Coping with Death: How to Get Assistance with Paying for a Funeral

August 12, 2019

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Did your parent, your spouse, your sibling, or someone else who was very special to you just die? If so, you’re probably in the process of trying to plan out their funeral right now.

Planning a funeral can be a very stressful process. And a big part of the reason why it’s so stressful is because paying for a funeral can be hard to do for many people.

The average funeral costs more than $10,000 these days. It can cost even more than that if your loved one had any special requests for their funeral prior to their passing.

If you know that you’re going to have a hard time paying for a loved one’s funeral, it’s a good idea to take a look at the different types of funeral assistance that might be available to you. Here of several of your best options.

Find Out If Your Loved One Pre-Planned Funeral Services

Years ago, the idea of sitting down and planning out your own funeral services was preposterous. People didn’t spend much time at all thinking about their own deaths, let alone planning ahead for them.

But in 2019, it’s not all that uncommon for people to pre-plan funeral services for themselves. It allows them to:

  • Decide whether they want to be buried or cremated at the time of their death
  • Pick out where they want their viewing and/or funeral to be held
  • Choose special songs, readings, etc. that they want to be included in their funeral services

It also allows them to pre-pay a funeral home for their funeral services. By doing this, they’re able to lift a burden off their family’s shoulders since their family won’t have to worry about paying for a funeral.

In the immediate aftermath of a loved one’s death, check to see if they may have pre-planned their own funeral arrangements. It could save you from having to spend any time stressing out over the cost of their funeral.

A bouquet of flowers is sitting on a table

Ask Your Family Members and Friends for Help

When those around you hear that your loved one died, they’ll often ask you if there is anything that they can do to help. People are usually more than willing to help those who have lost someone close to them.

If you’re struggling to find a way to pay for funeral services for your loved one, you shouldn’t be shy about asking your closest family members and friends if they might be willing to help you financially. You might be surprised by how generous some of your family members and friends will be when it comes to funeral assistance.

You shouldn’t expect anyone to swoop in and cover all the costs associated with a person’s funeral. But if you can find enough family members and friends to donate a small amount of money to you, it’ll start to add up.

Just make sure you remember to thank everyone later once you’re in a better frame of mind. Send each person who helped your cause a handwritten letter thanking them for what they did for you.

Check to See If a Local Church Can Lend a Hand

If you belong to a church—or if your loved one belonged to one—you might want to check to see if the church can be of any assistance to you.

There are some churches that have special funds set up to help those families who can’t afford to pay for funerals. There are other churches that have good working relationships with funerals homes, which might help lower your loved one’s funeral costs.

There are also churches that will stop everything that they’re doing to fundraise for a family that needs funeral assistance. Whatever the case, it never hurts to ask a church if there is anything that they might be able to do to help you.

If nothing else, they will be able to offer their thoughts and prayers to you and your family during your tough times. And ultimately, their support could be worth even more than any money that they would ever give to you.

A banana

See If You Can Come Up With a Good Fundraising Solution

In a perfect world, your church will help you set up a fundraiser to raise money for your loved one’s funeral services. But if they’re not able to help you for some reason, you also have the option of setting a fundraiser up on your own.

There are a million and one fundraiser ideas that you can use when you’re trying to put together a pool of money for your loved one’s funeral services. You can go with one of the classic fundraisers, like a car wash or a bake sale. There are also online fundraisers that you can jumpstart right away.

If you choose to set up an online fundraiser, make sure you do it through a reputable crowdfunding site. There are plenty of sites that have made a name for themselves by offering help to people looking to create online fundraisers.

Make sure you do more than just ask people to please give you money, too. Use your online fundraiser to talk about your loved one’s loss and how it has impacted you. Let people know that any little bit of money that they can spare would be helpful as far as paying for a funeral is concerned.

Try to also get your family members and friends to share a link to your online fundraiser on social media. It’ll increase the chances of you being able to raise enough money to cover your loved one’s funeral costs.

Give the Social Security Administration a Call

Was your loved one eligible to collect Social Security benefits at the time of their death?

If they were, you should call up the Social Security Administration to find out about the benefits that you might be able to receive in light of their death. Depending on what your relationship to the deceased was, you might be able to collect a one-time payment of $255 from the Social Security Administration.

That amount of money isn’t going to go too far when you’re making funeral arrangements for your loved one. But it could be more than enough to cover some of the smaller costs for your loved one’s funeral.

For example, you can pick up a cremation urn for your loved one’s remains for under $255. That’ll be one less thing you have to pay for out of your own pocket when planning your loved one’s funeral.

Figure Out What Kind of Funeral Assistance Your State Offers

There are a lot of people who don’t realize this. But if you cannot afford to pay for a funeral for your loved one, there is a decent chance that your state might be able to help foot the bill.

Every U.S. state operates a little bit different with regards to extending funeral assistance to those families who need it. But if you’re in a bind, it would be well worth your time to see what assistance your state might be able to offer you.

To find out what kind of funeral assistance you can get from your state, you should speak with the funeral home that you’re working with about it. They can often point you in the right direction and let you know how to apply for funeral financial assistance.

Have all your financial information ready to go so that you can speed through the application process as fast as possible. It’ll allow you to get your hands on money that could help you with paying for a funeral.

Consider Financing Your Loved One’s Funeral

If you’ve tried everything else listed here and you still can’t figure out a good way to get funeral assistance, financing your loved one’s funeral might be worth looking into.

You can finance a funeral for a loved one by:

  • Taking out a personal loan from a bank
  • Putting funeral charges on a credit card
  • Borrowing money from a family member and coming up with a repayment plan that ensures you’ll pay them back (with a small amount of interest to make it worth their while)

This will help you give your loved one the funeral that they deserve. It’ll also buy you some time so that you can pay off their funeral in full.

You Can Get Help When Paying for a Funeral If You Look Hard Enough

Paying for a funeral for a loved one—especially a loved one who died without much warning—can be challenging for many families. They get overwhelmed when they begin to think about how they’re going to come up with enough money to pay for a funeral.

Use the suggestions listed here to create a plan for paying for your loved one’s funeral. If you’re willing to put in a little bit of time and effort, you can find a way to put together a funeral and pay for it.

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