Another Interesting Funeral Cost

in Case Study

With the passing of my Mother-in-Law this past week, I was exposed (yet again) to the Funeral Industry and I am starting to think that I might soon be lumping them in with the Pay Day Loan Industry for attempting to suck as much money out of people when they are the most vulnerable.  For those who haven’t dealt with them (yet) the “small town funeral home” really seems no longer to exist, and most are owned by a few very large conglomerates.

The overall cost, I won’t go over, since it is a very large cost and it can vary wildly from funeral to funeral, but I did come across a very interesting “extra fee”, should you be cremating your loved one.

RoseIf you cremate your loved one, there is the issue of the ashes and what you do with them. If you want to keep the ashes to spread them in a special place, you can get a beautiful urn and for which you’d pay a good deal of money, or you could have a cheap and cheerful box (with the ashes in it (in a plastic bag)), my guess is it might be cheaper to buy your own urn.

Most crematorium or funeral parlors offer to “inter your loved ones ashes in our memorial garden”, or more simply, we’ll bury the ashes for you in our Rose garden (and we’ll keep track of where, and promise not to dig it up). For my family the idea of burying the ashes in a Rose Garden would be nice (my late Father and Mother were rose mavens), however the cost of this privilege threw me off.

The price quoted to my Father in Law was $500 for this service. As a young lad I dug in the garden (begrudgingly) and to dig a hole large enough to bury a loved one’s ashes is about a 5 minute job (if not less), and it will cost $500? Wow!

Any other funeral service charges folks have heard of ? I am curious.

 

 

 

{ 14 comments }

  • Bet Crooks July 7, 2013, 8:50 PM

    While it’s certainly not for everyone, some of our relatives opted to donate their bodies to medical schools upon their deaths. After the medical students have finished their learning, the body is cremated and the ashes are returned to the family, if desired. There is no cost whatsoever if you go this route.

    You can scatter ashes on private property in Ontario with permission of the landowner, and on Crown land (no permission required) but apparently you can’t bury the ashes. Though how anyone would know you did if you chose not to use an urn…. http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/cemt_fun_guide.aspx
    (and yes someone wasn’t thinking too well when they came up with the shortform in that link of “fun” for “funeral”!

    Reply
  • Patrick Doyle July 5, 2013, 8:07 AM

    If you want the naively optimistic answer… Perhaps the $500 is effectively a tiny endowment that amounts to about $20 per year to maintain your little mini-gravesite forever?

    Reply
  • Emory W. Reese July 5, 2013, 8:05 AM

    Ashes are interred beneath a standard rose. A black polished plaque in the shape of a heart will be fixed beneath the rose with wording of your choice. A second set of ashes may be interred at a later date for the cost of the interment only. Cut flowers only may be laid beneath the rose.

    Reply
  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle July 3, 2013, 6:49 AM

    I think that it may be illegal to bury the ashes of a loved one in the garden.

    I can’t find a definitive answer but I think you can only bury an urn on registered cemetery property.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 3, 2013, 9:38 AM

      I know it is illegal to bury your cat in your garden, wonder why not ashes?

      Reply
      • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle July 3, 2013, 6:11 PM

        I buried our very large, very old dog in the yard this spring. I was not aware that was illegal.

        When I family member died we paid for cremation and not inurnment. The crematorium is located in a cemetery and we were told in very strong language that it is illegal to scatter or bury human remains anywhere other than a certified cemetery.

        Some cemeteries are now offering a garden area to scatter ashes for a price.

        Reply
  • Lea July 3, 2013, 4:35 AM

    My condolences to you & your family on the loss of you MIL.
    My Dad makes cremation boxes for the family, I’ll probably opt for one of them. But the mason jar isn’t such a bad idea lol Dad also makes maple syrup so I do have those hanging around!

    Reply
  • Miriam Kearney July 2, 2013, 2:05 PM

    I’ m with you … I would rather go to the crematoriam myself than deal with the so-called ‘compassionate’ funeral directors. I have had to do this twice in the last few years … when my husband died and more recently when my mother died. I was, obviously more prepared to handle them when my mother died because I had been through it before.
    In my town, the so-called ‘low cost’ cremation service costs $2500 without an urn or any kind of service but that’s not the real problem. You meet with the ‘funeral director’ in a storefront sitting on uncomfortable cheap office chairs. When my husband died he offered to handle the notification to OAS and CPP. It turned out this was him filling a really easy form, addressing it and then (no kidding) giving it to me to mail! For this I think he charged me something like $200. There was an itemized list of charges so I stupidly assumed I could choose what I wanted but it turns out that no matter what you choose the price is the same.
    The real problem as I see it is that when you are most vulnerable, you have to get dressed, drive to town (in my case 40km) and deal with a person who has the compassion of a wet dish rag. He should have come to me. I have often thought of starting a funeral service just so I could do it right.

    Reply
  • Rebecca S. Smith July 2, 2013, 9:03 AM

    Go to internet look under URNS and purchase your urns cheaper than from funeral directors.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 2, 2013, 9:53 AM

      Excellent, or maybe a large masonry jar? 🙂

      Reply
  • LifeInsuranceCanada.com July 2, 2013, 8:08 AM

    From what I’ve seen, one should plan $10-$15K for a funeral if one doesn’t go overboard. Still, I’ve heard stories of clients who pa $30-$75K. And a small bit of permanent insurance is a good way to pay for that quickly – otherwise people are scrambling to come up with the money to pay the funeral home .

    The counterpoint to your concern over the cost of the burial is that it’s not just $500 for digging a hole. It’s $500 for digging a hole, then cutting the grass for eternity. I wonder if this service isn’t a ponzi scheme, where current purchasers pay for the grass to be cut today, but when there’s no more new sales, is the grass still going to be cut?

    Reply
    • bigcajunman July 2, 2013, 8:46 AM

      What if the Funeral Home moves?

      The other issue with funerals is, there is no DIY to it. If you could just go to the crematorium, get a “woof, they are gone” package, maybe get the ashes and you are done, I’d be happy with that.

      Reply
      • LifeInsuranceCanada.com July 2, 2013, 11:20 AM

        I suspect the only way to control funeral costs is to prepare for this yourself, before you pass. That’s the only way you’re going to remove the emotional aspect from the process. Otherwise, people are looking for the best rememberance for their loved one and don’t balance this against cost – probably don’t even want to balance it against costs.

        My stepfather did this. He was lifelong friends with the funeral director. When my mother went to select a coffin she immediately went to a nice one. The funeral director refused. My mom was a bit taken aback, until he explained that my stepfather had come over before he passed and told the director very clearly to make sure my mother didn’t ‘spend the farm’, and that she was limited to the cheaper coffins only. I dunno if that sounds gruesome or not, but it’s actually a pleasant rememberance of him, that he was looking out for my mother even after he passed and did so in a somewhat humourous fashion.

        Reply
        • bigcajunman July 2, 2013, 5:07 PM

          Given there are few (if any) “Local” funeral homes, and thus they all have their “price lines”, my guess is there are few bargains left in this business. I have not heard from any of my friends any “good guy funeral sales dude” stories lately. This seems to be much like the Veterinary game?

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