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How Do I Pay for a Funeral?

Dealing with funeral expenses while grieving a loved one can be very stressful. However, there are ways to pay for a funeral that can help make the process less worrisome if you do them in advance. Investopedia’s recent article entitled “How to Pay for a Funeral” advises that the following options can provide peace of mind for families left behind.

Life Insurance. Buying a life insurance policy can provide the necessary funds to cover funeral expenses. After the policyholder dies, the life insurance company will disperse a lump sum to the beneficiaries. These funds can be used to pay funeral costs. However, suppose you purchase life insurance to help cover funeral expenses. In that case, the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) cautions against purchasing preneed or burial insurance because the premiums paid cost more than the benefits the policy proceeds.

Savings. Set up a joint account so your family can access the funds to pay the funeral provider. You can also set up a payable on death (POD) account, in which the funds are dispersed to a named beneficiary upon the account holder’s death, avoiding the delay of probate court.

Prepayment. Many funeral homes offer prepayment plans to cover funeral expenses. You might put the funeral funds in an interest-bearing account or insurance policy with the funeral provider listed as the beneficiary. At your death, the funds are transferred to the funeral provider.

Pay with Cash or Credit. If funds are available, you can pay for the funeral with cash, a check, or a credit card. Ask the funeral provider if you can pay the fees in installments.

Assistance programs or benefits may also be available to help you pay for a funeral, such as veterans benefits and government programs.

Employer: See if the deceased’s employer offers survivor benefits to help cover funeral expenses.

Government agencies: If the deceased received Social Security benefits, the surviving spouse could get a death payment of $255. For those receiving benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), the family may receive additional funds. State and county social services departments also may offer assistance.

Veteran’s benefits: Veterans can receive a free burial and headstone in a national cemetery. Additional benefits may be available if the deceased was on active duty, died from service-related injuries, was in a VA facility, or received a VA pension or disability. In addition, if the deceased is the spouse or dependent of a veteran, they also may receive some burial benefits.

Victims’ assistance: If the deceased was the victim of an accident or homicide, the family might receive funds from the local or state Victim Compensation Program.

Fundraising: Families may work with their church and community to raise funds. Crowdfunding sites, such as GoFundMe, also are options for donations.

Wills, trusts, and estate planning for everyone. To book a call in Anchorage, Alaska, please contact Mitch Wyatt at