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What Is the Average Cost of a Funeral?

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What Is the Average Cost of a Funeral?

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Facing the death of a loved one is difficult. There are several things to consider immediately after losing someone you love. One thing is how much it will cost to plan a funeral. 

Like almost everything else in the United States, the average cost of a funeral has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years. Most people don’t know how much a funeral costs until they are planning one.

Keep reading for more information on funeral planning costs. 

Understanding the Funeral Industry 

Most people seek the services of a funeral home when they are planning a funeral. What they don’t know is funeral directors coordinate services. They make money based on the profits they generate for the funeral home by selling related products and goods.

While they are trying to help you navigate your grief, funeral directors are also trying to make as much money from each family as they can.

The funeral director’s job is to increase the amount of money you spend at the funeral home. In addition to the funeral home and unless the person is being cremated, most families need a cemetery and headstone dealer. 

The Funeral Home 

Most of the cost of a funeral goes directly to the funeral home. Families first decide on a casket. They are also responsible for embalming and body preparation and, in many cases, the viewing and funeral ceremony. The funeral director often has a service fee.

There are often miscellaneous expenses, which include the death certificate and newspaper obituary. When families request Christian and religious funerals, the funeral director will also recommend a hearse or limousines for transportation to and from the church. 

The average funeral home cost for a funeral is $6,000. Click here to learn more about funeral home costs and planning. 

Cemetary Costs 

Families can either choose to cremate or bury their loved one. Cremations can cost between $4,000 and $7,000 depending on the type. When families choose to bury their person, they must pay for the grave itself and the cost to dig the grave, often called the open/close fee. 

Most families spend about $3,000 on the grave and burial. So far, that’s $9,000. 

The Grave Marker

In the event of a burial, most families will need to purchase a grave marker or headstone. Grave markers are usually flat plaques that lie on top of the gravesite. Headstones are usually at least 2 feet high.

While grave markers are less expensive, headstones can start at $2,000. 

The funeral director may offer to contact the cemetery on the family’s behalf. While this is more convenient, it can also be more expensive. If the funeral director coordinates the burial, there is often an additional commission added to the price. 

The Average Cost of a Funeral

Today, the average cost of a funeral in America is between $7,000 and $12,000 depending on whether the body is cremated or buried.  

The average price of a funeral can be high. With proper planning, you can lower the cost of a funeral significantly. When a family is already coping with loss, not properly planning for a funeral is the fastest way to increase their stress. 

For more help navigating the death of a loved one, read similar articles on this site. 

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