What to Do if You Can’t Afford Funeral Costs

Losing someone you love is never easy, but financially, it can be more devastating to some people more than others. While money is often the last thing on your mind when a relative dies, there are costs associated with funeral planning and burial. However, the burden goes beyond affordability; many people feel that if they don’t have enough money for an extravagant funeral, then it is somehow a disgrace or disrespectful to the person who passed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Funerals, burials are more symbolic and are designed for you to say a final farewell to your loved one. However, there are at least six options to relieve the financial burden of laying a loved one to rest.

Life Insurance

The first place you should check is with your loved one’s life insurance policy or burial policies. Many people prepare for their funerals by organizing their final wishes prior to their death, especially if they were dealing with a terminal illness. You can contact the issuer of the policy to discuss the potential coverages for funeral expenses. While an insurance policy may not cover all funeral expenses, it may include a good percentage of the costs.


If your loved did not have a policy or if the plan did not cover a significant portion of the burial expense, then you can try to get a personal loan. While you may have enough available credit on credit cards, or you might have the option for a cash advance, it is best to avoid these options because of the high-interest rates and the resulting sustained debt.

Family and Friends

Have you considered asking friends and family or holding a small community fundraiser? An average funeral can cost between $6,000 and $10,000 depending on the burial options chosen. While that is a significant amount of money, when spread across several individuals, the expense becomes more doable. However, it is understandable if raising funds is not possible, and there are still other potential options for those in need.

Low-Cost Burial Options

While funeral costs can be considered extravagant, there are options that can significantly reduce the overall costs. For example, cremation is an extremely affordable option, especially when a family member will keep the ashes. However, not every religious denomination favors cremation, but the views on the process are becoming more tolerable. Cremation can be a hugely symbolic and moving way to pay tribute to a loved one.

Coroner’s Office

If you find that even low-cost burial options are too expensive for you, then you can reach out to your county coroner’s office. Most coroners will pitch in to bury or cremate the remains of your loved one if you can’t. You will have to sign release forms permitting the county to cremate the body. Once the body is cremated, the coroner will likely allow you to claim the askes for a small fee. However, if you fail to claim the ashes, then the coroner will bury the ashes in a common grave.

Payment Plans or Options

Many funeral homes will work with the surviving members of the family to ensure that the individual is buried or cremated. Some institutions will even arrange payment plans or other options, but most of these options will require good credit.

While it may be frustrating discussing funeral services and expenses when dealing with a loss, finance is an unfortunate aspect of life and death. However, funeral homes will always try to be understanding and helpful in your time of need. Contact Wujek Calcaterra & Sons at one of two locations – Sterling Heights (586-588-9438) or Shelby Township (586-217-3316) – to discuss typical expenses and your options.


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