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  • When someone dies, they don't have to worry about money anymore, but there is a surprising

  • amount of money involved with dying.

  • Why is it so expensive to die?

  • The costs start racking up before death.

  • Sure, there are those people who die suddenly and without any other associated costs - for

  • instance, someone who drops dead of a heart attack suddenly without any other health problems,

  • or someone who is out for a jog and has a piano drop on their head.

  • Someone's going to be shelling out a lot of money for that, but it's probably going

  • to be the piano company.

  • But for many people, death is a much more drawn-out affair.

  • For those who die of serious illnesses or at an old age, the odds are there are going

  • to be a lot of medical expenses associated with dying.

  • Dying can involve long-term hospital stays, time in an assisted living facility or nursing

  • home, or specialized in-home hospice care.

  • These are all expensive services and medical costs can be high in the United States and

  • other countries without a universal health care system - as anyone who ever got a surprise

  • bill after they got their finger stitched up can attest.

  • While insurance will often pick up a large percentage of the medical bills if not all

  • of them, someone who is uninsured or underinsured when they die might leave behind a massive

  • bill to be taken out of their estate.

  • And that's before a whole lot of other costs.

  • In seventeen US states, the cost of dying averages over $20,000.

  • In the UK, where high health bills are unlikely, it can still cost several thousand pounds.

  • While heirs of the deceased can't be held responsible for medical bills if the estate

  • can't cover it, many other costs have to be paid for out of pocket by the family - which

  • means that families dealing with the loss of a breadwinner may often have another challenge

  • to deal with.

  • So what are all these hidden costs?

  • Well, the big one is something almost everyone who has said goodbye to a loved one will deal

  • with - the funeral.

  • The funeral industry has come a long way from when disposing of bodies was mostly a utilitarian

  • industry, and today it's a twenty billion dollar industry in the United States alone.

  • Many funeral home providers offer full service from the moment of death to the conclusion

  • of the burial ceremony, customizing services with mourners.

  • And personalized services don't come cheap.

  • Planning a funeral is a big feat, and often families are not up to managing it themselves

  • - especially after a sudden and unexpected death.

  • That means the funeral home and director will manage dozens of moving parts and help them

  • select every part of what can be a very large event.

  • For people with a lot of friends and family, a funeral can often resemble a wedding in

  • what is needed.

  • You'll need a large event facility, either indoors or outdoors, enough to hold everyone

  • who wants to come.

  • You'll want flowers and decorations, often personalized.

  • And in many cases, families want catering for a memorial dinner.

  • And that's before getting into one of the most important parts of a funeral.

  • Gone are the days of a coffin essentially being a pine box.

  • The coffin industry alone is worth over half a billion dollars in the United States today,

  • and shopping for one offers a lot of choice.

  • Coffins are often made from fine wood, and insulated with high-quality fabric.

  • While this may seem like a waste given that it's going in the ground, many families

  • want the coffin on display at the funeral - and see a fine coffin as a testament to

  • their love.

  • An average coffin will cost at least two thousand dollars, with high-end ones reaching five

  • digits.

  • And that's not the only preparation needed for a funeral.

  • Funeral homes have someone on site trained in treating bodies and preserving them for

  • funerals and burial.

  • This is especially important for many people who want an open casket funeral.

  • Have you ever been to a funeral where everyone is commenting that the deceased looks so natural,

  • and looks like they're just sleeping?

  • This isn't an accident - this is the work of a trained mortician who uses chemicals

  • and makeup to keep the body from starting to decay too quickly, and cover up any obvious

  • injuries when possible.

  • Not every funeral involves this - some people choose a more natural burial, usually with

  • a closed casket - but if you want the deceased to get the full makeover, it'll come with

  • a cost.

  • But that's not the biggest cost associated with funerals.

  • Two words - real estate.

  • The most important choice people will make when planning a funeral is where they want

  • the deceased to be buried.

  • This isn't just a physical choice - the burial plot will likely also become a gathering

  • spot for the family in years to come.

  • But many cemeteries are facing a major challenge - lack of space.

  • The population is growing, and the cost of getting a burial plot is getting higher and

  • higher.

  • Smaller plots can be as little as $500 at a public cemetery, but can go up to $5000

  • for sought-after locations.

  • For those who want a mausoleum burial, it can be as much as $10,000 at high-end places

  • And that's before you decide what to put on top of it.

  • It's long been tradition to have a marker memorializing a gravesite.

  • Sure, no one is going to go as over the top as the ancient Egyptian pharaohs - although

  • it may be tempting to build a pyramid for your beloved childhood dog Sparky - but gravestones

  • can be pretty ornate.

  • If you wander through a cemetery, the odds are you'll see a few towering obelisks or

  • carefully sculpted angel statues.

  • If you want a highly decorative gravestone, the cost can vary wildly, but standard headstones

  • with a personalized inscription will start at a cost of $1000 or more.

  • This can add up to a lot.

  • Is there a cheaper way?

  • For many families, if the deceased didn't leave a big estate behind, it's time to

  • make some tough decisions.

  • While holding a proper tribute for their loved one is ideal, there are ways to make things

  • more affordable.

  • Smaller funerals or graveside services are ideal to cut costs, and many families decide

  • to have an online component where family and friends who can't attend in person can pay

  • their respects virtually.

  • Flat metal or marble markers on the ground can be a lower-cost alternative to headstones,

  • while still paying proper tribute with an inscription.

