Paying for a Funeral: What to Do When You Can't Afford One

Monday, December 2, 2019

The average funeral costs between $7000 and $10,000. If you're planning a funeral and don't have this kind of money, what should you do? Just because you're not rich, doesn't mean you need to compromise the quality of your loved one's funeral. 

So, how do you pay for it?

Check out this guide to learn about paying for a funeral when you can't afford one. 

Look Into Low-Cost Burial Options 

First things first, you should look into low-cost burial options. Typically, cremating someone is less expensive than using a vault or burying the deceased in a casket. 

Also, if the state you're in doesn't require that you embalm the body, you should also consider doing a "green burial". With a green burial, you don't have to worry about paying for a headstone, vault, or an expensive casket. 

Instead, you place the deceased in the soil in a manner that does not disrupt the decomposition of the body. This also always the body to be naturally recycled back into the earth. 

Lastly, you may want to consider donating your loved one's body to science, as this is a great no-cost alternative. However, keep in mind that there are restrictions to this and that a medical facility has the right to refuse a donated body. 

Consider Taking Out a Loan 

Many people take out loans to help pay for funeral costs. However, you should only do this if you have good credit and you know you can pay off the loan in a timely manner. 

You should also avoid taking out a cash advance on your credit card, as this will result in extremely high interest rates, and you could end up crippled with debt. 

Ask Family Members to Chip In 

Paying for a funeral should be a joint effort. Although it can be awkward to ask family members to chip in, chances are, they'll be happy to help out. 

When asking for help, you should have a frank conversation about how much the funeral is going to cost. Many people have no idea how much a funeral actually costs, and once they understand the large expense, they'll be more likely to contribute. 

When asking for family members to chip in, keep it as fair as possible. Create a spreadsheet of how much everything costs, and make sure to track how much everyone contributes. 

You can also raise funds for the funeral through crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter. 

Inquire About State/Federal Assistance 

If you can't get the money together to pay for a funeral, it's also possible to get help from the government. 

If you're the surviving child or spouse of someone who qualified for Social Security benefits, then you can get $255 to help pay for costs. 

You can also talk to your local coroner office and sign a release that says that you can't cover the costs of the funeral. Once you sign this release, the county or state will cover the costs of the cremation or burial.

You Don't Have to Go into Debt Paying for a Funeral

As you can see, there are many options you have when it comes to paying for a funeral. 

If you have any questions about these options, contact us. And, be sure to check out this guide to learn why you should preplan a funeral.  

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