What To Do if You Can’t Afford a Funeral

Nobody likes to think about what will happen when they or their loved ones pass away, especially when finances are tight. Traditional funerals often cost thousands of dollars, which puts many individuals in an uncomfortable position when discussing or planning funeral arrangements. In fact, many Americans are struggling financially to the point that they leave the bodies of their loved ones at funeral homes or coroner’s offices out of fear they’ll be forced to pay fees to make funeral arrangements.

In 2011, the state of Oregon cremated 30 percent more unclaimed bodies than the previous year, and in 2012, the county coroner of Myrtle Beach requested that a special cemetery be made to host unclaimed bodies as a result of the office running out of dignified space in which to store unclaimed remains.

What should you really do if you are unable to afford to pay for a funeral? Thankfully, there are several different options you can choose from if you want an economical way to say goodbye to your loved one.

Opt for cremation instead of a funeral
While a funeral may be the traditional way to say a final farewell to your loved one, cremation is becoming increasingly popular due to its worry-free and simple economical style. Cremation oftens costs thousands of dollars less than funerals depending on the package you choose from your funeral provider. You can choose a basic, simple cremation, or cremation with a memorial service. In most cases, your cremation provider can work with you on choosing an option that works best for you based on your financial situation.

Prepay for funeral or cremation expenses
While spending money on a funeral for whom death hasn’t happened yet may be the last thing on your mind, this option can help you avoid expenses later on. Plus, you and your loved one will have the opportunity to plan for a funeral or cremation service that best reflects your passions and interests in life. Many families have revealed that pre-planning is helpful because it prevents them from having to deal with the stress associated with planning a funeral or cremation in the height of their grief.

Each funeral home and cremation provider offers different options and payment plans. Take time to shop around, and find a provider that will work with you on establishing a payment plan.

Keep the funeral or cremation simple
If you’re intent on having some type of memorial ceremony to honor your loved one, try to keep it as simple as possible by eliminating unnecessary expenses. For example, host the memorial service at your home instead of renting a venue, and encourage friends and family members to bring potluck dishes instead of hiring a caterer. If you want fresh flowers on display for the service, use flowers from your own garden or from that of a friend’s instead of purchasing flowers from a florist.

Be upfront with the funeral director about your budget at the time you make funeral or cremation arrangements. Your funeral director may be able to work with you on developing a no-frills ceremony based on your budget constraints.

Make a donation to science
If you donate your body or that of a loved one to medical science, most medical research facilities will fully handle all costs associated with transportation, burial, and/or cremation. Consult with a funeral director or cremation provider to learn more about your options for donating your body to science.

For more information on cremation services, please contact Heartland Cremation. With four generations of experience in the funeral and cremation business, we provide the Kansas City area with simple, worry-free cremation services that will treat your loved one with all the dignity and respect that they deserve.

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