Average Costs of Funerals
It can be difficult to plan financially for your funeral, simply because the average cost will fluctuate wildly depending on what services you want and which funeral director you choose. Typically, the average funeral will comprise the cost of the coffin or casket, the service from the funeral director, disbursements, and cremation or burial. Generally, the costs are controlled by the funeral director, who coordinates the event and liaises between the consumer and suppliers, but, in the end, the cost of your funeral will depend largely on what services and extras you want to have. The following is a guide to help you know what to expect cost-wise when planning your funeral.
Coffins and Caskets
Whether you prefer a coffin or a casket, the price you pay will vary, depending on what kind of material you want yours to be made from. Prices for basic particleboard or wood coffins start at around $700, but the higher-end coffins made of solid wood can be anywhere from $4000 to $9000. If you prefer a metal casket, your range is more like $7000 to $28,000. With most funeral insurance plans, the cost of your casket can be covered.
The fees you pay for the professional services of the funeral director are generally part of a lump-sum package set at standard rates for their services. Included in the cost are things like mortuary care, labour costs and transport costs, and they will generally start at about $500 for the most basic service. You will be charged more if you want things like a weekend service, multi-day wakes, an open casket, and so on.
Disbursements are the payments that the funeral director makes to other suppliers on your behalf. This includes costs involving the death and cremation certificates, newspaper obituaries, flowers, memorial attendance books, service booklets, refreshments, catering and live music. These are also things that you and your family can organise on your own if you prefer.
The cost of a ceremony will vary a lot depending on what you want. Generally, you can expect to pay up to $200 in donations to clergy for services, and celebrants can charge anywhere between $150 and $300 for a service. Alternatively, you may wish your family and friends to read out their own eulogies at your memorial service to avoid these costs and make the ceremony more personal.
To be cremated, a certificate and permit must be obtained, which usually cost from $80 to $140 and $40 to $70, respectively. After your family gets all the proper documentation, the cremation itself will start at about $500, but could go as high as $6500.
Overall, burial is more expensive than cremation because you must pay for the burial plot ($1000–$10,000), digging fees ($500–$1300), and, of course, the cost of the casket or coffin. The cost of your burial will depend largely on where you would like to be buried and how big the plot will be.
As you can see, the cost of a funeral is nothing to laugh at. Make sure your loved ones aren’t burdened by the price tag of your funeral, by pre-planning and considering funeral insurance. That way, your loved ones can focus on their grief and not their payment method.