A Step-By-Step Guide to Plan a Funeral



Death and taxes are a certainty that every adult has to deal with and if not prepared for it, they can wreck your finances easily. According to a study by the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral with a burial was over $7,000 while a funeral with a cremation is slightly less expensive with a cost of over $5,000.

Funerals can cause a financial crisis for the loved ones if they aren’t financially prepared for them. There are numerous funeral financing options available, which we will discuss below. In this article, we will be diving into a guide that can help you prepare and plan for a funeral.

Discuss with your family members

Typically, the executor of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for making the funeral arrangements and the costs are covered by the estate. But as the executor, you may still want to include your close family members in the planning of it. If so, here are some things that you should discuss with them:

  • Budget and how to prioritize spending.
  • Type of funeral (memorial or viewing or celebrating the life)
  • Burial or cremation?
  • Type of casket or cremation urn.
  • Venue (church, funeral home or elsewhere)

Funeral plan budget

Your budget for a funeral eventually hinged on what you want in the service. A good way to ensure you set the budget right is to consider the payment for each service individually. Here are some average costs for the different services in a funeral according to a study by the NFDA:

  • Standard funeral home service fee: $2,195
  • Embalming and body preparation fees: $1,005
  • Funeral ceremony: $500
  • Metal casket: $2,500
  • Vault: $1,495
  • Cremation fee: $350
  • Cremation casket: $1,200
  • Urn: $2951

The costs will vary depending on the funeral service provider you choose. Keep in mind that these figures don’t take the burial plot or headstone into account. A burial plot can cost $1,000 or more to prepare. A gravestone can cost thousands of dollars, the prices depend on the kind of headstone you want. More elaborate ones will obviously cost more.

Your funeral plan budget should reflect what you can easily afford and your expectation on how the funeral should be. If you are planning in advance and are married, you should also consider preparing a plan for your spouse to ensure neither of you will be unprepared for each other’s demise.

Payment options

Your overall cost will vary depending on the type of services you settle on but you should be aware of how you will be paying for the services. There are many funeral financing options available, such as:

  • Personal savings
  • Life insurance
  • Financing through your chosen funeral home
  • Credit cards
  • Payable-on-Death (POD) account (if you want to avoid probate court)

People enter these pre-arrangements for many reasons, mainly to reduce the burden of making decisions and the financial strain on loved ones or to spend down their assets to qualify for certain federal benefits.

Potential guest list

We come across many people in life but a funeral is usually a personal ceremony that only close family and friends are invited to. If you have specific people in mind whom you want to invite, it would be wise to let your loved ones know. Likewise, if there are people who you don’t want at your ceremony, you should make a note of that too with your family.

If you are planning a large gathering, you might want to invite old-school friends, extended family members whom you haven’t met in a while, community members, neighbours, and colleagues.


The death of a loved one is a traumatic event that only gets worse in the flurry of activities that is planning a funeral. It can reduce the strain on your loved ones to create a thorough guide for them, starting with how you want the service to be. This guide can also tell them about other things such as whom to invite, whom to avoid, flower arrangements, cremation or burial, viewing or memorial, and which funeral home to choose. We hope this helps you understand how you can plan and prepare your loved ones for your funeral.


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