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How to save money on funeral expenses

With end-of-life planning services, you can save your loved ones both time and money

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Some people know exactly how they’d like to be remembered after they die—whether they’ve purchased a grave site in advance or planned the readings for their memorial service. Other people are less sure of their final wishes and may not even know what options are available.

That’s where Lantern comes in. Lantern is an end-of-life planning service that allows people to consider their final wishes, choose between their options and – in many cases – save money on final expenses.

“End-of-life planning is actually a lot easier than people think,” explains Liz Eddy, co-founder and CEO of Lantern. “It takes the financial responsibility off the people you love, ensures they have clarity about your wishes and gives them fewer tasks to carry out while they are grieving.” (Eligible Haven Term policyholders can take advantage of free end-of-life planning from Lantern through the Haven Life Plus bonus rider.)

We asked Eddy to share some time-saving and cost-saving tips to help people as they begin planning. Here’s what she told us.

In this article:

Traditional burial is often the most expensive option

If you are considering a traditional funeral – for yourself or for a loved one – take some time to compare the costs. “Traditional burial, especially with some caskets and embalming, is generally the most expensive option and the most damaging to the environment,” explains Eddy.

Traditional burial is generally defined as burial with a coffin, where the body has been embalmed beforehand. And according to new data from the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial is $7,848. The median cost of a funeral with cremation is $6,971. While this thousand-dollar price difference may not matter to some families, others may take that into account when considering final expenses.

Environmentally friendly alternatives may be more cost-effective

If you are interested in leaving an environmental legacy, you are not alone. The National Funeral Directors Association reports that 60.5% of Americans surveyed are interested in environmentally friendly cremation or burial options, also known as “green funerals” or “green burials.”

If you’re choosing between a traditional cremation and a traditional burial, cremation is likely the greener option — but Eddy notes that there are many companies that offer even better choices.

Solace Cremation, for example, offers carbon-neutral cremation options for people in Portland, Oregon and Southern California. Better Place Forests allows families to scatter a loved one’s ashes in the soil around a memorial tree in a dedicated conservation forest. You can even become a tree with Transcend. Or choose a cremation option such as aquamation. Your state may have additional options to consider, so take some time to look at what’s available.

It’s worth noting that many eco-friendly options are cheaper than traditional options – especially if you work with a service that offers direct cremation, which is an option that allows the body to be cremated immediately after death. By skipping the embalming process, casket and viewing, you not only save resources, but also save on costs – which can be another way to pass on your values ​​to your loved ones.

If you work with a funeral home, ask for prices in advance

Some families may choose to work with a funeral home – either because they prefer a traditional visitation, funeral and burial, or because they want to work with a team of people who already know how to handle all the details of the end of life. plan. Unfortunately, this expertise often comes at a cost. Fortunately, funeral homes must itemize these costs before you make any decisions.

“Funeral directors are required by law to provide a price list with each expense itemized so there are no surprises,” explains Eddy. “You can often find the price list on their website. But if not, they’ll email it to you if you ask.”

It is also possible to work with a funeral home while working on a budget. Many people don’t realize that they can provide their own urn or casket, for example, as long as it meets certain requirements — and that big-box retailers like Costco often offer these necessary supplies at much lower prices than funeral homes.

“Avoid buying a casket from a funeral home,” advises Eddy, “and don’t buy flowers.” Friends and family who wish to contribute to the service will often have bouquets delivered – and you can often count on those same friends and family to provide other gifts and services such as food, live music and commemorative displays.

Finally, you can get much of the same funeral planning and bereavement support outside of the funeral home. Lantern offers a self-service, step-by-step offering as well as a concierge service. These services offer cheaper options for professional support.

Make your wishes known as early as possible

The best way to ensure that your final expenses are as cost-effective as possible is to make your wishes known in advance – the sooner, the better. “Create a plan, share it with your beneficiaries, decide what you want for your funeral and start a savings account for those expenses,” says Eddy.

Lantern allows you to begin this pre-planning effort at no cost — and when you’re ready to continue the planning process, the Haven Life Plus bonus rider can help eligible Haven Term policyholders access Lantern’s full pre-plan premium membership and 1-on-1 post-loss consultation , normally valued at $149.

Not all families feel comfortable discussing end-of-life wishes, and some families find it even more difficult to talk about finances. But another step you can take now is to make sure you have financial protection for your loved ones in the form of affordable life insurance, which can help give you important peace of mind.

If you’re worried about having these kinds of difficult conversations with your loved ones, remember that having a difficult conversation now can save your family both time and money in the future. By giving your family a guide to your final wishes, you will also help them through what would otherwise be a time of grief, stress and confusion.

“Making an end-of-life plan is one of the most selfless and loving things you can do for the people you care about,” explains Eddy. “If you start before you have an urgent need to do so, it’s much easier to shop around, reflect on your decisions and share it with loved ones in a meaningful way.”

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

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