Author Topic: Funeral Costs  (Read 7241 times)

abuzzyisawesome

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Funeral Costs
« on: April 03, 2015, 07:26:12 PM »
We are making arrangements for my father in law, who just entered hospice. The doctor told us we have about 48 hours. He is in Ohio, we live in Illinois. His elderly mother is still alive, and has purchased a plot in Illinois. They do not want cremation, and due to the illness none of the organs can be donated. I got an initial cost from one of our funeral homes and the quoted me $8000 without a tombstone. This seems ridiculous.
They quoted $605 to transfer the body, which I understand. The body will be embalmed in Ohio and the cost quoted was $1000. This was also quoted with a $2500 casket, a $450 ground breaking fee at the cemetery, and $450 graveside service, etc. I plan to get an itemized quote with all the details.

They do not want visitation, only a grave side service. Does anyone have any experience with ordering caskets and monuments online?

iamlindoro

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2015, 07:30:57 PM »
We went through this with my SO's mother last month.  I'm sorry in advance for what will become a very difficult time.  In our case, the immediate family is not particularly religious, but the extended family of the deceased was devoutly catholic, and the immediate family got bullied into thousands upon thousands of dollars in funeral related expenditure related to Catholic requirements (no cremation, Catholic cemetery and church service, etc.).  It was very hard to watch both as a person and as a mustachian.  I hope you don't find yourself watching the same train wreck.  We contributed to the costs within reason, but it's hard not to hold a grudge against the extended family for turning an initial wish for a simple cremation into a three ring circus, with accompanying costs.

One thing you might consider right off the bat is that Costco offers very affordable caskets.  I know, it sounds weird, but it's not tacky and you could cut the casket price in half.

http://www.costco.com/funeral.html
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 07:35:37 PM by iamlindoro »

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2015, 07:37:58 PM »
Luckily my husband is making all the monetary decisions, so hopefully we can keep it within reason. I don't have a Costco in my area, but I have been reading good reviews of BestPriceCaskets.com This seems so morbid and cheap of me to be researching, but some of this is just ridiculous!


iamlindoro

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2015, 07:40:27 PM »
The Costco caskets are all online order.  They ship to the funeral home, no store pickup that I know of.

That said, sounds like you're checking out your options there so I'm sure you'll be fine.

iamlindoro

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2015, 07:42:13 PM »
PS, *don't* let anyone leverage your family's misery into making you feel cheap.  This is common and horrible.  The only things that matter are the wishes of the deceased and closest loved ones, in my opinion.  Too many businesses use the misery and turmoil of death to their advantage.  Go in with a game plan and stick with it!  You and the rest of the family are who matter.

GizmoTX

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2015, 08:13:45 PM »
Do not feel cheap or morbid -- the casket will be buried, after all, & with no visitation, there's no one to impress. But part of the sales pitch is about "protecting" the loved one, which is just so manipulative & not true.

I had to arrange all the details for my mother after hospice, & it also involved transferring her body by air across multiple states. The hometown funeral director (in Illinois) told me to not worry about rushing things; they could easily handle a week or two before having the funeral & burial. We picked out a very simple casket. The total cost came to $3,500, but this was 20 years ago. I ordered her headstone  from a local monument shop to match the others in her family plot, about $400, & it was installed several months later.

The one thing my mother wanted at her funeral was for everyone to have a mimosa; I was surprised but privately worried about liquor restrictions. The funeral director had an even better idea: since the cemetery was privately owned, apparently many families had a tradition of saying goodbye with some sort of beverage at the cemetery service. We served my mother's favorite champagne & orange juice, & it was a very sweet way of toasting her life.

homebody

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2015, 08:33:28 PM »
In California embalming is not a requirement.  Check the laws for the states that are applicable in your case.  It may not be a requirement and if you have a closed casket, it's not necessary.  Also, ask the hospice people for recommendations for funeral homes and check around.  Prices vary dramatically.  Don't be embarrassed.  The death business preys on that.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2015, 01:03:27 PM »
I'm not surprised that burial is running to $8000 with graveside service. Mr. FP's grandmother was cremated with no service of any kind, and this still cost $4K. (Yes, that's on the high end for cremation. We were not involved in any of the decision making.)

