Basically, you have two options: Cremation or Earth Burial.
Here's a list of things you need to think about with regard to both options.
- casket type
- service details
- cemetery property
- monument (headstone)
- reception after service
- container/casket type
- service or memorial details
- type of urn
- what to do with the cremated remains after all is said and done
- reception after service memorial
Typical caskets are constructed from wood or metal. Cremation containers can vary from cardboard to the most elaborate wood casket you can find.
You need to think about if you want a service of any kind. This can range from no service of any kind, a memorial service with or without casket/urn present, to a full traditional-type funeral service with visitation.
Your casket can be buried in the ground, or put in a mausoleum. Both can be costly.
Your cremated remains can be put in an urn, and kept by family members for private disposition. Or you can have them buried, put into a niche in a columbarium, or scatter them in a certain area within some cemeteries.
Cemetery property can be expensive, even if you are only buying one plot for cremated remains in an urn.
I am only aware of one Green Cemetery in Canada, located somewhere in British Columbia. This page can provide you with more information.
Biodegradable caskets come in all shapes, sizes and differing construction materials.
So do Urns. Here are some examples.
Taking an example of a friend of mine, even with choosing lower cost options, they are looking at $1800 for cremation and professional services, $1900 for one plot, $400 for an Urn, and $7000 for a monument. Add in about $850 for a memorial service, and $600 for a cheap-o reception, they are looking at a total cost of about $15,000 for two people.
There are so many choices to be made. Funeral service or cremation. Which cemetery? Burial or scattering? Embalming or no embalming? To have a visitation (viewing) or not? Should there be flowers? Memorial donations? Which Funeral Home to involve?
Consider this. Most funerals/cremations are paid for by way of a funeral/insurance plan, life insurance proceeds, and on a credit card.
A Credit Card?!?!
Yep. A credit card. Lots of folks have credit limits that could swallow the cost of an entire funeral service, with, excuse the term, all the bells and whistles. Most funeral service establishments require some type of deposit before services are rendered. Anywhere from 50% of the total and up.
Would creating a Funeral Fund seem morbid to all you PF-ers out there?
I'd rather be morbid than have my spouse or kids put my casket on their credit card, and end up paying it off for the next 30 years, with interest.
What say you, readers? Have you ever even given your final wishes any thought?
Note: After I wrote this post, I found an interesting article on cremation. Of course, it doesn't cover every last detail, it will give you a good idea of what to think about. http://blog.yourmoney.ca/2011/08/cremation-costs.html