Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Funeral

Funeral Cost


How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

 
low costDirect Burial: $700-$2,400average costDirect Cremation: $1,000-$9,000+high costFull-Service Funeral Package: $6,000-$15,000+
post E-mail post Post  

Total funeral costs can refer to not just the ceremony but also to all the products and services that can add thousands of dollars to the process of paying final respects to a loved one.

Typical costs:

  • Funeral homes and mortuaries must offer an "immediate burial" or "direct burial" package without a ceremony, although a small graveside service might be included. The body is buried in a simple container shortly after death, with no viewing. This costs $700-$2,400, not including the cemetery plot ($200-$5,000) and internment fees ($350-$3,000 for opening and closing the grave), bringing total expenses to $1,250-$10,400. See How Much Does a Gravesite Cost.
  • A direct cremation package consists of simple containers for the body and ashes; and no viewing, embalming or funeral service. It typically averages $1,000-$2,500 when purchased from a funeral home, mortuary or crematory. Cremation plus a full traditional funeral package, including embalming and visitation, can cost $2,000-$9,000 or more (not including the gravesite and internment fees). See How Much Does Cremation Cost.
  • Although funeral homes and mortuaries usually offer funeral "packages" with standard services and products included, federal law allows consumers to pick just the items they want. However, funeral homes and mortuaries are allowed to charge a basic fee to cover staff time for consultations and other expenses. Also called a minimum or professional services charge, this basic fee can range from $700-$2,000 depending on the location and company.
  • Total costs for a traditional full-service funeral package -- with a viewing or visitation, a formal funeral service, a hearse to transport the body, plus burial, entombment or cremation -- start around $6,000-$9,000 but can easily increase to $10,000-$15,000 or more, depending on what's included.
  • Charges that can raise the total funeral costs if not included in a package are fees for washing and dressing the body ($95-$400); embalming ($200-$700); using the funeral home and staff for a viewing or visitation ($100-$1,200) and funeral or memorial service ($100-$1,100 or more); limousines or other vehicles to transport family members ($125-$500 and up depending on size and distance); an escorted funeral procession ($450-$1,800) and a more elaborate casket ($900-$10,000 and up) or other container.
  • Items not typically included in average funeral costs include a How Much Does a Gravesite Cost ($200-$5,000); a grave liner or burial vault ($400-$5,000 or more), if required by the cemetery; and if above-ground burial is desired, a crypt in a mausoleum ($3,000-$30,000 in a community building or $25,000-$500,000 or more for a private mausoleum). These can bring total expenses to $6,000-$15,000 for a typical funeral and burial, or $11,000-$35,000 or more for high-end top-of-the-line materials and services.
Related articles: Gravesites, Casket, Funeral Service, Funeral Processions, Estate Planning

What should be included:
  • CaregiversLibrary.org presents a funeral planning checklist[1] , and the nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance of Vermont provides a pamphlet listing common funeral myths[2] .
  • The Federal Trade Commission offers a detailed Consumer Guide for Funerals[3] .
  • A coalition of funeral homes in Rochester, New York, provides an overview of funeral etiquette[4] for guests and the bereaved.
Additional costs:
  • There can be additional fees for outside services such as a published newspaper obituary (from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the publication), additional death certificates ($5-$25 a copy), flowers (averages $400-$500 for a floral package), or other items. If not included in a package, memorial cards/programs can cost $20-$50, a guest register can be $17-$170 and acknowledgment/thank you cards can be $10-$50.
  • Be aware of time limits. Most funeral homes or mortuaries allow up to an hour of viewing or visitation before a funeral service, and charge $100-$200 an hour for additional time.
  • Honorariums for an officiate/celebrant to lead a funeral or memorial service, or for musicians such as an organist, harpist or bagpiper, can run $50-$250 each, depending on local rates and the person's relationship to the bereaved family.
Discounts:
  • All veterans who served honorably in any of the United States military services (and their eligible dependents) are entitled to free burial in a national cemetery, a free grave marker (in any cemetery) and a U.S. flag. The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance provides an overview of potential veterans benefits[5] . Details about eligibility are available from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance provides tips for saving on funeral costs[6] .
  • 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[7] .
Shopping for a funeral:
  • Each funeral home is required to provide a general price list. The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance explains how to read a funeral home price list[8] , including potential pitfalls.
  • The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance provides an overview of body and organ donations[9] .
  • Funeral or memorial societies are nonprofit educational organizations that may have negotiated a member discount with local funeral homes. Find a local society through the affiliates directory[10] of the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
  • Funeral homes and mortuaries generally offer the same service at similar prices, but funeral homes do not offer cremation on site and in most places mortuaries can offer on-site cremation. Search for local companies with the National Funeral Directors Association or Selected Independent Funeral Homes[11] , or at TheFuneralSite.com. Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[12] .
post E-mail post Post  
CostHelper News


