When you find yourself in a situation in which a loved one has unexpectedly passed away, feelings of grief and sadness engulf you in a sort of cloud. It is difficult to break free of those feelings until you have worked through them in your own time. The last thing you want to do during this time is worry about how to pay for the funeral, especially when you are significantly low on funds. Research shows that approximately 39 percent of all Americans have no more than $1000 saved up for emergencies. Funerals tend to cost substantially more than that. So, how can they cover these unexpected expenses?
If you find yourself in this situation, you must know that you are not alone. In the world that we live in today, you are not without options. You must know, though, that most funeral homes out there require you to make the payments upfront. But if you are dealing with a good funeral director, they will work hard to make sure that you are only offered the benefits you can afford within your specific budget. They will not try to make a profit off of you but will see just how they can accommodate you to ensure that you can cover the funeral expenses.
We have compiled a list of some practical options that you can think of when trying to cover the cost of an unexpected funeral.
You may know that there are a few options that you can choose from when it comes to the funeral itself. There are more expensive options and affordable options as well. If you would like to reduce a funeral’s overall cost, you should know that cremation significantly costs less than burials. However, before you jump to any conclusions, you must ensure that your entire family is on board with the idea. In some funeral homes, cremation may cost just as much as the direct burial, in which case, you must go with the direct burial itself. Choosing either of those options does not mean that you end up missing out on a meaningful funeral service. If you choose a reliable funeral home, they will ensure that no matter what burial service or cremation service you choose, it is respectful and tasteful.
Life Insurance or Final Expense Plans
In some instances, the individual that has passed away has either a final expense plan or a current life insurance plan in place. If that is the case, set up a meeting with the funeral director and ask them what their policies are regarding the use of life insurance policies to pay for the funeral expenses. If you are unsure whether your loved one who has passed away had an insurance policy in place or not, one way to check that is to contact their employer. Certain life insurance policies go through the workplace.
Applying for Free Benefits (Age-Specific)
There are some instances in which a family may be eligible to receive free benefits from the government. Suppose your loved one that has passed away was once a veteran. In that case, they may be entitled to receive certain burial benefits, monetary assistance, and in some cases, a free burial space that is situated in either the National Cemetery or a state cemetery along with a grave marker.
This option should be your worst-case scenario option. When you have exhausted all other avenues, you may tap into your personal funds. This means that you would liquidate any assets you might have or own. This can include anything you can sell, such as collector’s items, unused vehicles, non-retirement funds, stocks, or bonds. If your family cannot afford to go into debt to pay for a funeral, it might be worth it to tap into your personal assets or savings. This will also end up protecting your credit score in the long run. However, you must know that it is not advisable to do this.
If you don’t have any specific financial plan in place when you need it the most, such as in the case of an unexpected funeral, you have the option to use a crowdfunding website so that you can pay for the funeral. There are many platforms out there that help you freeze funds to pay for something that you are otherwise not able to do, such as GoFundMe.com. These services have become exceptionally popular as of late. Some websites are also specifically tailored to raise funds for funerals, which you should also look into. The only downside of using these platforms is that you may have to sell your case just a little bit, and sometimes you just don’t have the emotional capacity to invest your time into doing that.
Ask Friends to Help
Friendships and relationships have been highly superficial lately. But that doesn’t mean that there are no real friends or relatives out there that can help you in your time of need. It all depends on you taking the leap and asking for help. Even though you may feel embarrassed for doing so at first, you should never feel afraid to reach out and ask someone for help. This can include siblings, cousins, children, uncles, and, or anyone that you are related to or are close to so they can help contribute to the funeral expenses. Once you have done that, you can choose the most affordable funeral option for your loved one.
Planning Ahead Helps
If you are currently already planning for an unexpected funeral, this advice might seem like it’s come to you a little bit late. However, the best way to prevent any future debt for you and your family is to make sure that you plan. This can mean getting life insurance policies or simply having emergency funds in place so that you can afford any unexpected expenses down the line.