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How to plan a funeral on a budget



Lantern specializes in pre-planning and post-bereavement services, providing guidance and support to navigate life before and after a death. For eligible Haven Term policyholders, a full pre-plan premium membership and one-on-one post-loss consulting services are available at no cost through the Haven Life Plus rider, a suite of bonus services. Read more here.

Disclaimer: Burial, cremation and burials are regulated by individual states and laws vary. Check with your funeral home or cremation service before making plans.

When a loved one dies, there are many reasons why you might want to keep costs down. You may not know the state of your loved one̵

7;s finances, for example, and what kind of legacy they left behind. (For example, whether or not the person had life insurance, with a payout that could be used for funeral expenses, along with many, many other things.) Or maybe you know your finances and realize you can’t afford to spend too much on a funeral. Or maybe you just don’t want to commit to an expensive funeral and then regret it when bills come due.

If so, you’re not alone in worrying about money during the immediate stages of grief—as funeral costs in America soar, families are now spending upwards of $10,000 for even fairly basic funerals.

Saving money for a funeral can be a challenge – you want to give your loved one the send-off they deserve, and pinching pennies can feel difficult. But that doesn’t mean you have to mortgage the house either – there are things you can do during funeral planning to lighten your bank account. We asked the planning experts at Lantern for their advice. Here’s what they told us.

In this article:

Know your rights

The Federal Trade Commission requires all funeral homes to maintain an updated master price list and make it available to consumers upon request. Many funeral homes also make their master price list available online. Review the list carefully and don’t feel bad about shopping around. While you may not end up with the cheapest option, it’s worth getting an idea of ​​what different funeral homes charge for similar services.

Bring your own supplies

One thing the FTC makes very clear is that funeral homes are not allowed to charge you extra for using a casket or urn that you have purchased elsewhere. As long as it meets the requirements of your graveyard, you may use it. Considering the markings on chests, this is a good place to save money. Costco, for example, sells caskets at a fraction of the cost of funeral home prices. (We know it’s Costco, but resist the urge to buy in bulk.)

If you choose cremation, your options are even wider – any container that holds cremains will certainly work.

Choose direct burial or cremation

In addition to being the best options for the environment, direct burial and cremation are also significantly cheaper than funerals and burial ceremonies that involve embalming a body. Note: a direct burial is different from choosing a simple burial. A direct burial means that the undertaker does the burial without the family present.

Don’t be afraid to customize

You may find, when working with a funeral home, that you don’t actually need all the bells and whistles they offer. One place it often makes sense to think about saving is the viewing – many funeral homes suggest four hours’ worth, while it may make sense to have just two.

Stay close to home

Instead of an expensive post-funeral event at a restaurant or event venue, consider having a gathering at home. You’ll save on food and drink, especially if you ask guests to bring a dish or bottle of wine to share. If you feel bad about asking, remember – people want to help, and in many cases they will be grateful to you for including them.

Paying for flowers – don’t do it

Even if you don’t have a funeral at all, or specifically tell people not to send flowers, or text everyone you know a link to your loved one’s favorite charity, the fact is that some people won’t be able to stop themselves from send flowers or plants. Take advantage of this! If someone wants to send flowers, incorporate them into the funeral arrangements and then take them to the cemetery. There is no reason for you to spend money on something so many others want to give you.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they fit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to obtain advice from their own tax or legal advisor.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a term life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in some states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in some states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by AM Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is valid from 1 April 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other credit rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The driver is not available in all states and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual is responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made available under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party providers (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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