Check for ways to save, raise money, and find alternative payment methods
If the cost of the deceased's end-of-life plan is an undue financial burden on you, the surviving family, or the estate's funds, then consider ways to save and/or raise money.
Ways to save money Knowing what is, and what is not legally required will help you make the right purchasing decisions and not unnecessarily overspend.
- Not all funeral home services are required by law, such as embalming or a burial vault
- You don't need to purchase caskets, urns, or headstones from a funeral home
- Rather than spend on an expensive venue for a memorial service or post-funeral event, use a free venue such as someone's home, a public area, park, or house of worship
Read More For more information about understanding your rights as a consumer, see the "Know your rights when planning a funeral" section of the Guide.
Ways to raise money
- Support from friends and family during a challenging time can be beneficial, both emotionally and financially
- Fundraising websites can be an effective method for obtaining the money needed to pay for burial or cremation services
- Those who typically provide support are family, friends, co-workers, places of worship, or local businesses and clubs
Good to Know You can also request financial and logistical support from friends and family by creating a free Memorial website from Autumn.
After creating the website, share the link with friends and family who can then communicate with you about the help you may need.
What are alternative methods of paying for a funeral?
Before purchasing anything, review alternative ways to pay a Funeral Home for their products and services.
Assign Life Insurance Policy to Funeral Home
- Some states may allow the executor to change life insurance payments originally slated for the estate to go directly to funeral home.
- Be careful not to sign more than is needed for the total sum of all products and services so as to not overpay
- Review state law or consult a probate or estate attorney, before speaking with a funeral director for more information
Funeral Home Submits Claim to Estate
- Although uncommon, the funeral home may file a claim against the estate rather than an individual
- Because funeral cost claims are a priority, and probate court and state law typically pays them first, funeral directors may be willing to collect payment from the estate at a later date.
Are you required to use a funeral home?
You are not obligated to use a funeral home in all but nine states (Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, and New York legally require you to hire a funeral home and funeral director to manage final disposition of a deceased person).
Important Without a funeral director's supervision, you will be solely responsible for abiding by your state's laws for a do-it-yourself (DIY) funeral. This can be challenging because each state has their own laws about final disposition.
These laws include, but are not limited to:
- Body transportation
- Official paperwork submissions and requests
- Burial location zoning restrictions
- Permit requirements
For example, while most states allow for burial on private property outside large cities, each county has their own laws for where the burial may be allowed.
Good to Know Home burial is not lawfully allowed in California, Indiana, and Washington state, and no state allows for a DIY cremation; this always needs to be done by a licensed professional.
Furthermore, some states forbid anyone but a funeral director from requesting official paperwork like a death certificate from local government agencies.
Providers If you are interested in managing the deceased's final disposition yourself without professional support, it's best to speak with an attorney and/or state and local government to ensure that no laws are broken. See the links below for attorneys near you.
Providers to Contact
Probate Attorneys Near You
Probate attorneys can help you determine if the deceased was eligible for any funeral benefits or had money set aside for a funeral. They help settle a deceased person’s estate.