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3 Common Funeral Financial Matters Families Deal With

What happens when funeral financial decisions cause problems within a family? Get advice on how to get past financial issues so you can move on.
Handling Funeral Financial Matters as a Family
Handling Funeral Financial Matters as a Family

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Something that can make death difficult to deal with today are the funeral expenses. It costs thousands of dollars for a burial, but even standard cremation will be $1,000+. It’s a challenge that many families grapple with, even when they have the funds to pay for funeral services. 

Differing views and opinions among family members can come into play over funeral expenses. And it may not even be related to the services themselves. Simply having different ideas on money and spending in general can cause friction. Those differences can come into play and cause more stress during an already stressful situation. 

Below are three common funeral financial issues that families run into and ways you can work through them together. 

Funeral Options Based on Differing Budgets

People often have very differing opinions on how much should be spent on funeral services. Some people think practically and simply want straightforward affordable services while others want to go all out. 

When family members aren’t on the same page and nothing about funeral services was specified in the will, it can cause real issues. If family members can’t come to an agreement it could cause delays and make any funeral service more expensive. 

Cremation is the perfect example. The family may not have objections to cremation, but there may not be consensus on the type of cremation to use due to cost. Conventional cremation is around $1,000. Some funeral homes like Cremation.Green also offer eco-friendly cremation for roughly the same cost while others increase the price for green services. Today there’s also water cremation that costs around $2,000, although some funeral homes charge closer to $3,000.

One family member may have a $1,000 budget in mind while another is open to paying $3,000+ for cremation. If multiple people are involved with the funeral service selection, compromise is going to need to occur. Try to find middle ground and be clear to communicate why you feel the cost is appropriate.

Ultimately, whoever is in charge of making the funeral arrangements is going to have the final say. This could be the deceased themselves if they arranged funeral services in advance or laid out exactly what they wanted in their will. The executor of the will may be in charge of selecting the funeral services, or the next of kin could be the one to choose. 

Who Will Pay for the Funeral Services

This is a big one, especially if the deceased didn’t have life insurance or enough funds on hand to cover funeral expenses. When that happens it’s up to the family to cover the cost of disposition. Most commonly that is left to a surviving spouse or child, but what if there’s no spouse and multiple children? Or one person is in a much better financial position than other family members? Or one person stands to benefit more from the estate?

When there’s pushback over who will pay for funeral services try to look for outside resources that can lower the cost for all. For instance, if the deceased was in the military there are veterans benefits for funeral services that can cover much of the cost. 

When there’s a lower shared cost it’s easier to get everyone to pay their fair share. If the family can’t come to an agreement on how much each person will pay, that’s not good news for the next of kin. Ultimately, paying for disposition is usually their responsibility. 

Disputes About Assets and How They’re Used for the Funeral

Even if there’s a will that spells out how assets should be divided among family members, there could still be disputes. One thing that might catch some people off guard is payment for funeral services being taken from the estate before distributing money to beneficiaries. 

In this way the funeral expenses are a shared cost for all of the beneficiaries. It causes disputes when beneficiaries think a certain person should take on the expense of the funeral services, they didn’t agree with the services that were selected or they think that the services are extravagantly priced. In the latter case, a beneficiary may think they shouldn’t have to pay for funeral services they didn’t want or think are overprices. They may argue that funeral services should be paid after estate assets are awarded. 

Or it could be that someone in the family is going to need to pay for the funeral services and then be reimbursed by the estate before beneficiaries are awarded assets. The person responsible for paying upfront may want to be the one to choose the funeral services. That could lead to a difference in opinion of what funeral services are ultimately chosen. 

A dispute might land the family in probate court. At that point how the funeral services are paid or reimbursed prior to distributing assets to beneficiaries depends on the state laws. It’s possible that a claim will need to be filed in order for the probate court to award a reimbursement or make a decision.

At Cremation.Green we are sensitive to the fact that each family approaches funeral services in their own way. We make sure to work with the person who has the authority to cremate so that there are no issues along the way for anyone involved. If you’d like to know more about arranging eco-friendly funeral services, please contact our team any hour of the day. 

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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