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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Funeral Service

Funeral Service Cost


How Much Does a Funeral Service Cost?

 
low costGraveside Ceremony: $150-$850+average costService in Funeral Home or Mortuary: $250-$1,100+high costComplete Funeral Package: $850-$15,000+
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A funeral or memorial service is an official ceremony honoring and remembering the dead person, and the service can be religious or secular in nature. The casketed body is present for a funeral (the casket may be open or closed), but for a memorial the body is generally not present, although an urn of cremated ashes might be on display during a memorial service. A funeral service is typically held in a church, synagogue, chapel, funeral home or mortuary, or at the gravesite. A memorial service might be held in any of those places or in a family home, a park, by the seashore or in any other meaningful spot.

Typical costs:

  • Most churches do not charge for the funeral service of an active member of their congregation, but it can be customary to give a donation of $50-$200 or more to the church. Non-members may be charged rental fees of $200-$500 or more, depending on the number and type of facilities, and the length of time they are needed. It's also customary to pay an honorarium of $50-$250 or more to each clergy member leading the service, the organist or other musicians, and anyone else performing during the ceremony (with the exception of family members or close friends). These fees are separate from the charges by a funeral home or mortuary for handling, preparing and transporting the body. See How Much Does a Funeral Cost.
  • A traditional Jewish funeral is simple, and not ostentatious. Costs can range from $500 to $10,000, but average $4,000 to $6,000 for all expenses. For details, see How Much Do Jewish Funerals Cost.
  • Charges to have a funeral home or mortuary coordinate a simple graveside funeral ceremony with only a few mourners start between $150 and $450 for a few chairs and casket-lowering equipment. A larger ceremony can cost $500-$850 or more depending on location and number of staff people needed on site.
  • Having a funeral director organize a funeral or memorial service in the funeral home or mortuary, or in a local church, synagogue, chapel or other venue can cost $250-$1,100 or more, depending on the size of the funeral and the number of staff people needed on site. (Often the charges are the same whether the service is held in the funeral home or at another location, because the main cost is staff time.)
  • These charges are for only the funeral ceremony and do not include the cost of the casket ($900-$10,000 and up) or gravesite ($250-$5,000), or fees for services such as embalming ($200-$700) or transporting the body ($125-$300 per trip), or the basic fee ($700-$2,000) that federal law allows funeral homes and mortuaries to charge anyone using their services. Complete funeral packages that cover most of these items can run $850-$2,500 for a direct-burial package with a simple graveside service or $6,000-$15,000 or more for a full traditional funeral with all the options. Midgley Gardenside Mortuary in California charges $275 for equipment and staff at a graveside funeral service, and $2,000 for an economy graveside package including casket. Most funeral packages do not include the gravesite, which can cost $200-$5,000 or more.
Related articles: Funeral Processions, Funeral Flowers, Casket, Jewish Funeral, Funeral

What should be included:
  • A funeral is traditionally held relatively soon after the death, while a memorial can be held immediately or several weeks or several months later. A coalition of funeral homes in Rochester, New York, provides an overview of funeral etiquette[1] for both guests and the bereaved.
  • The basic elements of a funeral or memorial service may include writings such as poems or essays of significance to the deceased; for a religious ceremony, prayers or a meditation and a sermon or homily; a eulogy, which is a short speech describing the deceased person's life; stories from friends and relatives recalling the deceased; and appropriate music. The Rochester funeral homes offer guidelines for writing a eulogy[2] ; the blog GodWeb.org provides suggested readings[3] for a Christian funeral or memorial; and Funeralwise.com[4] lists possible readings from a variety of sources, both religious and secular.
Additional costs:
  • Most funeral homes and mortuaries add a surcharge of $50-$450 for funeral or memorial services held in the evening or on weekends.
Discounts:
  • If the deceased qualified for Social Security benefits, a surviving spouse (or a dependent child if there is no surviving spouse) might be eligible for a special $255 death benefit from Social Security[5] .
Shopping for a funeral service:
  • Nonprofit local funeral or memorial societies[6] are often a good source of information about organizing a funeral or memorial service, and how to get the best rates.
  • Search for local funeral homes or mortuaries with the National Funeral Directors Association or the Selected Independent Funeral Homes[7] , or at TheFuneralSite.com. Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[8] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.rochesterfuneralhomes.com/Resource_Guides/Funeral_Etiquette.html
  2.  www.rochesterfuneralhomes.com/Resource_Guides/Writing_a_eulogy.html
  3.  www.godweb.org/funeralreadings.htm
  4.  www.funeralwise.com/plan/ceremony/read
  5.  www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/ifyou7.htm
  6.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
  7.  www.selectedfuneralhomes.org/
  8.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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