  • But there's one choice that many people make to cut costs - sometimes.

  • Cremation.

  • The burning of remains instead of burying them has become a massive industry in its

  • own right, with many funeral homes also hosting a crematorium.

  • We all know a friend or family member who has grandma's ashes sitting on the mantelpiece,

  • and we probably give it a wide berth - and stare warily every time the cat gets a little

  • too close.

  • And for those who want the simplest and lowest-cost option, a basic cremation can be had for as

  • little as eight hundred dollars.

  • But that doesn't mean that many people don't find surprising costs.

  • Cremation is a specialized service, with crematorium workers dealing with extremely hot and powerful

  • ovens that can reduce a human body to bone ash in a short time.

  • The cost of the equipment and the training adds up - and so does the equipment it comes

  • with.

  • The standard urn that is at constant risk of spilling ashes everywhere is mostly a thing

  • of the past, with most urns sold by funeral homes coming with specialized seals to prevent

  • accidents.

  • And there are many specialized and artisan urns available that can cost more than $500.

  • But some families want a more permanent option.

  • Some families choose the best of both worlds.

  • Cremation - and a burial plot that gives them a place to visit and pay their respects.

  • These plots are smaller and can be marked with a marker or headstone, but can still

  • be expensive - at least $350 at a public cemetery, and as much as $2,500 for a prime spot at

  • a private cemetery.

  • Because urns or cremation vessels can be held anywhere, it's also common to choose an

  • above-ground spot in a mausoleum, which is usually more expensive.

  • Well, at least the deceased doesn't have to worry about any of this...right?

  • Not exactly.

  • Because the funeral industry has become so big and expensive, many people are starting

  • to think about these questions long before they're gone.

  • It's like planning in advance for a vacation no one wants to take.

  • No one wants to put their loved ones into debt to pay for their funeral, so they're

  • starting to take some common-sense measures to make sure that expensive funeral costs

  • don't throw the family for a loop.

  • But those usually involve some costs of their own - paying for their own death in advance.

  • The first step is to get life insurance.

  • This will ensure your loved ones a payout if you die under most circumstances.

  • This is especially important for breadwinners in single-income families - even if they don't

  • expect to die anytime soon.

  • Of course, the problem is that insurance companies don't want to pay out - so life insurance

  • becomes more and more expensive as people get older.

  • A ten-year policy on a ninety-year-old probably isn't a good investment for the company.

  • Whole-life insurance is available - but can be very expensive.

  • But if you don't want the family to have to pay any death-related costs, that can be

  • achieved too.

  • Most of the time, the people walking into a funeral home are the family of the deceased.

  • But sometimes, it's a healthy and happy person looking to arrange a funeral - their

  • own.

  • Most funeral homes will arrange end-of-life plans for people years or even decades before

  • it takes place - down to the slightest detail.

  • Want to Rick Roll the guests?

  • They'll put that in the funeral plan and file it away - although it may not seem as

  • funny when you're 85.

  • And you can pay in advance too - over installments for many years.

  • If you go before it's fully paid off, your loved ones will only have a fraction of the

  • costs, but in many cases there'll be nothing left to pay.

  • Of course, some people make more unconventional arrangements to dodge the costs.

  • With cremation, many families choose not to keep the ashes forever.

  • They take them home in a simple container without a formal ceremony or burial, and a

  • while later, once the entire family and extended circle can get together, they meet at a meaningful

  • location to scatter the ashes.

  • While this may seem disturbing to some - after all, it's human remains being sprinkled

  • in a public place - bone ash is biodegradable and considered harmless to the environment,

  • so it's legal in all public places unless there are security issues.

  • Private locations are dependent on the permission of the owner, but that doesn't always stop

  • people.

  • A particularly popular spot is Disney's Haunted Mansion, as Disney-loving fans try

  • to add a 1000th to the famous assortment of 999 grim grinning ghosts.

  • But that's not the only low-cost option for burial or cremation.

  • Some enterprising companies have started offering unconventional ways to use cremation ashes,

  • as they pose no health hazard and mix into things easily.

  • Did Grandma always love to paint?

  • Her ashes can be mixed in with paint and used to create a work of art.

  • Did Uncle Billy like to live it up?

  • A company specializing in fireworks can create a custom batch including a pinch of his ashes

  • to send him off in style.

  • There are even biodegradable urns that are meant to be buried, and contain a tree seed

  • along with the ashes to create a tree out of a loved one's remains - a living headstone

  • far bigger than any obelisk.

  • Many of these options aren't cheap, but they're usually a fraction of a traditional

  • funeral and burial with all the frills.

  • And it's likely to just continue going up.

  • People are living longer, and that means they're more likely to need health care before they

  • die.

  • Cemeteries aren't easy to maintain, and the demand for burial plots is growing as

  • the population does.

  • And with many funeral homes offering digital services like online memorial walls, it's

  • becoming a more skilled and versatile position all the time.

  • That adds up to one thing - a growing and complicated sector that will fetch a high

  • cost for its services.

  • There are only two things certain in life - death and taxes - but until scientists manage

  • to cure the first, the high cost of death may be the third certainty.

  • For another unconventional way to dispose of remains, check outComposting Humans

  • Is Now Legal in These US States”, or try this video on for size instead.

When someone dies, they don't have to worry about money anymore, but there is a surprising

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This is How Expensive Dying Actually Is

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/30
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