According to the latest information from the National Funeral Directors Association, the median funeral cost with a viewing, burial, and cremation was $7,848 in 2021. These are just the national medians. Funerals can cost more or less depending upon the state you live in and what services you choose to include. These costs can help […]

According to the latest information from the National Funeral Directors Association, the median funeral cost with a viewing, burial, and cremation was $7,848 in 2021.

These are just the national medians. Funerals can cost more or less depending upon the state you live in and what services you choose to include. These costs can help families to plan a funeral. Understanding how they breakdown will make it easier. Funeral expenses are often the most expensive expense when a loved one passes away.

Funeral cost breakdown

Here’s a quick overview of the cost for an adult funeral, including viewing and burial services.

Median Prices

Basic service fee

Transport of remains to a funeral home

Cosmetic preparations

View using funeral home staff/staff

Funeral home staff

Service car/van

Printed materials

Median price of a funeral with viewing or burial

Burial vault

Median price with burial vault

These costs do not include grave markers, monuments, cemetery fees or other items that may be required by the funeral home such as flowers or obituaries.

Basic service fee

This fee covers all services required for a funeral. However, it can vary by state and funeral home. The basic services fee covers:

  • Funeral planning.

  • Preparing notices.

  • Storing the remains after the death.

  • Coordinating with an cemetery or crematorium.

Additional funeral services fees

Families can add a variety of optional services and features, including

  • Embalming: In 2021, the national median cost of embalming was $775. Additional services such as cosmetology and preparation of the body are also available. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), most funerals cost about $275.

  • Transporting remains: In 2021, the national median cost to transfer the body to a funeral house was $350. According the NFDA. Renting a hearse for the transfer of the body from the funeral home into the cemetery may add $350.

  • Memorial services and viewing hours: In 2021, the national median cost for a funeral home’s staff and facilities was $450. Additional fees may apply if the family wishes to hold a memorial service. The national median cost is $515 according to the NFDA.

  • Vaults and caskets: According to the NFDA, the average cost of a metal burial container is $2,500. A burial vault can be an additional $1572.

Cash advances

Cash advances are fees that funeral homes charge for services and goods they purchase from third parties in the course of funeral planning. These payments could include payments to musicians, florists, clergy, pallbearers, or newspapers for obituary notices.

How do I pay for a funeral

Funerals are expensive. But there are a few options that can help you to reduce the burden.

Funeral trusts: These trusts can be irrevocable and funded with a specific amount to cover all funeral expenses. You can prefund the trust with cash, or name it as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy.

James Ryan II, a licensed funeral directors at Farrell-Ryan Funeral Home, Rochester, New York, stresses the importance of funeral trusts to people who need long-term care. Ryan states that nursing home costs can be very expensive. I’ve seen nursing homes that cost up to $26,000 per month. People in such a situation are likely to run out of money quickly. New York allows you to put money aside in a funeral trust. Creditors can’t seize the funds once they are in the trust, even if there isn’t enough money to pay for them span>

Jack Mitchell IV, President of the NFDA, is also a licensed funeral directors at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, Baltimore. He shared similar sentiments. He says, “If someone is going to have to apply for medical aid, it is important that the money be placed in an irrevocable Trust.”

Accounts that are payable on death (or POD): These bank accounts let you set aside funds to pay for funeral expenses. After your death, the beneficiary you have named gains control and access to the account. Make sure that the person who handles the account is trustworthy. POD accounts don’t need to be probated so that your beneficiaries can immediately access the funds after your death.

Prepaid funerals: In some cases, you can prepay your funeral and lock in the price of your funeral so that you don’t have to pay more in the future. Ryan states that prepaying your funeral is a great way to give families and individuals some relief from rising funeral costs. While not all funeral homes offer this service, some do. If you were to come in today and find out that your funeral will cost $10,000, then you would prepay that amount. If you die in 2050, that same funeral could cost $25,000. However, since the funeral is pre-paid, your funeral will be fully paid .”

Mitchell clarified that price guarantees in most cases will only apply to basic funeral services fees and merchandise purchased from the funeral home. We don’t have control over the pricing of things such as flowers and clergy so these things cannot be guaranteed. He says that if prices rise, the family might need to settle the difference by talking to the funeral home.

Directly from the estate. Assets taken from the estate of the deceased can be used for funeral expenses. Unfortunately, assets from the estate are not usually available until the probate process has been completed. This can take many months. In these cases, the executor usually pays funeral expenses. Once funds are available, they are reimbursed by the estate.

Borrowing: A loan can be obtained to pay for funeral services. However, this should only be used as a last resort by family members. Funeral loans can be difficult to obtain and often have high interest rates.

How can you save money on your funeral

  • Request quotes from various funeral homes.

    The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule gives you the ability to compare prices between different funeral homes. Funeral directors must also provide pricing information over the phone and a written itemized pricing list to customers. You can also choose the services that you wish to receive.

    . Prices can vary greatly. According to the NFDA data, 2021, the minimum service fee for funeral homes was $365. The highest was $5,910. Ryan states, “The first thing that I tell people is to get quotes from different funeral homes.” “I have seen prices as high as twice what we charge for similar services. It’s important that people understand that they can shop around.”

  • Caskets and burial vaults can be expensive so be careful. Ryan states that there is no reason to spend too much money on a vault or casket. There are caskets that work better for aesthetic purposes. They all do the same thing .”

  • Consider your options when it comes to obituaries. It can cost anywhere from $100 to $800 to run an obituary for the local newspaper. Most funeral homes permit you to post an obituary online, which can be shared on Facebook and other social media platforms.

  • Consider asking the funeral home if they can arrange transport of cremated remains. This is often much cheaper than shipping. Ryan, who is based out of New York, says that cremations should be performed in the state in which the deceased was buried. It is also beneficial to call the funeral director where you want them to be buried, rather than where they died. Trade rates will be charged by funeral homes in other states to transport remains. This means that it will cost less to transport the remains to Florida if I call them as a funeral director span>

  • You should order fewer death certificates. They are necessary for the management of the transfer of assets and accounts of a loved ones. Courts often charge fees to obtain certified copies of a deceased certificate. The fee is usually per document. While some funeral homes recommend ordering 8-10 copies, others will suggest that you start with 3-5 copies if you want to cut down on processing fees. If you need more, you can always order them all.

  • Mitchell suggests that you reconsider the ceremony or viewing. There are also cremation societies that specialize in cremating remains and don’t offer viewing or any other services. Because their operating costs are lower .”, this option is often cheaper than the one you’d find at a funeral house.