficult experience you are going through and try to remove any unnecessary expenses and superfluous paperwork. Alas, funeral homes can be just as greedy as any other business with regards to making a profit. You want to give funeral homes the benefit of the doubt in terms of providing reasonably priced and fair services considering the circumstances. Yet some funeral homes will take advantage of the situation by overcharging for memorial products.
Nobody likes getting nickeled and dimed. Nobody likes getting overcharged for products that can be bought elsewhere for cheaper. If you are trying to save money on a funeral that you are planning you need to understand all the expenses you might encounter. I would like to note that not all funeral homes are trying to rip you off. There are many funeral homes operated by honest and fair funeral directors. Unfortunately, there are also some funeral homes utilizing dubious sales tactics. Knowing what to look for when billed by the funeral home can be very helpful when trying to keep costs down for the funeral. After all, who wants to pay more for an expensive funeral when you can have the exact same memorial service at a cheaper rate.
For a more in-depth analysis of all the ways you can save money on funeral costs, I highly recommend you check out, How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Funeral Expenses.
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