2 minute read

What Happens If You Can’t Afford a Funeral?

If you find yourself responsible for a funeral that you can't afford to pay for, what are your options? Trust & Will explains to help you navigate.

Honoring those we love, being able to say goodbye to them is important. Not only in the sense that this is one way we show respect for the departed, but also just in terms of how the ritual relates to our own ability to have some sort of closure. After all, it’s that closure that allows us to begin to move on in life, without our loved one. 

Funerals and memorial services are essential to help us process our grief from loss. But what happens if you can’t afford the funeral you want for your loved one? What happens if you can’t afford your own funeral? It can be difficult to talk about death - in fact, it’s normal to want to avoid the topic. But educating yourself ahead of time helps you be as prepared as possible. We’d go so far as to say it can even ease an often-incredibly difficult time for you and your family. 

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Read on, as we look at what happens if you need help with funeral costs. 

What Happens If: A Relative Dies and You Can’t Afford the Funeral?

The first, and probably most important, thing to point out here is that this happens more often than you may think. Funerals can be terribly expensive, and it’s not uncommon for people to be surprised to learn the actual cost when the time comes. 

But you should try to remember that you do have options. If you’re having a difficult time coming up with the money to cover a relative or friend’s funeral cost, consider the following ideas:

  • Ask family: Some people reach out to other family members, asking for financial help with funeral costs. There is no shame in asking for help, and you may be surprised at how families tend to pull together during times of grief.

  • Crowd source: Crowdsourcing to raise money online has become more popular than ever. And, it’s increasingly becoming more common after the death of a loved one, as the costs of funeral services have continued to skyrocket in recent years.  

  • Get a loan: Funerals are expensive. There’s just no denying it. Often, people secure loans to help cover the costs.

  • Consider a budget-friendly service: There are many ways to put together a lower-cost service that can still beautifully honor your loved one in a memorable way.

Know Your Options: Explore All Types of Funerals 

Though they’re inherently costly, the truth is you have many options for the type of funeral you decide on. If cost is a concern, you’ll likely spend a good deal of time trying to come up with the perfect way to honor your loved one while keeping budget in mind. 

With careful thought and planning, you can put together a ceremony that doesn’t look or feel “cheap,” but can still end up being more affordable. Reading about the different Types of Funerals available might help you decide what type of service is best in your situation. 

What Happens If: You Die and Can’t Afford a Funeral? 

There are many explanations for how this could happen. Even though none of us wants to think about leaving our loved ones with any type of financial burden, excessive end-of-life medical care costs, unpaid debts and other expenses may cut into your family’s ability to have the funeral they want for you.

There are several ways to keep a funeral costs down, including:

  • Opting for a green burial 

  • Cremation  

  • Considering whole-body donation

  • Selecting an affordable casket or urn

There are also government programs your family can look into, especially if you’ve been receiving benefits. You don’t necessarily need to worry about what happens to your body if you can’t afford a funeral. Signing a form at the county coroner can authorize the release of your body to the state or county for burial or cremation. It may be possible to pay a fee to recover your ashes if your family would like them.   

If you’re concerned about the future and whether or not you’ll have enough in your estate to cover the costs of your funeral, you may want to consider a life insurance policy or a burial insurance policy. 

End of Life Planning for Your Funeral

The last thing any of us wants is for our passing to cause additional burdens on our family and friends. Setting up proper Estate Planning through your Will or Trust can give you the opportunity to lay out not only how to pay for your funeral, but also what type of service you would want. 

Reach out to Trust & Will today to learn more about how you can establish a Trust and other end-of-life planning, so your loved ones can focus on their grief, not on wondering what you would want or how they will ultimately pay for it.

Despite death being a huge part of life, we often struggle to come to terms with it. Preparing for the inevitable is one way to protect not only your family, but your legacy.