Exflyboy

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 01:55:39 PM »
I don't suppose donating your FIL's body to science is something he might consider?




Capsu78

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 02:01:28 PM »
FYI- Roman Catholics have allowed for cremation for a while now- both of my RC parents opted for cremation. 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 02:03:59 PM by Capsu78 »

iamlindoro

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 02:07:00 PM »
FYI- Roman Catholics have allowed for cremation for a while now- both of my RC parents opted for cremation.

Yeah- Unfortunately allows and endorses are different.  They still actively discourage it, though you're right, it's no longer prohibited.  My SO's extended family are a very devout, traditional Mexican Catholic family, so it was a no-go for us (or at least, it was once the family bullied them into a burial) :(

MrsPete

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 07:53:44 PM »
I'm sorry for your family's situation, but I'd ask a couple questions:

- What is included in this 8K quote?  I'd want to look at it line by line and see what can be crossed off the list.  I mean, for example, you need to pay someone to open/close the grave, but you don't necessarily need to pay for a car to drive the family to the cemetary. 
- I think it's legal to bury without embalming -- IF the funeral occurs within 24 (or is it 48?) hours of death.  This could easily vary from place to place.  Check out some websites about natural burial or do-it-yourself burial. 
- Is it legal for a family member to transport the body?
- You mentioned the casket.  If you're burying in a public cemetary, you're probably required to have a vault too.

His mother and your spouse are the only immediate family members?  Pay attention to what they want, but no one else's wishes should count.

Finally, for those of us who aren't involved in such a situation, it's 100% certain that one day we all WILL die.  It's a kindness to your family to leave some notes about these plans.


abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 05:20:03 PM »
Thanks everyone for your help. Everything is said and done. It came out to $8016, and he had a $5,000 life insurance policy. We covered the $3k, and incidentals (flowers and a suit). We did the best we could, provided the body had to be embalmed to be transported and the travel costs to move across states was $1600 by itself. We got the casket for $1295, a suit on sale at JCPenny, and only paid $216 for flowers. We paid for everything with our Kroger Visa, so hey, free groceries. At least now we can move on and be better prepared for my husband's elderly grandmother.

merula

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2015, 07:31:15 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss. I don't want to sound like I'm second guessing your decisions during a difficult time, but was there a reason you opted to buy a suit rather than bury him in his own clothes?

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2015, 07:30:32 AM »
He had gained so much weight from the illness that nothing he had would fit him.

Lis

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2015, 09:18:56 AM »
This is such a difficult conversation to have because nobody wants to really discuss their own or a loved one's passing when it hasn't happened yet, but it is possible to pre-plan funerals. My grandmother is slipping to Alzheimers along with several other health issues... she might have years left, or she might have days. My mom decided to pre-plan her funeral. Right now everything is arranged, all she needs to do is make the phone call and pick the date once my grandmother passes. This has two benefits - it's still an emotional conversation, but since she's not grieving (as much as she would if my grandmother just died), she's able to stick with the plan and not get swindled. She also planned this with her brother (who, along with his moocher kids, didn't see eye-to-eye with my mom's decisions for her father's memorial mass), so there's more joint decision making and less arguing later. My grandmother's estate (my mom is the executor) has already paid for everything, so the only thing left to do once my grandmother passes is mourn, which is what a funeral should be about.

dsmexpat

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2015, 09:40:15 AM »
I'm in this business if anyone has any specific questions regarding pre-planning, pricing, what is legally required etc.

Regarding embalming, it is legal to be buried without embalming, it's very common in Jewish burials because they don't like being embalmed for example. However obviously you can't have an open casket service without embalming. Typically Catholics will go full service because they want the body present for the rosary etc. However you can still do a visitation with a refrigerated body at the funeral home.

