Topic Overview

Funerals and memorial services allow the grieving family and
friends time to reminisce about the life of their loved one. A funeral or
memorial service can be a time not only for grieving but also for healing and
celebrating life.

A funeral or memorial service also helps family
and friends face the reality of their loved one’s death. It helps them begin
the process of accepting and adjusting to the loss.

Planning a funeral

Communicating preferences with
family members is important, whether you are planning your own funeral or a
loved one’s.

Think about the choices you want for yourself. Things
to consider include the following:

  • Do you prefer burial to
  • If you choose burial, do you wish to have a viewing with
    an open casket, or do you prefer a closed casket and no
  • What special requirements, if any, does your religion
  • Do you want flowers at your funeral or memorial service,
    or do you prefer that donations be made to a favorite charity?
  • What
    music do you want at the service?
  • Who do you want to speak at the

Funeral costs

Funeral expenses vary greatly,
depending on the area and on the types of services selected. You may avoid
unnecessary costs by discussing your wishes with your family. You may want to
schedule a meeting with family members and a funeral planner to go over
details. This could help your family save money and time and can help reduce
their stress after your death.

Funeral home burial charges
usually include:

  • Transportation of the deceased person to the
    funeral home and to the cemetery.
  • Preparation of the body
    (embalming, cosmetology, hairstyling, dressing).
  • Viewing at the
    funeral home.
  • Services at the funeral home, graveside, or
  • Limousine service for transporting family to the
  • Casket.
  • Acknowledgment
  • Professional services.

In addition to the funeral home costs, the cemetery
usually charges for the liner (vault) to prevent the ground from settling,
opening and closing the grave, and grave markers or monuments.

Cremation or donating your body to science is an alternative to burial
and generally is less expensive.

Related Information


Other Works Consulted

  • Federal Trade Commission (2000). Funerals: A Consumer Guide. Available online:
  • Federal Trade Commission (2007). Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods and Services. Available online:
  • Federal Trade Commission (accessed April 2010). Funerals: Consumer Rights Under the Funeral Rule. Available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Shelly R. Garone, MD, FACP – Palliative Medicine

Current as ofOctober 6, 2017