When a family member passes away and you're left with the task of planning a funeral, the last thing you want to think about is cost. Unfortunately, with the average funeral in the United States costing between $7,000 and $12,000, many families simply don't have the luxury of not having to worry about pricing.
The good news is that no matter what your budget may be, there are some steps you can take to plan your loved one a beautiful funeral or memorial service.
Be Up-Front About Your Budget
During your initial meeting with a funeral home director, be up-front about what your family is able to spend. Funeral directors have plenty of experience working with budgets of all sizes; they also have the compassion to understand that not every family has thousands of dollars to spend on a service. With that in mind, your funeral director may be able to assist you in finding cost-cutting options that will still carry out your loved one's last wishes.
Take Advantage of VA Benefits
If your loved one was a member of the United States military, don't overlook possible VA benefits that may assist you in covering funeral costs. Family members of eligible veterans and military members can apply for burial assistance online. Specific benefits can vary based on a number of factors--and in some cases, you may have to apply for reimbursement for funeral expenses after the fact. Still, this is a valuable resource to consider if your loved one was a member of the military or a veteran in good standing.
Consider Alternative Options
If your loved one had final wishes specified in a will or other document, then you will want to do your best to carry those final wishes out. However, if there was no pre-planning done, you may want to consider alternative options that may be most affordable. For example, cremation with a memorial service can be much more budget-friendly than a traditional funeral and burial. Of course, alternative options should be discussed with other family members while carefully weighing what your loved one might have wanted.
Planning a loved one's funeral can be difficult enough, but having to plan a funeral under a limited budget can add even more stress. At the end of the day, working with the right funeral home can make all the difference, as can exploring ways to make your budget go farther.
To learn more, contact a funeral home director.