Dealing with the death of a loved one is something that most families must do more than once in a lifetime. When the death is sudden or very unexpected, families may find that they are struggling with both their own grief and sense of loss as well as concerns about how they will be able to afford the cost of the final arrangements. If your family has just received the devastating news that a loved one has passed away and you find that financial issues are creating even more sadness, here are a few tips to help reduce final arrangement costs while still providing the respect and honor your loved one deserves.
Determine what the arrangements will cost
Meeting with a trusted funeral director as soon as possible is the best way to get exact information on what the final arrangements will cost. The Funeral Rule was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission to help protect consumers and promote full disclosure of service fees and costs associated with the funeral industry, and part of it requires funeral homes to disclose full information about costs.
Once you have this list of information, you can use it to discuss the arrangements with other members of the deceased's family to determine what choices should be made. This is also the appropriate time to ask the funeral home about terms for payment and whether a payment plan is offered.
Decide if help from other family members is possible
Families traditionally help each other during times of loss, such as the death of a loved one. So it is entirely appropriate to speak privately with family members and ask for their financial help in covering the cost of the final arrangements. In addition, many families now use crowdfunding and other fundraisers to help with financial needs related to the loss of a loved one.
Determine if other options are plausible
In many cases, opting to use cremation instead of a traditional funeral and interment can provide substantial savings on the costs of a loved one's final needs. While it is fairly common for families to choose to bury the cremains in a cemetery plot, an increasing number are now choosing to store them in an urn at home or scatter them according to the wishes of the deceased. Both options can eliminate the need for a burial plot, a headstone, embalming, caskets, and a vault, adding up to substantial savings on the total costs.
Having a frank discussion with the director of a funeral home can help grieving families better understand their options for reducing the costs involved after the loss of a loved one.