Maybe you are like me and didn’t realize until you experience first hand just how much funeral and end of life services can cost.

And more importantly, how to pay for the funeral services and when that bill is due.

We talked with Glen King, owner and co-founder of Family Funeral Service Consultants who has over 30 years in the funeral service industry. Glen’s company, Family Funeral Service Consultants (FFSC), provides guidance for families selecting funeral arrangements before or after a loss. Glen has been a great resource for me when I have families unsure of how to handle their lost loved one’s services and I know the questions he answers below will be hugely helpful to you as well.

Read below to learn more about the mechanics of funeral finances.

1.How do I pick a funeral home to work with?   

Many times, families choose the funeral home by tradition. For example, grandparents and parents were buried, so it is assumed the remaining family will be there. One thing to keep in mind when doing this is that many funeral homes were family-owned when their grandparents passed and now the funeral homes are owned by a corporate entity.  There are differences in a corporate versus family-owned funeral home that many consumers would not know to look for that can affect their experience.  

How FFSC can help: At Family Funeral Service Consultants, we can help you navigate the confusing world of funeral homes to find one that is the best fit for your family as we already know the status of most any funeral home in the state of TN and which funeral homes align with your needs and wants. 

2. What is the average cost of the funeral in Middle TN

We have traveled to all the funeral homes in the greater Nashville area and have compared the prices have found that the average cost of around $13,800.00 which includes funeral service, casket, the outer container only.  

There are many other charges that are included in the cost of a funeral. Also keep in mind that the cemetery has several additional charges for things like space, open/close of grave, marker, etc.

 5. What am I paying for in a funeral? 

Each funeral home has a general price list that explains what their costs are. There are certain prices that go with every service and then there are some you can choose to leave off like embalming and other services that don’t apply. 

How does the total cost add up?  There is one charge on all funeral GPL (General Price List) that is charged with every service which is the charge for Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff, (this includes charges such as staff on call 24/7/365 days a year, insurance, vehicles insurance etc.). Other charges can include the following:

  1. Cost of embalming and casketing the body:  These charges vary from funeral home to funeral home.  The avg. here in Nashville Metro Area is $1,295.00 
  2. Cost of burial: Varies on what type of service is chosen by the family. 
  3. Cost of cremation:  Ranges from $895.00 up to $2,795.00 
  4. Cost of holding services: Also varies on what type of service is chosen by the family. 

How FFSC can help: There are so many decisions to be made at the time of a death; not just choosing where and (date/time). FFSC can help with all decisions either at death before a family goes to the funeral home, or long before death (pre-planning). My brother and I have over 75 years of experience to give families the best help in this vulnerable time. My passion for helping people and families is why we chose the route of being an advocate and consultant. We want everyone to know their choices, understand the costs, be able to negotiate costs (saving thousands) by letting us guide them in one of the worst times of their life.

3. How do people typically pay for a funeral?

There are several ways to pay for a funeral home: life insurance, cash/check, credit card, prepaid funeral policy, or finance payment through the funeral home. 

Most of the time, if not all of the time- the payment for a funeral is required in full BEFORE the funeral services occur. While an insurance policy or a prepaid funeral policy certainly eases the burden for the surviving family members, many do not have these policies in place and require the family to pay out of pocket for their lost loved one’s funeral expenses. The funeral home usually offers ways to help families finance the cost of the funeral at typically a higher interest rate of roughly 18%.   

How FFSC can help: At FFSC, we go out to each funeral home or call and see the requirements of the funeral home our families are considering. FFSC can help by offering some solutions in saving money, paying for merchandise separately, etc. FFSC can also help by offering some solutions to keep your lost loved one’s funeral services in budget with what your family can afford, i.e. paying for merchandise separately, etc. We know exactly what these funeral homes are paying and purchasing, unlike the typical consumer.  

4. What if you can’t afford a funeral?  

In my 30 plus years in the funeral industry, I have had several families come into my funeral home (when I was an owner) and tell me they have no money.  I can only comment on what I would do, and that is work out a funeral or cremation plan that the family is ok with and make arrangements in house to accept payments. 

The funeral home has many options available if they (the funeral home) will use them.  There are considerations, such as body donation which has to be done before death and this is less expensive for the family. But that is a personal decision that should be talked through. There are also green burial options now that have lower costs than traditional funerals because there is not as much merchandise (caskets/vaults) purchased or needed for this type of funeral. 

How FFSC can help: This is also an area we are proud to say we help families with at FFSC. FFSC will work with the family and the funeral home to come up with a plan that is acceptable to both parties. We have helped people with no money to pay us, arrange affordable arrangements for their loved ones. Oftentimes, these tough situations call for a professional, like FFSC to be your advocate at a funeral establishment.