3 Ways to Have the Government Pay You Back for Your Energy Efficient Upgrades
Any renovations or upgrades made to your home this year that included energy-efficient appliances could be eligible for some federal energy tax credits. But it's not just appliances. || Posted December 9 2013


7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


 

Comment On Your Experience With a Funeral
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Products and Services Included: Funeral Home/Mortuary: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.caregiverslibrary.org/Portals/0/FuneralPlanningChecklist.pdf
  2.  www.funerals.org/faq/52-common-funeral-myths
  3.  www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0070-shopping-funeral-services
  4.  www.rochesterfuneralhomes.com/Resource_Guides/Funeral_Etiquette.html
  5.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/general/60-veterans-funeral-and-burial-bene...
  6.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/funeral-arrangements/66-ten-tips-for-saving...
  7.  www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/ifyou7.htm
  8.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/funeral-arrangements/28-arrangements/47-how...
  9.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/body-organ-donation/69-body-and-organ-donat...
  10.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
  11.  www.selectedfuneralhomes.org/
  12.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
More Personal Finance Topics
Check Out All Costs for Personal Finance How Much Does Closing a Home Cost? How Much Does a Traffic Ticket Attorney Cost? How Much Do Funeral Flowers Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com



Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
A 9-miles ride in ambulance with no medical attention cost 1200 in WA
Paid: 1200.00
This is legal rip-off. In my case, just a 9 miles ride from 1 hospital to the other without any medical attention cost me 1200 out of pocket. How can states attorneys and legislators let this happen everywhere... [more]
-TomN
Ambulance Cost
First tat
Paid: 0.00
I am 17 now and I am looking to get a pair of tribal wings on my upper back. This will be my first tattoo and would really like to have some advice about them... [more]
-Dannyboy
Tattoo Cost
All Propane Dealers are NOT crooks!
Paid: 1.89
In January of 2004, I bought my new 1000 gallon propane tank from Anderson's Propane of Bergman, Arkansas. Delivered about 100 miles from Bergman, installed, with a regulator, for a total of $1,519.66... [more]
-Eric Williams
Propane Tank Cost
ripoff
Paid: 15000.00
Family member charged with 7 felony accounts for a single act decided by the officer who took the report. The police report went to the AP and articles in tons of papers. Blown way out of proportion and one - sided... [more]
-America Lost
Felony Defense Attorney Cost
Stress Test
Paid: 1400.00
Agreed to test only as precautionary and peace of mind. Dr. office called ahead to be sure insurance would cover, in-network, etc.... Bill for procedure: 1600.00 (I owed 500... [more]
-DBR
Stress Test Cost
mold
Paid: 5500.00
Shortly after moving into my "new 2006" mobile home, I became aware of a cracked waterline under the house. I had a plumber repair it. This was 2011. In 2014 January I became very sick..found it was black mold under thd house... [more]
-Mary Solberg
Mobile Home Insurance Cost