How Much Do Funerals Cost?
In the days following the loss of a loved one, funeral planning can add an extra burden to already fragile grievers. Not to mention the stress that comes from having to make a myriad of important decisions within a short period of time. And then there’s the shock of cost.
Currently, the average funeral in the United States costs anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. This range includes the services at the funeral home, burial and installation of a headstone. And keep in mind that prices may vary greatly, depending on different funeral homes and their location in the country. Here is a list of some reasonable average costs that are involved in a basic funeral:
- Funeral Director’s fee: $1,500
- Casket: $2,300
- Embalming: $500
- Using the funeral home for the actual funeral service: $500
- Grave site: $1,000
- Grave digging cost: $600
- Grave liner or outer burial container: $1,000
- Headstone: $1,500
This list includes just the main items. Other costs incurred could include the fee for placing an obituary in the newspaper and flowers. Other questions that could arise include what type of service should take place, should the deceased be buried or cremated, and depending on which is chosen, what kind of casket or cremation urn should be picked? What about which funeral home to choose—family-owned or not? What about the possibility of donating the body to science?
Costs can vary, but the average cremation is $2,000 to $4,000. Cremation is generally less expensive than traditional funeral services. If no viewing or visitation is involved, and there is no entombment, the remains can be kept in an urn in the home or scattered, so there are no burial or casket costs. Every funeral home should provide itemized costs if asked.
In considering all these different issues, it’s no wonder that most family members have difficulty planning a seamless ceremony, free from anxiety and conflict.
How to Talk About What Your Loved One Would Want
Norman Fishman, a family adviser at Hillside Memorial in Culver City, Calif., says that since most people are in denial about their imminent end when a loved one dies, that denial is ever-pervasive at the exact time they are forced to make decisions with long-lasting consequences, often with other family members who have differing opinions.