Funeral And End Of Life Expenses

Don’t Let End of Life and Funeral Expenses Bury You In Debt

Prepare yourself financially with a proactive plan end-of-life that includes health care expenses, funeral and burial costs, and other end-of-life actions. Planning now will help eliminate crippling financial debt and emotional turmoil for your family.

Updated on Oct 09 2019

Planning for your funeral and other end-of-life care

Prepare yourself financially with a proactive plan end-of-life that includes health care expenses, funeral and burial costs, and other end-of-life actions. Planning now will help eliminate crippling financial debt and emotional turmoil for your family.

What are typical end-of-life expenses?

Most Americans are unaware of true long-term health care costs. According to a recent survey from Moll Law Group, respondents estimate long-term care costs to be approximately $25,350, while in reality, the number is closer to $47,000 or more. Not only that, assisted living facilities average $45,000, while semi-private nursing homes average $85,775 and private nursing homes cost just shy of $100,000, according to 2017 Genworth data. Funerals can cost upwards of $7,000, depending on the services provided.

With costs being so outrageous, it’s important to get organized and save for end-of-life during your retirement planning.

How can you proactively prepare for end-of-life costs?

First and foremost, getting your essential legal documents is crucial for end-of-life preparation so that not only your healthcare wishes are honored, but also your assets and estate are examined, as well.

Here are some end-of-life costs to consider, which can vary based on the care and services needed:

  • Nursing home, memory care or assisted living care costs
  • Hospital stay and operation costs
  • In-home care
  • Doctor visits
  • Hospice stays

If healthcare costs are part of your retirement planning, you can help avoid Medicare or Medicaid issues when it comes to funding senior living care and hospital visits as there won’t be surprises. An expert financial advisor can help you set up a financial investment portfolio to help you prepare for these costs.

Typically, funerals are the the most expensive end-of-life cost if healthcare is addressed ahead of time.

What is the median cost of a funeral?

There are several types of funerals. Between 2004 and 2014, the median cost of an adult funeral increased 28.6 percent, from $5,582 to $7,181, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). End-of-life costs surprise many families while they are dealing with emotional turmoil.

Being prepared with a plan that honors your wishes and covers the costs is like a last gift you can give your grieving family members. Here are the main funeral options:

  1. Traditional full service funerals (cremation or burial) — This is the most expensive type that include viewing and service.

  2. Direct burial and direct cremation — This option doesn’t include viewing or visitation, so it doesn’t include embalming. Direct burials have memorials held at the graveside for a service fee along with plot, casket, or burial container. Direct cremation means the body is cremated shortly after death and placed in an urn or other container. These remains can be kept at home, buried, placed in a crypt, or scattered in a special spot. If you are cost conscious, according to the NFDA, overall cremation is about 15.3 percent less than the average burial.

Funeral costs vary depending on location and service provided, but here is how costs can accumulate:

  • Burial
  • Cremation
  • Donation of body to medical school or hospital
  • Traditional Full Service (Burial or Cremation)
  • Service fee for funeral director and staff
  • Body Pickup
  • Embalming
  • Dressing the Body
  • Casket
  • Visitation/Viewing staff and facilities
  • Funeral or memorial service staff and facilities
  • Graveside service
  • Hearse or transport
  • Cemetery Costs

How can you prepare for funeral costs?

The first step is to think of your funeral and your individual end-of-life preferences. Make a plan with a financial advisor to help fund costs and review what you can cover with savings and your life insurance.

Additional Planning Tips:

  • Make a plan of funeral preferences
  • Save funds dedicated to funeral expenses
  • Shop around in advance. Compare prices from multiple places and remember that you can supply your own casket or urn.
  • Ask for a price list. The law requires funeral homes to give you written price lists for products and services.
  • Avoid emotional overspending. Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don’t really want or need. It’s not necessary to have the most expensive casket or have the most elaborate funeral for you or loved ones.
  • Recognize your rights. Laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state. It’s a smart move to know which goods or services the law requires you to purchase and which are optional.
  • Apply the same shopping techniques you use for other major purchases. You can cut costs by limiting the viewing to one day or one hour before the funeral, and by dressing your loved one in a favorite outfit instead of costly burial clothing.
  • Shop in advance. It allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.

Be Prepared for End-of-Life Costs

Healthcare is one of the largest retirement expenses in America today and catches many families by surprise. Diligent retirement planning can ensure financial peace of mind in your golden years and alleviate financial and emotional stress for your loved ones when you pass. Connect with a financial advisor today to get your end-of-life planning in order.


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