How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Estate Planning Lawyer

As an estate planning lawyer from a firm like W.B. Moore Law can explain, funeral expenses are one of the last things many people want to think about when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. By including funeral expenses in your estate plan, you can reduce the emotional and financial burden on your family. 

Typical Funeral Costs

The average cost of a funeral varies by state but ranges from between $7,000 to $9,000 for burial and $4,000 to $6,000 for cremation. Most funeral costs fall into one of three categories:

  • Basic service fees
  • Merchandise and service fees
  • Cash advances

Basic Service Fees

These are the standard charges that come with most funerals. These fees cover the cost of funeral planning, administrative fees and any required permits.

Merchandise and Service Fees

These fees include the cost of preparing, transporting and embalming the body and funeral home fees for the memorial or viewing. Additionally, they include the cost for services or equipment used in a graveside service. The final cost in this category is the cost for a burial container or casket and service fees for interment or cremation. The average cost for a casket is about $2,000 but can range up to $10,000, depending on the materials and design. Families who opt for cremation may be able to rent a casket from the funeral home to use for the viewing if desired. 

Funeral Expense Planning

Purchasing life insurance is one of the most common methods used to cover eventual funeral expenses. A traditional savings account may also be used, but your loved ones may not be able to access the funds in time to pay for your funeral expenses. A payable-on-death account allows you to establish an account specifically for funeral expenses and appoint a person who will have immediate access to the funds when you die. Military members receive special burial benefits. Other options include bank loans or prepaid funeral plans. 

Tax Considerations

Individual taxpayers are not allowed to deduct funeral expenses on their tax returns. However, if funds from your estate are used to pay for your funeral expenses, the estate may claim a deduction. 

Planning for your eventual death may seem morbid to some people, but it is something everyone faces eventually. Setting your affairs, including your funeral expenses, in order before you die can provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind. If you need assistance with planning your estate, contact an estate planning lawyer in your area today. 

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