Burial cost can vary, consider the options

This was originally published on Monday, September 15, 2014, in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

The sudden responsibility of planning for a loved one’s funeral can be very stressful. Planning and saving for a funeral can cause a lot of additional stress. Although you may know what your loved one’s final wishes are, being able to give them a proper farewell may come with a very large price tag. You do have options when it comes to the cost of a funeral.

Cremation is usually inexpensive compared to the cost of a traditional burial ceremony. Burial costs can vary depending on how basic or lavish the deceased or family wishes are. When burial is the choice of a final resting place, there are several things to consider:

Embalming and preparation: If the deceased will be cremated or buried shortly after passing, then embalming may not be necessary. Dressing and applying makeup to the deceased may be an extra cost. Some might bury their loved one in a favorite outfit or choose to purchase something new.

Burial plots: The location of the plot factors into how much the plot will cost. Generally, plots with a view will cost more. There are different types of plots to consider. The traditional, in-the-ground plot usually requires a grave liner to keep the ground from caving in. The liner is usually made of concrete to prevent the ground from caving in onto the casket. A grave crypt is much like a grave liner but offers more protection to the casket and will cost more. Some, especially those near the ocean, will have the crypt above ground in which the casket is completely surrounded by concrete. Mausoleums also provide another above-ground choice. Mausoleums usually are concrete structures with a marble or granite facing.

Casket: Usually the casket is the most costly expense for a traditional burial service. They vary widely in styles and price. What they are constructed of will also cause price differences.

Gravesite marker: Like a casket, prices for a gravesite marker can vary. A marker is usually flushed with the ground. A headstone or gravestone sits vertical from the ground. There are many different types of markers and headstones. Some are basic with the name, date of birth and death of the deceased. Some are more elaborate with a quote or have an etching of the deceased. Before purchasing, you should check with the cemetery to see if there are any rules or regulations on the types of markers they allow.

Most cemeteries offer payment plans in which a final resting place can be purchased ahead of time. Many of them have payment plans that can be paid either monthly or yearly. Some even offer discounts on their services when planning ahead. Having a burial plot in advance will ease a lot of stress your loved ones will experience. By pre-planning, you can ensure that your wishes are followed.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at moneymattersguam@yahoo.com and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.

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