Planning a funeral can be overwhelming and difficult. The average funeral ranges in cost from $7,000 to $10,000. How can families best determine how to allocate a funeral budget to create a meaningful experience? Choosing the right casket is an important part of the planning process. Whether a family chooses burial or cremation, selecting the right merchandise for the types of services the family desires is a crucial part to honoring a life well-lived.
Pre-planning a funeral can make it easier for surviving relatives to coordinate funeral events, make merchandise selections, and stick to a budget. Pre-planning also ensures that your wishes are fulfilled. Many funeral homes allow you to pre-pay for funeral expenses, helping to ease the financial burden on the family.
Your funeral director should give you a general price list, including a specific casket price list, before discussing arrangements. Caskets can range in price based on the style and material type. For example, caskets made of bronze, copper, or mahogany are more expensive than caskets made of 18 gauge steel, oak or poplar.
If you choose cremation, you can still have a traditional visitation or viewing and funeral services. Hardwood caskets specially designed for cremation can be used during services, then to encase the body during the cremation process. Some funeral homes offer rental caskets with interchangeable interiors that can be used for services.
Share your budget and preferences openly with your funeral director. He or she is specially trained to help your family through the process of planning events, as well as selecting goods and services. If you have creative ideas, or your loved one had a unique wish, your funeral director can help you bring your ideas to fruition. Selecting a casket is just the small part of the funeral experience.
Funeral homes have a limited amount of space in funeral homes to keep caskets on hand. Many suppliers offer extensive catalogs that include caskets at every price point, often in several colors or unique styles. If you don’t see a casket you like at the funeral home, ask to browse a catalog.
A funeral is a reflection of a life well lived, and there are a variety of personalization styles available to families who want to add a special touch. From embroidered head panels to designer interior fabrics and coordinating keepsakes, there is a wide range of ways to give a funeral ceremony a personal touch. Your funeral director is an expert event planner, so be open with your ideas and feel free to ask for help and suggestions.
A casket is just a small portion of a funeral ceremony. Remember to take into account the costs of services, transportation and other merchandise when establishing a budget. Casket prices can vary from funeral home to funeral home, and should not be the final deciding factor when choosing which funeral home will best suit your needs.
While not required by law, many cemeteries require that a casket be placed into a vault (outer burial container), to prevent collapse and support the weight of the earth and heavy cemetery equipment. Your funeral director should provide you with an outer burial container price list, and can help you determine what type of container is most appropriate for the cemetery you’ve chosen.
Your funeral director will provide you with a Statement of Goods and Services Selected at the end of the arrangement conference. Review it carefully, and be sure you understand what each part of the contract means.
The purpose of a funeral is to celebrate a life well-lived. Choosing the right casket is just part of the funeral experience, but it can be one of the most overwhelming given the sheer number of options available. Every family’s budget and traditions are different, so be open with and trust your funeral director to help you make the right choice for your family.
More expert advice about Estate Planning
Photo Credits: © Robert Hoetink - Fotolia.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com