Who knew death could cost so much?

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An initial reaction to learning a loved one has passed can be one of shock. The emotional finality of never being able to speak to, laugh with, hug, and love our person is difficult to accept, even when a terminal illness seemed to provide some preparation.

If you have never had the responsibility for making funeral arrangements, you may be surprised to learn of the many different funeral options and costs.

A 2021 National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), press release included a Member General Price List Study that reported, “the median cost of a funeral has increased only 6.6% over the past five years to $7,848 and the median cost of a funeral with cremation increased 11.3% to $6,970.” It’s more likely that the average cost of funeral services can range from $7,000 to $10,000. Embalming costs range from $600 to $775 and higher; pricing isn’t fixed and varies depending on location and extras associated with the type of service selected.

Researching funeral costs can be enlightening, however there’s much more to honoring the deceased than simply writing a check. Several decisions must be made quickly, adding stress to family members during their time of grief.

If no previous final wishes are known, a decision-maker must determine over 100 choices within 72 hours of the deceased, surely a daunting process.

The following are just a few of the final service and after death choices a decision maker will face: autopsy, mortician, burial or cremation, organ donation, which cemetery, casket exterior (type of wood, metal, color), casket interior: what kind of material, type of pillow, vault, any ornamentation on the casket if military or religious, embalming, clothing choice, hair, viewing service, who’s paying for what, pallbearers, flowers, memorial cards, memorial reception: where to hold the event and which food choices to serve, obituary, who to notify (social security, banks, insurance, type of service, pastor, prayers, songs, headstone, writing on headstone, flower vase on headstone, pictures on headstone, urn, where to scatter ashes, etc.

Many funeral homes offer pre-plan funeral and cremation services. While many people don’t want to think about their own death, it’s important to note, with no planning in place all the decisions and costs for your remains will be left to your family, who may not be financially prepared to pay for funeral and memorial services.

The advantages of pre-planning are two-fold: planning for services costs less! When you pre plan you essentially lock-in cost savings because fees are based on today’s price. Funeral expenses like everything else rise over time, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Prices for funeral expenses are 258.39% higher in 2022 versus 1986. Between 1986 and 2022 funeral expenses experienced an average inflation rate of 3.61% per year. This rate or change indicates significant inflation.”

The second advantage of having a pre-paid plan is that it provides exacting details on your specific wishes and how you want to be remembered and it frees your family from the unexpected financial burden, giving them valued time to grieve unencumbered by stress.

The legal team at Nelson Elder Care Law works with community partners and can provide you with resources for funeral planning. Nelson Elder Care Law’s estate planning services helps clients ease any burden before the inevitable happens. During a complimentary consultation, your wishes are made known and accounted for.

Planning in advance saves money, protects all your valuable assets, and grants the wishes of your loved one. It’s important to know elder care law is for all ages and not just for the elderly. Provide peace to your family by giving them the opportunity to plan with a seasoned attorney.

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