Checklist + Funeral Savings Guide
We know what that unexpected phone call feels like.
It all happens so fast. One moment your loved one is here, and one moment later – they’re not. GoFundMe has been able to help millions heal and we want to be there for you, just like we were there for Joreatha “JoJo” Lewis, and the Preston Roberts family.
We would like to offer you some helpful guidance and resourcesThere are a number of ways you can reach out to your network for help and we hope this article will shine some light on your options.Where is the money going to come for this? What do I want the memorial to look like? How much is this all going to cost and what will it include? Who can I turn to for help? This is so important, how do I make sure I’m not missing something important?All of these questions are completely understandable and are worth considering deeply. This is not a small decision and we want you to confidently make the right decision.Are you asking yourself what do I do now?
In this article you will find 5 essential ways to help with funeral costs. You will also find ways to make sure you are asking all the right questions of your funeral provider. Let’s break down each point in more detail:
- Estimate funeral costs
- Avoid overspending
- Explore federal and state funeral benefits
- How to ask for help from friends and family
- Use our funeral costs checklist to stay on track
Start with an Accurate Funeral Cost Estimate
- According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral is $7,181. However, these costs can be negotiated if you take the right steps below.
The Funeral Rule can save you money and stressThe Funeral Rule by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) allows you to:
- Your privacy is protected while comparison-shopping: You don’t have to give the funeral homes your name, address, or telephone number over the phone.
- Ask for price quotes on the telephone. Funeral directors are required to give you price information on the telephone if a customer requests.
- Select, and pay only for the funeral-related goods and services you want or need. For example, you don’t need to buy a casket from the funeral home if you don’t need to– you can purchase it online instead.
- Get a written, itemized price list: If you visit a funeral home, ask them for a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. Also, request the price list before you see the actual caskets. Detailed price information should be included on the funeral home’s GPL.
- Get a detailed funeral quote: Once you have decided what you need, get a written statement before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item.
- Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it.
- Make funeral arrangements without embalming. No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time; some states don’t require it at all.
Avoid taking on debt: Consider all of your options before using credit cards, cash advances, or loans. Look out for high interest rates that can negatively affect your credit. Since a high ongoing monthly payment can devastate your finances, consider asking for help with funeral costs from your network, or reaching out to a local or national organization first.
Explore government funeral aid benefits
If you need assistance with funeral or memorial costs, but don’t know where to start, you may be eligible for help from these government agencies:
For best results, visit your local Social Security Administration office and discuss your situation. If your deceased loved one has created a burial fund, you can use the money towards the costs. The surviving spouse, or the children of the deceased, may also be eligible for a death payment which can be applied to funeral or memorial costs.Also, make sure you check with your county treasurer’s office for state by state funeral details. You may meet the minimum income level that is required to receive funeral assistance.
If your loved one was a veteran, make sure to check with the Veterans Affairs. Veterans have special benefits and burial allowances that can be a great financial resource. The VA burial allowance is a benefit you will definitely want to look into as the VA is required to pay the maximum amount eligible for memorial or funeral costs.
After you have considered the costs, and reached out to federal or state resources, you will want to consider asking friends and family for support. Let’s look into how you can do that.
Share the funeral costs with family & friends across the country
Your not alone and you don’t have to pay for everything by yourself. Your close friends and family can help share the burden of these costs. GoFundMe, the global leader in memorial and funeral costs fundraising, has developed a proprietary technology to make this process easy, efficient and impactful. Friends and family may be close or far away, in different states or even countries. A crowdfunding campaign makes it easy for them to contribute, and help you. In lieu of flowers or cards, you can use a funeral crowdfunding page to help with costs. We’ve even helped establish memorial scholarship funds.
We know it can be stressful to ask for help from your friends and family, but most of them would want to support you. You just need to show them how.
Here are a couple of ways friends and family have used GoFundMe for memorials:
When Christian Ericks, age 46, unexpectedly passed away, his friend Marsha stepped up to help establish the Victoria & Ava Ericks Scholarship Fund. Chris’ two beautiful daughters were the pride and joy of his life. Due to unforeseen circumstances and the untimely death of Chris, there was no support or college fund for his daughters.
By banding together, friends, family, and coworkers were able to raise over $8,000 in 1 month.
Sterling was only 3 years old when God called him home. Everyone who knew Sterling knew he was always thrilled to go to school each day. Sterling wasn’t just your average 3 year old, he was full of life and made his presence known in any room he entered. As the Campaign Organizer, Jennifer knew she could make a difference, so she started a campaign for the family.
They set a goal of $15,000, and in 1 month, they raised over $18,000 for his services and to help the family.
Memorial Fundraisers on GoFundMe: Here to help your friends and family support one another from near and far
While we know how challenging this moment can be, we wanted to help by providing a collection of material and links in one place for you. Please save and bookmark this link – and remember – GoFundMe is here for you. Please reach out to our team with any questions, we are always here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org – Let’s take a look at the checklist.
Checklist: 5 money-saving steps for planning a funeral
- Compare prices from at least two funeral homes and ask for a price list. Asking for a second opinion can save you money. We know how stressful these situations can be and we know that every little bit can help.
- Get a good faith estimate: If the funeral provider doesn’t know the cost of the cash advance items at the time, he or she is required to give you a written “good faith estimate.” This statement also must disclose any legal cemetery or crematory requirements that you purchase specific funeral goods or services.
- Before proceeding, get an itemized statement of all funeral costs: The funeral provider must give you an itemized statement of the total cost. All funeral goods and services you have selected when you are making the arrangements must be itemized and accounted for.
- Don’t overspend: Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don’t really want or need. Realize that some purchases may not be in your best interest. While we know this is stressful, take your time, and make the best decision for your family.
- Understand any legal requirements that relate to costs: Always ask for a written statement. The funeral home needs to describe any legal cemetery, or crematory requirement, and how that may affect your family.
We want you to know you are in our hearts and we wish you strength
We hope you now have the best resources to make an informed decision during this transitional time. At GoFundMe, we have helped countless families in financial need. Click here to start a funeral or memorial fundraiser.