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Thread: Funeral expenses

  1. #1
    Senior Member Greg44's Avatar
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    Funeral expenses

    This past week my father-in-law past away. He was nearly 90 years old and had been in failing health for some time.

    My MIL and SIL have pretty much made all the arrangements. I would not second guess their choices or the money they have spent. Though I was surprised at the expense, even for cremation.

    I think each family is different, but given your situation - what did you do to save costs on the funeral expenses and still maintained a dignified service?

  2. #2
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Both my parents were adamant that there would be no funeral service, simply cremation. My siblings and mother did get together for my dad's burial of ashes but we did nothing for my mother and my sister buried the ashes. I went to see my mother two days before she died with armloads of flowers in February. We were at peace with each other and she was totally at peace with the world.

    IMHO, if anyone wants to honour someone or express a gratitude for a life, do it when people are alive not after they are dead and cannot appreciate it.

    Having said that, I do understand that funerals are really for the living to mourn rather than the dead. Perhaps some cultures demand a large funeral and lavish coffin but none of it makes sense to me.

    Not to take this off-topic: This funeral cost issue has come up in our community as the funeral homes are angry about the demands of families who had an indigent relative die This means that the taxpayer pays the total tab. The remaining family is demanding at least one visitation, a full service and a more than basic coffin paid for solely by the taxpayers. The funeral homes state that the cost has risen from $2500 to $5000. Municipal council recently increased to only funding $4500. Neither I nor DH want any funeral beyond a simple cremation and yet we are having to pay for others.

    It seems that like so many other things in life, funerals are filled with emotion and appearances.

  3. #3
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    My Dad's funeral cost $10,000 Cdn. a few years ago. He had already paid for the burial plot and marker. To cut costs my Mom used a "loaner" casket. Okay stop laughing. But Dad was going to be cremated and it seemed silly to pay a lot of money for an expensive casket just to burn it. Mom wanted a "viewing" so the funeral home loaned her a casket for Dad to be viewed in. Even that cost LOTS of money ($3,000 is sticking in my head but I could be wrong) but was a fraction of purchasing a coffin. I'm sure Dad would have thought that was very frugal of Mom. *grin*

    For Hubby and I, we also want to be cremated. Whoever survives will keep the ashes of the other and then when the last one of us dies our kids have instructions to cremate the remaining spouse and put both sets of ashes together in one urn and give it a good shake. *grin* We will be buried in a local cemetery that we are the voluntary caretakers of. There won't be a cost to the burial. The kids can just dig a hole and plant us. Hubby and I have already picked out our "spot" at the cemetery and fenced it in with nice cedar fencing. We call it our "tomb with a view". While we haven't purchased a headstone, we have left instructions of what we would like the kids to buy from our estate money. Neither of us want a fancy service, just a family get together at someone's house.

  4. #4
    Junior Member MagicRat's Avatar
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    It depends on what you mean by "dignified". Obviously some friends, relatives and the funeral industry tend to push the (expensive) frills obviously playing on the misleading belief that cost is equivalent to love and respect. The best way to avoid this is for the departed to have specified the budget for the funeral in the will, or pre-pay for it.

    Many communities have simple, low cost funeral alternatives that are specifically budget-priced. Personally, I think many people would not want to burden their loved ones with high funeral costs, so such alternatives are dignified, especially if specified in the will.

    There is much to be said for donating the body to a medical school or university. One can specify the donation in one's will, or the surviving family can do it. The deceased is used for study then usually is cremated and the ashes returned to the family at no cost. They can be interred, or scattered.

    Benefits? Very low or no cost, and the deceased will contribute to the greater education of the medical community.
    Last edited by MagicRat; 2-13-11 at 6:43pm.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Something that I've seen only in the past few years is that some Orthodox and Episcopalian (Anglican) churches are having the wakes (viewing) at the church itself (casket in the middle aisle at the front). It saves some money (but I don't know how much) because you're not having the viewing at the funeral home. Viewing will be one day from, say, 3-8 or 4-9, and then another hour before the funeral service the next morning.

    It's also not a sterile space such as at the funeral home, and since it's likely a place where the deceased spent much time, there's more of a "home" feel.

    The length of the viewing has also decreased since I was a kid. When my great-grandmother died at 104 in June 1981, the viewing went on for three days. I remember very clearly since I was 11 and had to sit for three days at the funeral home since school was out for the summer. I was allowed to take books with me and I sat and read. I remember some relatives getting upset that I was reading, but what do they expect a kid to do for three days at a funeral home?

    Now, the viewing is 4-5 hours one afternoon evening and maybe a bit before the funeral and that's it. Much more sane for the families, too, I'd think.

  6. #6
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    Well, my mother paid for the arrangements she wanted and that's fine, it's her money, and that's is done and over. It wasn't excessive and I really don't know how much it cost but it was the typical midwestern thing ALTHOUGH she had a pine box because she is Jewish and had to go into the ground immediately and without embalming.

    But when it comes to her headstone which for some unknown reason she didn't pre-pay THAT will be a simple set-in-the- ground rectuangular stone with her name and birth date, death date. Because my borther and I are paying! No Taj Mahal of headstones, thank you very much which she felt compelled to do for my father. I disagreed but no one asked me. He would have liked a pine box and a cheapo iron marker, or would have been fine with cremation. Inexpensive was his watchword.
    Last edited by iris lily; 2-13-11 at 8:20pm.

  7. #7
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagicRat View Post
    ...There is much to be said for donating the body to a medical school or university. One can specify the donation in one's will, or the surviving family can do it. The deceased is used for study then usually is cremated and the ashes returned to the family at no cost. They can be interred, or scattered.

    Benefits? Very low or no cost, and the deceased will contribute to the greater education of the medical community.
    One of the modern day scams has been the selling of body parts by universities to commercial entities for experimental use. While I don't get easily skeeved out, I don't know that I could stomach knowing that the limbs of my loved one were hacked off and, for instance, used in crash tests. It happened. For myself I can easily say, yeah, whatever. I am dead, I don't care. But for my parents or DH ummm that gives me pause.

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    Do people have any input on funeral insurance? Which differs a bit from life insurance.

  9. #9
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    This is timely because I am planning a simple family reunion to celebrate my mother's life. She died just before Christmas in the dead of winter during crappy winter weather and there wasn't much of a service.

    So I thought a theme party would be nice: people can come and eat sandwiches and look through the photo albums I've got that contain amoung other stuff evidence of BOTH of her marriages to my dad--cute story, they got married once when she was a minor, her parents made her annul t, and they got married again a year later when she was of majority age. I will ask people to come with examples of things Pat liked and things Pat didn't like. So I plan to smoke (she didn't like that!) and will hand out samples of her "goofy cake" (she liked that!). My brother will come with a stuffed cat (she liked cats) and will wear his NRA life time member button (she didn't like that!) ha ha and etc.
    Last edited by iris lily; 2-13-11 at 8:45pm.

  10. #10
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    My DH and I have made plans to donate our bodies to science.
    Anita

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