When a loved one passes away unexpectedly, with no prior planning or life insurance, it can be an incredible financial burden on you if you are the closest relative. You will likely be the one who has to make funeral arrangements and figure out a way to pay the bill. Some funeral homes will allow you to make payments, but it is not uncommon for a good portion of the bill to be paid up front. If this is a situation you find yourself in, and you do not have the money to pay, there are two easy ways you may be able to use to lessen this financial burden.
Contact Your State Human Services Office
The human services department may be able to help you with some of the expenses of the funeral by informing you of indigent burial assistance programs. Although not every state has some form of burial assistance available for low income families, there are still many that do. The assistance available may not cover all of the expenses, but it can be a step in the right direction. For example, in Hawaii, you may only be able to get $400 to pay toward funeral or cremation expenses, but it will be a start; and, some funeral homes will work with you more if you can come up with at least some of the payment.
Consider Bodily Donation for Medicinal and Scientific Purposes
You may think it would be inconsiderate to donate your loved one's remains to medicine or science, but this is actually more common than many people would think. Another misconception is that if you do this, the remains are never returned. However, this is not true in most cases. Some medical schools will actually have the remains cremated and returned to you once they have fulfilled their purpose. You may even be able to get help with the costs of burial if you donate the remains to some schools. To find out if this is an option, check with the medical schools you have in your state for more information.
With the average funeral costing as much as $7,000 or more, it is easy to understand why some would have a difficult time paying funeral expenses when the unexpected happens. In the end, having the best memorial does not have to mean that you go in debt. Make sure you talk to the funeral home director about what options may be available to help you lay your loved one to rest.