Most cemeteries will require a vault, call ahead and find out. There will often be a divide between funeral homes and cemeteries, even when they're owned by the same business. If in doubt, ask the FH. Budget for both.

If they or their spouse has a history of military service then they will often be entitled to burial at a national cemetery. Big savings there.

FTC regulations require that we present information but we don't necessarily have to explain the information. There will be a General Price List or GPL, failure to present a GPL is illegal. However we don't need to read it to you, just make it available to you. Make sure you ask things like "is X legally required?" when they put charges in, the entire point of the FTC regulations is because funeral homes were tacking on dozens of extra charges for services which are not legally required. Cremation caskets are a good example of this, funeral homes cannot force you to buy their cremation casket but they will tell you that a cremation casket is legally required when selling you a cremation which is technically true. You can provide your own, although the crematory can decline it if it is inadequate. If in doubt have them specify what the legal minimum requirements for the crematory are.


The costs you're describing sound about normal honestly for a full RC service. They vary by region, California charges about twice what we do in New Mexico for example, but you'd be looking at between 6 and 8 for a full service with an expensive casket here and that's before you look at the plot. Regarding pre-planning, it's certainly not an investment, whatever the people telling you say, but it does generally come with a price lock guarantee which means it will at least match inflation. Pre-paying is going to cost you money compared to having a vanguard investment fund earmarked for your funeral (assuming you don't die in 2008) but save you money compared to money under your mattress. As with all things act according to your risk tolerance. Pre-planning life hack, go to the funeral home you want to work with and pre-plan and then do not pre-fund. They'll be pissed because they work on commission but they keep all those things on file anyway, when the time comes they'll pull out the file and offer to deliver what you asked for and although you don't get the price lock you do get the growth on the money you didn't tie up at the time which will almost always be more. It doesn't have to be one or the other, you can pre-plan without pre-funding. They just won't tell you that because again, commission.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 09:42:50 AM by dsmexpat »

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2015, 10:28:14 AM »
I'm in this business if anyone has any specific questions regarding pre-planning, pricing, what is legally required etc.

Regarding embalming, it is legal to be buried without embalming, it's very common in Jewish burials because they don't like being embalmed for example. However obviously you can't have an open casket service without embalming. Typically Catholics will go full service because they want the body present for the rosary etc. However you can still do a visitation with a refrigerated body at the funeral home.

Most cemeteries will require a vault, call ahead and find out. There will often be a divide between funeral homes and cemeteries, even when they're owned by the same business. If in doubt, ask the FH. Budget for both.

If they or their spouse has a history of military service then they will often be entitled to burial at a national cemetery. Big savings there.

FTC regulations require that we present information but we don't necessarily have to explain the information. There will be a General Price List or GPL, failure to present a GPL is illegal. However we don't need to read it to you, just make it available to you. Make sure you ask things like "is X legally required?" when they put charges in, the entire point of the FTC regulations is because funeral homes were tacking on dozens of extra charges for services which are not legally required. Cremation caskets are a good example of this, funeral homes cannot force you to buy their cremation casket but they will tell you that a cremation casket is legally required when selling you a cremation which is technically true. You can provide your own, although the crematory can decline it if it is inadequate. If in doubt have them specify what the legal minimum requirements for the crematory are.


The costs you're describing sound about normal honestly for a full RC service. They vary by region, California charges about twice what we do in New Mexico for example, but you'd be looking at between 6 and 8 for a full service with an expensive casket here and that's before you look at the plot. Regarding pre-planning, it's certainly not an investment, whatever the people telling you say, but it does generally come with a price lock guarantee which means it will at least match inflation. Pre-paying is going to cost you money compared to having a vanguard investment fund earmarked for your funeral (assuming you don't die in 2008) but save you money compared to money under your mattress. As with all things act according to your risk tolerance. Pre-planning life hack, go to the funeral home you want to work with and pre-plan and then do not pre-fund. They'll be pissed because they work on commission but they keep all those things on file anyway, when the time comes they'll pull out the file and offer to deliver what you asked for and although you don't get the price lock you do get the growth on the money you didn't tie up at the time which will almost always be more. It doesn't have to be one or the other, you can pre-plan without pre-funding. They just won't tell you that because again, commission.

