How To Plan A Funeral With No Money

How to plan a funeral with no money

Written by Kim Wilhelm

Verified!  See guidelines

Verified!  See our editorial guidelines

Last Updated 14 Apr 2024

It's imperative to honor our loved ones and be able to say a final goodbye, but sometimes we need to plan a funeral with little to no money. 


Funerals and memorial services help us overcome our sadness, as well as celebrate their life and legacy after losing a loved one.


In this article, we're going to give you some tips on planning a funeral with little to no money.

ARTICLE TABLE OF CONTENTS (Skip to section)

Understanding Your Funeral Rights 

When a loved one passes away, mourning family members are confronted with many funeral-related decisions that must be made as soon as possible. For instance:

  • Which funeral home do we use?
  • What type of casket do we buy? 
  • What style of tombstone?
  • How many guests do we need to accommodate? 
  • How are we going to pay for this?

Every year we see thousands of American’s struggle to make choices regarding their loved ones funerals.

Before we get into your options for paying for a funeral, it’s important to start by educating yourself on your rights about funeral charges and other burial expenses.

The stress of preparing a funeral will be lessened if you are aware of all of your options and can exercise your legal rights while dealing with funeral homes.

The Funeral Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the Funeral Rule to protect Americans from paying for services they don’t need and from price-gouging on services they do.

Knowing these rights can help when planning a funeral with little to no money.

The Funeral Rule grants customers the following rights:

  • Purchase Only the Funeral Products and Services You Desire
  • Obtain Pricing Details over the Phone
  • Obtain an Itemized Bill for Products and Services
  • View a List of Casket Prices
  • View a Written Price List for Caskets Used for Outer Burials
  • Get a Written Statement after You've Determined What You Want and Before You Pay
  • Use an Alternative Container While Cremating
  • Provide Your Coffin or Urn
  • Organize a Funeral without Embalming

How to Pay for a Funeral With Little to no Money?

Once you know your funeral rights, the next step is determining how you will pay for a funeral with little to no money.

Often, the first and most common measure is to seek help from external sources, such as:

Choose an Affordable Plan to Cover Funeral Expenses

The cemetery fee is not included in the average cost of funeral services, so, selecting a less expensive choice often makes financial sense.

A modest, inexpensive funeral is still a proper and respectful way to honor a loved one's life. 

Here are some affordable options for planning a funeral with little to no money:

Direct Cremation

Direct cremation takes place when the body is burned shortly after death without a funeral service.

It is often referred to as a simple or inexpensive cremation. The family receives the cremated remains as part of the final disposition.

Based on the location and any other services selected, the price of direct cremation might range from approximately $600-$3,500.

Direct Burial

A formal funeral service is not held before a direct burial, akin to direct cremation. Direct burial is less costly than typical funeral arrangements because the corpse is buried immediately.

However, if the family chooses a more expensive coffin or organizes a graveside service, the entire cost can go up.

Home Funeral

When a family chooses to hold their loved one's funeral at home rather than transporting the body to a mortuary or crematory, it is known as a home funeral.

Home funerals allow family members to attend to their loved ones discreetly and offer them more time with them, allowing them to spend less on funeral services.

Body Donation

Funeral and burial costs are eliminated when a body is donated to science. The cremation expense will be covered by educational establishments (and other entities that accept such gifts), and the deceased's cremated ashes will be returned to the family at no cost.

Generally, this happens in two to three years.

This free funeral option is ideal for those who want to make a difference by funding scientific investigation and clinical research.

Pre-Plan the Funeral to Cover Costs

Preparing for end-of-life expenses can reduce the financial strain of funeral and cremation expenditures.

Pre-planning a funeral also allows you to write down your final wishes and select from various insurance options designed to cover funeral costs. These include the following:

Final Expense Insurance

Compare and buy

final expense

Final Expense Life Insurance Quote Online

Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance, can help ease the financial burden felt by your family when they are planning a funeral, especially if they are planning a funeral with little to no money.

Funeral and burial expenses for the insured person are covered by burial insurance for seniors over 60. Such insurance reserves a certain sum of money, which can be used for other final expenses by the named recipient to cover funeral costs.

Although it can vary from one insurance provider to the other, typical burial insurance policy for seniors over 60 falls within the $5,000–$25,000 range.

Life insurance for burial, funeral, and final expenses will prevent your passing from placing a financial burden on your loved ones.

Traditional final expense insurance for seniors over 60 has no expiration date, as long as you make your monthly premium payments. 

Without burial insurance for seniors over 60 your family will be responsible for covering all funeral and final expenses. 

This is where final expense insurance, can prove valuable. 

Burial insurance covers seniors over 60 years old. Burial insurance may cost as little as $12 monthly or as much as $500.

You can choose a plan based on your needs and budget. Regardless of your plan, you can expect the following benefits from burial insurance:

  • Ease of Issue
  • Locked-In Premium
  • Fixed Death Benefit
  • Tax-Free
  • Your Policy Cannot Be Cancelled
  • Cash Value 

FAQs about Planning a Funeral with No Money

What Will Happen if I Don't Have Burial Insurance When I Pass?

If your family chooses to give you a funeral, they will be responsible for paying all funeral and final expenses if you don't have a burial insurance policy. 

If you die without burial insurance, they may experience financial and emotional burdens if they cannot pay for your funeral.

What Happens If Someone Dies Without Any Money or Relatives?

The hospital or the municipal government will arrange a public health funeral, where they will cremate the remains and transfer the ashes to a cemetery or crematorium if the deceased has no money or relatives to pay for the funeral. 

When a Family Cannot Afford a Funeral, What Happens to the Body?

The family loses possession of or accessibility to the remains when the body is handed over to the county or state.

Following the tips above can help when planning a funeral with little to no money.

Why are Funerals So Expensive?

Funerals are expensive because of the many services required. 

These services cover the body's preparation, transportation, planning of the funeral, the venue, and cremation or burial in a cemetery.

Who Must Legally Foot The Bill For A Funeral?

If there is a will, the funeral expenses must be paid for by the estate executor 

However, no one is required to have a funeral for the deceased. In which case, the remains would simply be turned over to the county or state and no one would have to pay for anything.

However, if a funeral is desired, which it usually is, the expense of the funeral falls on person or people who choose to pay for it.

Is it a Good Idea to Prepay for Your Funeral?

While pre-paying your funeral can be a good option for some, they’re usually set up on payment plans, and if the payee passes away before it’s paid off, the remaining payments will fall onto their family members.

This is why burial insurance is a better alternative. If the insured dies, the family will receive the payout amount and no further payments will be required

Final Words

Planning a funeral with little to no money might be challenging. Be sure to ask for assistance if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

You can reach out to us if you choose to get burial insurance coverage to ensure that your family won't be left to bear the financial burden of unpaid funeral costs. 

We can help you choose the ideal final expense insurance policy for your needs and budget.

INSTANT FINAL EXPENSE QUOTES

  • Get quotes FAST
  • More affordable than you think
  • Compare quotes from top companies
  • Know what you qualify for before you buy!
By pressing "Get Quotes Now" you agree to our privacy policy and consent to have Final Expense Direct contact you by email, phone call, text/SMS message at the phone number & email you provide. You understand that any calls, texts, SMS messages may be made using automated dialing technology. Consent isn’t a condition to purchase our products.