5:18 PM EDT, November 1, 2012
The only things certain in life are death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin said that at a time when funeral and burial costs weren't nearly what they are now.
It's sad but true. We're all going to die.
"You need to talk about it. As uncomfortable as it is you need to talk about it," David Williams of the Lotz Funeral Home said.
Funeral home directors like David Williams say planning ahead saves not only time and heartache but money as well.
The costs for funerals and burials go up every year, but many funeral providers claim you can lock in today's prices now with pre-paid plans.
"The average family is saving about 35% on the cost of a funeral if they plan it today,” Williams said.
But let's say you do wait. Now you're grief stricken and faced with the task of figuring out what to do with a lost loved one.
And there's another question. What's this going to cost me?
"A traditional funeral with a casket and a vault and an earth burial. Those funerals at Oakeys begin at $5,000,” Sammy Oakey, of Oakey's Funeral Home said.
Depending on what kind of casket and vault, the price can be higher or lower.
There are also death certificates to think about, obituaries, visitations and memorial services.
And like almost everything else, you'll pay taxes on all of it as well.
"I would say a family would need to plan on at least $7,000,” Oakey said. “That can be higher. That can be lower, but a family needs to go in knowing that there's going to be at least a $7,000 charge on a traditional funeral."
The funeral home is just one bill. Then comes the bill for the cemetery, and it's going to be a large one. Not only do you have to buy a burial plot, get the grave dug and filled back in, you may choose to get a nice, large headstone and get a graveside service. All those costs you may not have thought about.
That's one of the reasons more and more people are having their loved ones cremated these days.
Burying ashes is much cheaper than burying a body, if you choose to bury them at all.
You can keep remains in an urn or scatter them. Still, some people need the closure that visitations and funerals provide. Funeral homes are happy to oblige.
"It's up to us to educate folks that, yeah you can still do all those things,” Williams said. “You can still have a full-service funeral. You can still have a viewing et cetera. But then we just cremate."
Cremation or not, once you throw in the ceremonies, it will be hard to die, if you will, for less than $4,000.
You may be able to find better prices, but keep an eye on the quality of service.
"We know that our funeral home, we're not the highest price, we're not the lowest price, but we do think we give the best value,” Oakey said. “And I think that's what families really need to be looking for."
Looking for value as they honor a life that added so much value to their own.
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