Thank you for such a detailed response! We were provided the GPL and allowed to discuss the items, which was very helpful. After reading online quite a bit and researching buying a casket online (which the funeral home matched the online price), I felt like we did very well given the circumstances. The primary cost was moving the body across states, which is a service I was glad to pay for. My dad did offer his pickup truck and tiedowns though (morbid humor here). My husband and I both want cremation, and have made our families aware of this. My mother and father want immediate burial without embalming, so one day I will need to research that, but hopefully not for a long time! My husband's elderly grandmother wants the burial with the whole business in the family plot, and she has pre-planned (without pre-pay) at the FH. Luckily, she has a little more life insurance, so hopefully not as much out of pocket. Bless her old heart, she has a garment bag in her closet labeled 'Bury me in this'. This whole process has been very eye-opening.

dsmexpat

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2015, 10:55:36 AM »
One thing to note is the possibility of a medicaid spend down. I'm not a native so my understanding may be imperfect but I believe that medicaid counts a life insurance policy as an asset because it can be liquidated by a cashout. That means that if she were to end up in hospice then costs would spiral and they could force her to cash out a policy for a fraction of the death benefit before medicaid starts covering the cost of the hospice. Pre-paying funeral costs irrevocably assigns the death benefit to the funeral home (although the family can change the services at the time of death for something cheaper and pocket the difference because we do give change if the death benefit is more than the funeral cost) which allows you to get around that.

Not saying that pre-paying is the best option, I wouldn't do it personally (although I am far too young anyway), but don't place all your eggs in the life insurance basket.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 10:57:22 AM by dsmexpat »

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2015, 11:41:26 AM »
How would that work if she has health insurance?

dsmexpat

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 11:50:32 AM »
Honestly I'm not sure how health insurance interacts with spiraling out of control end of life costs. I've spent most of my years in the socialist worker's paradise of England where we collectively fund our healthcare. Part of our hard sell here is that there is a high chance of crazy costs, with those a high chance of medicaid spend down and with that a high chance of being left with your funeral plans fucked and whole life insurance policies cashed out for far less than the death benefit. That said, we are saying all that while conspiring to sell you a product.

MrsPete

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 04:39:02 PM »
He had gained so much weight from the illness that nothing he had would fit him.
Evidence that you can plan and plan, but some details will always be out of your control.  Who would ever have guessed that this would happen? 
If they or their spouse has a history of military service then they will often be entitled to burial at a national cemetery. Big savings there.
Three items of note on this subject: 

If you're interested in this, find out where the nearest national cemetery is located, and make the decision ahead of time.  If you don't live near one, you might incur expenses in transporting the body.

A person who served in the military but was dishonorably discharged is not eligible to be buried in a military plot, but a person who served years ago and was honorably discharged IS eligible -- even if that person served only a short time and even if it was years ago.  I recently attended the funeral of a Vietnam vet, and the DAV did quite a bit to help with his funeral. 

If the person in question is married, his or her spouse is ALSO eligible to be buried in the national cemetery, but they only get one plot.  The first spouse to die will be buried 12' down, and the second spouse will be buried 6' down on top of the first spouse. 
How would that work if she has health insurance?
Does health insurance pay ANYTHING towards a burial?  I wouldn't have thought so. 

abuzzyisawesome

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Re: Funeral Costs
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2015, 11:47:41 AM »
Does health insurance pay ANYTHING towards a burial?  I wouldn't have thought so.
I was speaking in regards to hospice/end health costs. I wondered if her health insurance would cover hospice care.