here are some top funeral planning tips from SLS

Top 5 Tips For Seniors To Follow When Planning Their Funeral

Talking about planning your funeral can seem morbid, but it can also save your family time, money, and stress in the long run. Giving your input now – both emotionally and financially – can help relieve some of the burdens when you are gone. Follow our five tips that seniors should follow when planning their funeral.

  1.  Start Early

You should start planning your funeral earlier than you think. And no, that is not meant to sound as ominous as it does. However, health can decline rapidly at any moment. Planning way ahead will help ensure that you have made all of your decisions thoughtfully and thoroughly with your family’s full input. 

There is also a financial incentive to start earlier. If you consider burial or life insurance at a younger age, your monthly premiums will be smaller. Of course, this means that you will be paying for a longer time. However, decreasing your monthly premiums by starting at a younger age will help your social security check and retirement funds stretch longer once you are no longer working. 

  1. Estimate and Compare Your Costs

You have multiple options when it comes to planning your funeral. To pick one, you should know how much a funeral actually costs. The funeral cost depends on whether you are doing a burial or a cremation. Generally, burials are more expensive due to the casket and plot with grave opening. 

Funeral with Burial:

  • Non-Declinable basic services fee: $2,195
  • Removal/transfer of remains to the funeral home: $350
  • Embalming: $750
  • Other preparation of the body: $255
  • Use of facilities for viewing: $425
  • Use of facilities for the funeral ceremony: $500
  • Hearse: $340
  • Service car/van: $150
  • Printed materials: $175
  • Metal burial casket: $2,500-$5000

Funeral with Cremation:

  • Non-Declinable basic services fee: $2,195
  • Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home: 3$50
  • Embalming: $750
  • Other preparation of the body: $255
  • Use of facilities for viewing: $425
  • Use of facilities for the funeral ceremony: $500
  • Hearse: $340
  • Service car/van: $150
  • Printed materials: $175
  • Cremation fee if using a third party: $350
  • Cremation casket: $1,200
  • Cremation urn: $295

Without a cremation casket and urn, the total cost of a funeral with cremation is around $5,150. With the casket and urn, the price is $6,645 on average. 

Miscellaneous costs also add up but differ based on your area. These include:

  • Flowers: $500-$700
  • Burial wreaths: $100-$200 each. 
  • Obituaries: $200-$500
  • Grave Plot: $1,000-$4,000 
  • Opening and closing of grave: $1,000
  • Monument/Marker: Upright: $2,000-$5,000 for an upright marker, $1,000 if lying flat
  • Church Service Donation: $50-$200.
  • Reception: $400-700 + food cost
  1. Understand Your Pre-Pay Options

Many people don’t realize that they can prepay for their funeral. This is called preneed insurance. With preneed insurance, you pick one funeral home and prepay for your funeral. Many financial advisors advise picking out individual services rather than going with a package which may include items you do not want. 

While prepaying for your funeral may seem convenient, there are a few drawbacks. First, these plans are often nonrefundable. That means if you move away from the funeral home or they go out of business, you will not get your money back. Second, certain items may increase in cost with inflation. These are called non guaranteed services. Your loved ones will then have to pay the difference anyway.

  1. Understand Your Insurance Options

You have two options when it comes to insurance covering your funeral costs. Burial insurance and life insurance will both cover these costs. Let us compare the two.

Burial insurance is a miniature type of life insurance plan. It has no term limit and is affordable due to its relatively small death benefit size. A burial insurance plan will only pay between $2,000 and $50,000, depending on the policy itself. Your loved ones can use the death benefit for anything. Usually, people use the policy for funeral costs, outstanding loans, medical debt, etc., although the company sets no restriction on how your beneficiaries can use the death benefit. 

Life insurance has a much larger death benefit, offering a minimum of $50,000 over $1,000,000.  This means that the plans are more expensive every month. They are also more difficult to qualify for if you have any medical problems. Like burial insurance plans, there is no restriction on what the beneficiaries can spend the money on. Because the plans are so large, families can easily pay for the funeral with the death benefit and have the majority left over for other uses.

Overall, a life insurance policy or burial insurance policy is preferable over a preneed insurance policy as they are more flexible and financially safe than a preneed policy.

  1. Plan Ahead with Your Loved Ones

Looping in your loved ones while you are planning your funeral is a good idea. The beneficiaries should know your plan details, your funeral details, and your healthcare details, such as an advanced directive. Keeping all of the documents together can help keep your family organized amidst the chaos.

Planning for your funeral can seem bizarre. However, it can save your family money and further distress in what will already certainly be a distressing time. Staying prepared and knowing your options will help you pick the best choice for you. For all of your questions about financial preparation for your funeral, contact us at Senior Life Services today.


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