Death is inevitable and, unfortunately, so are the costs associated with it.  In fact, the costs of dying are increasing at even a greater rate than the costs of living.

Costs Related to Funeral or Cremation

Many people are shocked when they start looking into the cost of a funeral or cremation.  Funerals can easily cost up to $10,000 for a basic funeral and can run a lot higher if you are looking for something more elaborate.  Cremations typically cost up to $6,000, but again can cost more if you are looking for something intricate.

The largest expense related to the funeral is usually the casket.  Other costs include:

  • Funeral home’s basic service fee,
  • Transporting remains,
  • Embalming,
  • Preparing the body – makeup and hairstyling,
  • Facilities and staff for the viewing,
  • Facilities and staff for the funeral,
  • Hearse,
  • Printed material,
  • Cemetery costs to open and close the grave, and
  • Headstone or grave marker.

Cremations cost less, as you are not looking at the burial costs.

Costs to Caregivers

Many individuals in our society wish to die at home or least remain at home as long as possible.  Many families will do everything possible to grant their loved one’s wishes.  There is an emotional toll on the family members and it possible that family caregivers will spend up to $9,000 a year of their own money in the process.  Those expenses could include lost earnings as more time is spent with a loved one, or it may include hiring nurses or other caregivers to help.  Other expenses would include making adaptations to the home to make it more suitable, gas money as you travel from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment, and the list goes on.

Will Administration

Every will has an executor, an individual appointed to administer the estate of your loved one after he or she passes away.  The main duty of the executor is to carry out the instructions and wishes of the deceased.  The executor is responsible for ensuring that all assets in the will are accounted for and then transferring these assets to the designated parties.  In addition, the executor needs to make sure that all of the deceased’s debts are paid off, including any taxes.

The executor role can be an onerous position and also very costly.  The executor may need to pay fees to obtain a grant of probate and cover any other estate liabilities and costs until the estate assets themselves are accessible.  The executor will then be reimbursed for those costs but the process can take a long period of time.  There is also the cost of the executor’s time; the time spent carrying out his or duties as an executor rather than spending that time at work or with family.

Additional Factors Affecting the Cost of Dying

Something you may not have thought of, but where you die actually affects the costs. There are two key factors here:

The State Where You Die

The costs of dying vary from state to state, depending on the cost of living in that state.  Currently, Mississippi is the cheapest state in which to die, with costs well below the national average.  This makes sense as Mississippi also has the lowest cost of living.

Dying in the state of Hawaii will cost you the most, with these costs ranging a great deal higher than the national average.  Again, this is logical, as the cost of living in Hawaii is also the highest among the 50 states.

The Location Where You Die

People who die in the hospital typically undergo more tests and procedures than those who die elsewhere. Dying in the hospital is therefore much more costly than dying anywhere else.  The following locations are listed from the cheapest to the most expensive places to die:

  • At home,
  • In the ER,
  • In hospice,
  • In a nursing facility,
  • In the hospital.

The difference in price between dying at home and in the hospital can be up to $27,000.

Money Is Not the Only Cost

While we tend to think of money when we talk about the expenses of dying, the emotional costs are often higher.  Losing someone you love, and learning to live without him or her takes a heavy toll and the cost is immeasurable.  There are also emotional costs related to writing the obituary, to sorting through your loved one’s belongings, and to mourning.  These all take a toll emotionally and physically.

Final Thought

Given the high cost of dying, many individuals are now looking at preplanning and prepaying for their funeral in order to ease the burden on their loved ones.