Are you wondering how you'll pay for your funeral expenses? A funeral can be costly, especially if you don't plan ahead of time. Many families will use life insurance proceeds or leftover assets to pay for funeral expenses. However, not every person has those resources available. If you fail to make other arrangements, you could put your loved ones in a very stressful situation at a time when they are already emotionally fragile. Fortunately, you do have some options available. Consider these three steps to help you pay for you funeral and save your loved ones from unnecessary stress.
Check with government resources. Federal, state, and local governments often have programs in place to help individuals and families cover funeral expenses. The most obvious is Social Security's death benefit, which provides a one-time $255 payment to surviving spouses or children. Although that amount likely wouldn't cover a full funeral, it could help pay for a cremation or an inexpensive coffin.
If you're a veteran, you also should check with the Veteran's Administration. They have resources to cover funerals and burials in veteran cemeteries. Finally, your local treasurer's office could also be a good resource. City and county governments often have to take possession of bodies that aren't claimed or that don't have burial plans. They want to avoid this, so they offer assistance to help individuals get burial plans in place before it's too late.
Pre-pay for the service. Talk to a funeral home in your area in advance. Most have programs that will allow you to pre-pay for your funeral ahead of time. Even if you can only pay a small amount, that will at least take care of some of the expenses so your loved ones don't have to. Some funeral homes may allow you to set up something called a Totten Trust. Under that arrangement, the payments go into an interest-bearing account. The proceeds and interest can then be used to pay for your funeral. If there's any money left after all expenses are paid, your family can keep it.
Plan a lo-budget service in advance. It's possible that you may not even care about your funeral service. Perhaps you just want the least expensive option possible. In that case, consider sitting down with your loved ones and telling them your intentions. Remember, funerals are as much for the loved ones as they are for the deceased. It may be your family who wants to have a larger funeral.
Be honest about your financial situation, and then suggest ways in which you could save money. You could opt for cremation instead of a burial. You could ask them to have a small reception for guests in one of their homes instead of at a funeral home. They could get their own flowers from a local grocery store rather than from a pricey florist. A funeral doesn't have to be an elaborate and costly affair.
It may not be pleasant to think about your own death, but it can save you and your family considerable stress. Talk to a local funeral home. They may have more suggestions on how to plan a funeral in your budget.