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February 28, 2012

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Be an organ donor, and after harvest donate body to science, when done cremation. Meaningful memorial ceremony at allowable and free area of my choosing such as beach, or wooded water setting.
I had to bury my Mom, Dad, grandparents and In-laws, I found the funeral industry to be a disgrage almost without equal. They prey on peoples sensitivities at the most emotional time of their lives.
Best advise, make your own funeral plan and add it to you will as a codicil.

A funeral consisting of two viewings at the funeral home, one church service, a rental casket, cremation (no plot, tombstone or vault, no graveside ceremony and car services) cost about $5k in 2009. The same funeral in 1998 cost less than $3k, $1.5k in 1989. Prices are doubling every 10 years.

Interestingly enough, the medical bills associated with a DOA in 2009 were over $4k. Dying is expensive!

I don't know that a funeral is something I'd want if I passed away. I think I'd rather have a celebration of life, and I'd much rather NOT be buried, which would totally offset the costs (although that's of course NOT why I'd want to be cremated).

Donating any needed organs, then cremation & disposal of my ashes somewhere in nature seems much more sensible and authentic to me.

My mother died in 1979 & she had a traditional burial. I'm not sure how much it cost but I know my family probably couldn't afford it. I'm sure they felt they "had" to or people would talk. I think about her often but I haven't visited her gravesite even once since then--why would I? She's not there.

The memories of people who have passed are not located in a urn or a piece of dirt and nobody is honored by guilting the family into paying for all that. Personally I'd rather skip it.

I've been "meaning" to join funerals.org, which I understand saves a TON of money for people by preplanning (not prepaying) and getting bulk rates. It's pretty cheap to join I believe (like $25 or something for a lifetime membership).

Anyone a member? What do you think?

Headstone tip for members of the Armed Services: The Service Member is entitled to a grave marker, free of charge, which can be used in addition to or in place of a traditional headstone.

For my FIL, who was in the Army, but did not serve during war time, we have a bronze marker. My husband fashioned a masonry platform to make it permanent and keep it from being carried off. I only mention that his service wasn't during wartime, because some vet's benefits are only for those who served during declared wars. This isn't one of those.

For my Father, a Navy Vet in WWII, we have a granite marker. We did have to pay the cemetery to install, but this is a cost we'd have incurred regardless of the style & type of marker.

We also saved a great deal on costs by not having a separate viewing the evening before at the funeral home. Our Church has facillities for a viewing, so there is no cost to rent the funeral home or for procession to Church for Mass. The bill for everything in 2008 was under $6000. This is in the North East.

This article was insightful, sobering, and a tad disturbing. I have often thought of the devestation a loved one leaves for his family to inherit in financial and emotional terms, but never once considered the additional burden of funeral costs. While I agree with a few bloggers that the funerary industry is perhaps overprice, I can appreciate that the customary preperation of bodies means a great deal to a great many people and is not without expenses and expertise. It seems to me that the most responsible course of action is to research the costs beforehand (upsetting as this may be)and opt for the tasteful but inexpensive options that are agreeable to both you and yours.

My dad's sister died and she basically had nothing of value except some antiques. My dad and his brother arranged for the body be cremated to the cost of $1500 and sent to my dad.They split the cost becasue there was no life insurance. They live in rural america and they talked to the local cemetary and were able to get a niche for the ashes for $450. The niche she is resting in is part of a family plot that was abandoned the family and donated the niches back to the cemetary.

I agree that planning is the best way to have a valuable remembrance. I use the term "valuable" not merely to mean watching what you spend, but in regards to what something is worth.

My mother's wishes were to be cremated, but she also wanted a singer to perform "Ave Maria" and for there to be champagne and strawberries for everyone. Overall, we probably spent close to the average, but it was a valuable experience for all involved.

FWIW, one of the best services I have ever been to didn't have a viewing, nor happen in a funeral home/church. It took place in a rented hall, and people were invited to publicly share stories of the deceased. People shared for nearly 2 hours! The mixture of tears and laughter was amazing...

I frequently have families that I work with that pre-plan funerals and families that don't. I see all the bills and the itemizations (and no I don't work for the funeral industry). In general, burial costs approximately $11,000 in my area plus the cost of the plot and headstone. This includes the casket, vault, charges for opening and closing the vault, services of the funeral home, flowers, death certificates, etc.

I recently had to have a friend cremated. She had paid for her space and headstone (plus the engraving). I had to only arrange for the cremation. There was no formal funeral, just a service at the funeral home. No visitation, no dinner, etc. The cost was still $6,000. Why? The cremation itself was only $1,500. But the nursing home contacted her funeral home to pick up the body in the middle of the night (at my request since I had zero idea what to do with her otherwise). The funeral home charge was the remainder of that $6,000. They did not embalm or anything.

Theoretically you can save money by signing up for one of the "clubs" a previous poster mentioned. That said, I've never had it work out for a client. They either change their mind, move somewhere there is no provider or the company ceases to exist on them. The only person I heard of actually using the company successfully had to figure out how to get the body to the crematorium themselves (since that wasn't part of the club membership). That could be a little difficult. Eventually they ended up paying a funeral home simply for the transport which cost them around $150 additional dollars. That works well if someone dies while the crematorium is open for business or can be held until then. I don't think it would have worked well for my friend who died in the middle of the night at a nursing home.

I almost forgot . . . my favorite cost that was passed along as part of the $6,000 charge for my friend's cremation was the cost for the funeral home to refrigerate her body until it could be cremated. While I didn't say it, I thought it was really for their convenience and happiness than mine or my friend's. She certainly didn't need it. The funeral home is the one who really wanted her body refrigerated.

How much does it cost to have my body dumped in the woods??

You could always build your own casket i guess.. Or you could simply get cremated.

I planned my husband's funeral in Tampa, November 2010. We are Jewish and had some ritual costs involved - I'd estimate the costs of the rituals to be about $1000. Our faith doesn't call for embalming as we bury as soon after death as possible. He was a large man and required an oversized casket (another cost of our obesity epidemic). We own the plots in our synagogue's cemetery (bought at $1250 per plot several year's earlier). I did a graveside service for him and paid $8200 plus the previously purchased plot. This included transportation from the hospital where he died to the funeral home for preparation and storage as well as the honorarium for the Rabbi.

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