Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough as it is. Funerals—as unpleasant as they can be—are necessary to help us find the closure we need and thereby process our grief so we can ultimately move on with our lives.
But how do you pay for funeral expenses? Are there options besides covering the expenses entirely on your own?
If you find yourself under financial stress trying to pay for a funeral, we can help. Below, we provide a detailed breakdown of funeral-related costs to help you and your family manage your expenses in times of distress.
How Much Does a Funeral Cost?
There’s no exact figure for this question. Very generally speaking, funeral costs tend to range between $7,000 and $9,000, with the median cost hovering at $7,360.
- Professional services fees
- Service room fees
- Cremation and burial
- Staffing fees
- Transportation for family members
- Insurance policies
Most people pay for funeral expenses with either cash, credit cards, or a check. A word of caution—some funeral homes expect full payment up-front, whereas others allow you to pay via an installment plan if you negotiate with them.
Concerning location, funeral costs correlate generally with cost of living. Funerals in New York likely dwarf those in Wyoming. If you live in Texas, the average cost is around $7,103. Again, exact figures differ, so take these estimates with a grain of salt.
You also need to think about whether you want to cremate or bury your loved one. The latter option will cost you more since you have to consider the price of a casket and the burial plot.
Finally, consider the funeral home you selected, as some charge higher fees than others. The good news is while funerals can be pricey, there are several avenues you can pursue to ease the financial burden.
Paying for Funeral Expenses: 8 Solutions to Try
How do you pay for funeral expenses? If you’re having difficulty finding the right solution to minimize funeral costs, remember you’re not alone. Consider the following options below as you determine the best solution:
1. Use the Right Insurance
Check your loved one’s insurance policies to see if they set aside money to help cover funeral expenses. For example, some life insurance policies allow you to utilize a cash payout to reduce funeral expenditures if you are the beneficiary.
However, review the terms and policy requirements carefully before going down this route. Additionally, consider additional insurance types, including:
- Term Life Insurance: As long as the terms haven’t expired, beneficiaries receive a death benefit that can be used to cover funeral-related costs.
- Whole Life Insurance: Like term life, whole life insurance guarantees payment to beneficiaries as a death benefit. In this case, beneficiaries would receive cash payouts to cover funeral expenses.
- Pre-Need Insurance: In some cases, you can purchase a pre-need insurance plan from your funeral home for your arrangements. Make sure you work with them to specify the arrangements you and your family desire.
Like other states, Texas residents qualify for burial insurance. This is a life insurance policy designed to reduce the financial hardships of end-of-life expenses. When the policyholder passes away, the beneficiary receives a payout.
2. Consider Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is a method of soliciting and raising funds for a specific cause. In other words, it’s a donation strategy—and a powerful way to manage funeral expenses when they become too large to handle on your own.
Not only is this a cost-effective way to manage unexpected emergencies, but you may be surprised at the amount of social support you receive as you cope with a life-altering event.
3. Acquire a Loan
A loan is a viable option, especially when other solutions are off the table. If you do decide to acquire a loan, proceed with caution. The last thing you need to do is to take on tremendous debt due to high-interest rates and unreasonable payment plans.
Fortunately, with cash advance loans, you take control of unexpected financial hardships that come your way (including memorial expenditures). The loan approval process can be surprisingly simple, requiring only a checking account. Alternatively, you can opt for either installment or payday loans for burial-related costs.
4. Compare Low-Cost Burial Alternatives
By low-cost alternatives, we mean skipping traditional funeral steps to reduce costs while still honoring the memory of your loved one. For example, consider the location of your memorial service. Conducting a service at home will undoubtedly be much cheaper than at a church.
If you have the funds, use your own casket instead of having the funeral home provide one. Do you wish to embalm your loved one (the chemical process of preserving a body)? While Texas doesn’t require embalming, it does for bodies held for over 24 hours.
5. Request Help from Government Programs
If your loved one was a member of the United States Armed Forces, you may be eligible to receive reimbursements for funeral-related expenditures from the Department of Veteran Affairs. The amount of funds you may receive will differ.
For service-related deaths, the VA will pay upwards of $2,000 toward burial costs. For non-service deaths, payments will amount to $796 (provided your loved one was hospitalized by Veterans Affairs at the time of death). If not, your coverage will only amount to $300.
It is important to note that if you received reimbursements from other government agencies, you may not be eligible for VA benefits.
6. Get Assistance from Religious Organizations
It’s common for religious organizations and houses of worship to help members of their congregations cover funeral costs. The USA Catholic Church Charities is a great starting point for acquiring the funeral funds you and your family need.
Funds may be limited, so you may need to explore other venues if faith organizations cannot provide enough assistance to cover your expenses.
7. Reach Out to Friends and Family Members
Your friends and family stick with you through difficult times—there is nothing shameful about reaching out to them for financial support. Remember, funerals are difficult to manage independently and financially. Utilize the support groups you have, especially a tight-knit family, to help cover expenses.
Remain grateful for any amount of assistance you receive from them.
8. Use Survivor Benefits
While Social Security doesn’t cover funeral-related expenses, there is another route you can take: survivor benefits. If your spouse was receiving benefits at the time of their passing, you are eligible for a one-time payment of up to $255.
Provided you have viable options to cover larger expenses, a survivor’s benefits is a kind gesture that can help ease any financial stress.
What Happens If You Can’t Afford a Funeral?
That depends on the next course of action you decide to take. If this is the case, there are a couple of options you can pursue. You can donate your loved one’s remains to a private organization for medical research. Alternatively, you can sign a release form with your county’s coroner’s office.
The state will then cremate or bury the body. The good news is you may receive the opportunity to claim your loved one’s ashes for a fee.
Request a Loan from Power Finance Texas
Losing a loved one is emotionally challenging—no one should have to carry the burden of acquiring the funds to conduct a proper funeral and honor their memory. At Power Finance Texas, we believe no family should remain in financial distress amidst difficult circumstances.
Take advantage of our client-centered loans to find the right lending solution for funeral costs.
Apply now for a personal loan.