Can’t Afford a Funeral for Your Loved One? Consider These Helpful Solutions

By: VGFS
Friday, November 19, 2021

Losing a loved one brings emotional turmoil and can cause financial hardship for the surviving family members.

If you need to pay for a funeral but have no money for the expenses, take heart: you are not alone. The situation is common and fortunately, options do exist.

Below are five ways that you may be able to get financial assistance with burial services for your departed loved one.

Life insurance may cover some or most of the expenses.

If you’re the one responsible for paying for the funeral expenses, see if the departed carried a life insurance policy. This could be a policy they got through their job or one that they bought independently. If such a policy exists, call the insurance company and speak to an agent so they can go over the details of the policy with you. Ask which funeral and burial expenses are covered and which aren’t. You may find that the life insurance policy covers at least a portion of the funeral costs.

There are lower-cost funeral and burial options available.

If you can’t afford the funeral you envisioned, you will need to make some concessions. One expense you may be able to eliminate is embalming. In the state of Maryland, embalming is required only under specific circumstances. If you do not embalm the body, you can opt for what is called a ‘green’ or natural burial. This type of burial is also considered more environmentally friendly. The body is placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and interred without a concrete burial vault. You’ll avoid the high costs of embalming, ornate caskets, or concrete vaults. Cremation can also cost less than a traditional burial. If you still prefer a more traditional burial, select a less expensive casket sold by the funeral home or search online for an affordable casket. Before buying a casket on your own, be sure to check the requirements established by the cemetery you have chosen.

You might be able to take out a personal loan.

If you strongly prefer certain funeral services but cannot afford them now, see if you can get a loan. This is a good option for you if you have good credit and are comfortable borrowing from and repaying the money to a bank or credit union. This route is more advisable than taking out a cash advance from your credit card, which can carry high-interest rates. If possible, avoid putting yourself under any additional financial hardship.

Your county coroner’s office can help.

If you cannot afford a funeral, contact your county’s coroner’s office. With this option, you must sign legal paperwork stating that you cannot afford the costs of a burial or cremation. The county and state will then cover the costs for a simple burial or cremation. In cases of cremation, they may give you the option to reclaim the ashes of your loved one for a fee.

Family and friends may be able to assist.

Consider reaching out to your loved ones. Be honest and explain that you have no money for funeral expenses. They may be willing to help. Consider costs of the casket, funeral services, and burial. Keep track of each item and add them up so you can give your family and friends a good idea of what is needed. See what they can reasonably commit to financially. Your funeral home can help you determine what the costs will be and make recommendations based on what you are able to afford.

The best way to pay for a funeral is by selecting the options that you can afford. Consider your choices and do your best to honor your loved one without causing undue financial hardship for yourself and your family.

If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail or would like to plan your own funeral in advance, please get in touch with us. Our knowledgeable and caring team is always available to answer your questions and provide compassionate guidance.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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