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No one likes thinking about the end of their life, but it’s something that’s necessary to not only think about but also prepare for so your loved ones aren’t blindsided.

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The end-of-life costs might be more than you think, especially with the inflation rates we’re experiencing today. But there are ways to take care of the costs so they don’t burden your loved ones.

What’s Included in End-of-Life Costs?

When you think of the end of your life, you probably think you have died and your loved ones grieve. Many people overlook the sheer financial impact of someone’s death.

The end-of-life costs you incur might include the following:

  • Final medical services
  • Casket
  • Embalming
  • Transfer of the body to the funeral home
  • Transfer of the body in the hearse for the funeral processions
  • The wake for viewing
  • Church service
  • Funeral service
  • Cosmetic preparation of the body
  • Staff and administrative services for the funeral
  • Cemetery plot or cremation services
  • Headstone
  • Flowers
  • Obituary

The Average End of Life Costs

Actual end-of-life costs vary based on where you live and what services you choose, but overall, here are the national averages.

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Funeral costs have increased 6.6% over the last 5 years. Today the average funeral costs $7,848, and the average funeral with cremation has increased 11.3% over the previous 5 years and costs an average of $6,970.

These costs, however, don’t include the cost of burial. The burial itself costs an average of $9,653, bringing the total cost of a traditional funeral and burial to $15,000. If you want something more than a traditional headstone, the costs could increase as much as $5,000.

These figures don’t consider any medical services you need at the end of your life. Whether you’re in hospice, or the hospital, or you die unexpectedly, some type of medical expenses is typically incurred that become the estate’s responsibility.

How Your Loved Ones can Cover your End-of-Life Costs

Looking at these numbers, you probably wonder what your loved ones would do. It shouldn’t be anyone’s responsibility to cover the cost of your end-of-life expenses, but someone has to cover them.

daughter by side of sick father

If you don’t have the money set aside, or you need the money for retirement, you might consider a life insurance policy.

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If you’re still young and thinking about what would happen when you die, you can take out a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. You’ll likely need a medical exam and pass underwriting to get the best rate and terms.

If you’re older, though, and closer to dying than not, you may not have as many options. Even if you could pass the medical exam and underwriting, the premiums are much higher on standard policies for seniors because your chance of dying sooner rather than later is much higher.

You might consider final expense insurance.

What is Final Expense Insurance?

As the name suggests, final expense insurance provides your loved ones with the funds needed to cover your end-of-life costs.

The policy offers coverage from $10,000 – $25,000, so it’s not a policy to leave money behind for a spouse or children, but it alleviates the financial burden on your loved ones for your final expenses.

You have two options for final expense insurance:

Guaranteed issue life insurance – If you have a chronic illness or any other issues that would stop you from getting approved for life insurance, a guaranteed issue can give you the coverage you need. Anyone qualifies as long as they can afford the premiums because you don’t have to go through a medical exam.

Guaranteed issue policies do have a 2-year waiting period, though. If you die within the waiting period, only your premiums go to your beneficiaries. Some insurance companies also pay a small premium but not a full death benefit payout.

Simplified issue life insurance – If you don’t have any major illnesses (cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, etc.), you might qualify for a less expensive policy with simplified issue insurance. You still don’t have to go through a medical exam, but you must answer some basic medical questions that would eliminate anyone with chronic or life-threatening health issues.

Simplified issue premiums are less than guaranteed issues because there is less risk involved. They also don’t always have a waiting period (some do) if you’re concerned about being without insurance for 2 years.

Final Thoughts

Everyone should consider end-of-life costs, whether you’re young or old. If you’re already in your senior years and don’t have enough money saved and your life insurance has expired (or you don’t have any), consider final expense insurance.

It takes the burden off your loved ones when you die, allowing them to handle your final expenses without too much stress, so they can focus on grieving and not worrying about financial issues.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.