When a loved one has died, you want to tend to the details of any funeral/memorial service and burial in a way that honors their memory, reflects their wishes, and meets your expectations. But how much does an average funeral cost? You will want to know that before you make any decisions.
Understanding Mortuary Services
There are many different mortuary services available to you as the family member or responsible party of the person who has died. While most are optional, basic funeral services are required in all cases. Basic services include staff efforts associated with:
- Responding to the initial request for services
- Meeting with family or the responsible party
- Filing necessary certificates and permits
- Placing obituary notices
- Coordinating services and time with the cemetery
- Planning the funeral
- Contacting the crematory, vault company, and others as needed
Other mortuary services and items include:
- Embalming the body
- Additional services related to preparing the body (dressing, cosmetology, casketing, restoration, etc.)
- Events like a private viewing, visitation, funeral service, graveside service, memorial service, and reception
- Photo slideshow or live streaming of the funeral service
- Use of a hearse, limousine, or service vehicle for activities like transporting the body to the mortuary or gravesite
- Transport of remains to another funeral home or receiving remains from another funeral home
- Memorial package
- Outer burial container
- Cremation alternative container
Beyond the basic funeral services and overhead costs, the approach you take regarding the disposition of the remains is up to you. Giving some thought to these selections in advance of a loved one’s passing can be helpful since the stress of losing someone can make reaching decisions particularly difficult.
For people who are open to this type of conversation, discussing funeral arrangements even before the need arises can be a healthy and cathartic process. It is also a good idea to document a person’s wishes and your plans for how to pay for funeral expenses so that when they die, there is no need to recall a conversation that may now be somewhat unclear due to the passing of time or the emotion surrounding their death.
The pain and sadness are inevitable when you lose a loved one. But the more funeral details you have solidified before their death, the easier it is to focus on happy memories of them and make their funeral more of a celebration of life. The same is true of becoming familiar with the steps you need to take in the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s passing.
Typical Funeral Costs
Knowing that every family has its own unique perspective on the mortuary services they desire for their deceased loved one, a rough estimate of overall funeral costs is $7,000 to $12,000. Actual itemized funeral costs will change over time due to economic factors, but in terms of approximate cost today, there are rough figures you can use as you develop a budget for mortuary services.
For example, basic services are typically around $3,000. Embalming is a detailed process with a cost of approximately $1,000. Other care for the body like dressing/cosmetology or special care after an autopsy is generally in the range of $575 to $600 per service.
Pre-funeral gatherings like private viewings and visitation typically cost between $300 and $500. Funeral, graveside, and memorial services will often be under $900, while vehicle use tends to cost between $500 and $600.
In terms of funeral-related products, caskets vary widely, from simple to ornate, with prices starting around $900 and going into the tens of thousands. Outer burial containers have a similarly broad range, from $350 to $25,000 or more. Urns cost anywhere from $25 to over $9,000.
Immediate Burial and Direct Cremation
In some instances, a family prefers to get the loved one’s remains to their final resting place as efficiently as possible. In those cases, immediate burial in a simple casket is approximately $3,300, and direct cremation is around $2,200. The availability of these options, along with the services above, means that when a loved one dies, there are many ways to care for their remains and celebrate their life.
One significant benefit for which there is no associated cost is the support of a compassionate and experienced funeral director and staff. Particularly for those who have never lost a loved one—or who have not lost someone close to them in many years—the grieving process is unfamiliar and often different than they expected.
Mortuary staff members understand and can help you anticipate the very strong emotions you are likely to experience—both negative and positive. The loss of anyone you care about is deeply saddening, of course, but there also may be intensely uplifting feelings that come from being loved and supported by family and friends. The funeral director and others can guide you through this foreign emotional landscape.
Keep in mind that regardless of whether you have ever talked with a funeral director or staff before, they are available to assist you with urgent questions or concerns 24/7.
One gift people can give to their surviving loved ones is pre-planning some or all of their funeral activities. While the thought of doing so may feel uncomfortable at first, as you get further into the process, you are likely to discover that confronting your mortality is empowering. Many people find that it actually encourages them to live their remaining time—whether they have days or decades left—more fully.
Pre-planning also enables you to make financial decisions and arrangements so that your funeral costs are covered. That way, your loved ones can focus less on funeral details and more on their grieving process. Plus, knowing that you were comfortable addressing your end-of-life planning can be very reassuring to family and friends who otherwise may not know whether you ever considered your death.
Your plan says to them, “We all make this transition at some point. I’m prepared to make mine.” And that gift, which is valuable immediately, becomes truly priceless over time.
About Greenwood & Myers Mortuary
We know there are other funeral homes in the area to choose from. But we also know that families who turn to us during a time of loss, or for pre-arrangement services experience our very high standards of service. We offer professional guidance and personal and specialized attention before, during and after the loss of a loved one. Our reputation for honesty and integrity is very well-known, and it is our most valuable asset. https://www.greenwoodmyersfuneral.com/
Greenwood & Myers Mortuary Media Contact: Mike Greenwood | (303) 440-3960
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