End of Life Costs – How to Be Frugal to the Very End

end of life costs

Nobody likes to think about it. But, it’s true – even a life lived in perfect health has a 100% case fatality rate. Sooner or later, we all need to come to grips with our mortality.

Planning for end-of-life expenses is part of the process. Funerals are just like weddings – their costs can quickly get out of hand. Don’t leave the details to grieving loved ones.  By laying out the details beforehand, you can save thousands of dollars.

Most People Pay Too Much For End-Of-Life Services

Dying is expensive. It seems ridiculous to say that, though – after all, you’re no longer alive. What meaning does money have in the afterlife? However, this isn’t about you – it’s about the loved ones you leave behind.

If you haven’t adequately prepared, end-of-life costs can be jaw-dropping. On average, families can spend more than $11,000 handling death-related expenses. Below, we’ll break these costs down.

Palliative Care

After weeks of worrying, your test results come back. “It’s not good”, says your doctor, in an ominous tone. After sitting you down, their words hit you like a ton of bricks – you have a terminal disease.

You have three months to live. With no cure or way to manage your condition, the conversation shifts to palliative care. Palliative care is a treatment regimen designed to improve a dying person’s quality of life.

This course of action focuses on addressing symptoms. By mitigating issues like pain, depression, and insomnia, a patient’s last days can be made happier. Health care professionals can achieve these goals not just through medication and counselling, but also through a change in scenery.

By moving from a hospital ward to a hospice, patients with needs can die with greater dignity. Ideally, they can also spend their last days at home, but even this can incur home care costs. Additionally, loved ones may take leave from work, resulting in lost wages.

In all, Canadian families bear about 20% of palliative care costs, with the state covering the rest. According to this research paper, this adds up to an average cost of about $6,000.     

Funerals/Memorial Services

After months of declining health, you finally pass on. Your soul is now free from the worries of this world. Your loved ones? Not so much. They aren’t just grieving your loss – they have to arrange everything related to your death.

It’s not just about the funeral service. The tasks (and their related expenses) begin piling up before your body even goes cold. For starters, your loved ones will have to pay to have your corpse moved to the funeral home. Then, they’ll have to apply for a death certificate and publish your obituary.

As your loved ones continue to mourn, they’ll somehow have to pick your casket or urn. As their minds are clouded by emotion, they are vulnerable to greedy funeral home directors, who may steer them toward pricier options.

Finally, we get to the service. Your loved ones will need to rent a venue for the funeral, as well as a reception hall. After paying for all these “musts”, the stacks of bills can get overwhelming. All told, Canadian families can easily spend more than $10,000 within a week of a loved one’s passing. 

Legal Affairs

Just because you’re dead and buried doesn’t mean expenses related to your death will stop. After the funeral, your family will then have to settle your estate. Even if you’ve created a Last Will & Testament, they will still have to go to probate court.

Now, the value of an estate usually covers costs like probate and lawyer fees. However, if you haven’t created a will, family members may fight over your assets. To do so, they’ll end up spending thousands of dollars in legal fees out-of-pocket.

Not all will be successful, leaving the losers in the red. Worse yet, this process will create avoidable resentment among your survivors.

To draft a Last Will & Testament, expect to spend at least $150. If you have a complicated estate, a satisfactory solution can cost more than $1,000.

Planning Ahead Can Save Your Family Additional Grief

When your family is awash in grief, making rational decisions can be next-to-impossible for them. For this reason, it’s crucial to plan in advance for your demise. But, we’ll admit it – plotting out your funeral while healthy can feel like whistling past the graveyard. It’s really strange.

Like you, we can’t imagine picking out our casket right now. However, you can start socking money away. Start by adding up the costs mentioned in this article. Then, create a savings account and set up a monthly auto-debit. Once you’re past 40 or 50, this is a move we should all consider.

But, what if you aren’t in a position to set up another savings account? In this situation, we recommend buying life insurance that explicitly covers funeral costs. We recommend a policy separate from any existing life insurance you may already have.

Here’s why. If you rely on conventional life insurance payouts, your family might not receive these benefits before funeral expenses are due. And, if your insurer denies their claim, they’ll be on the hook for everything.

A funeral expense policy, while pricey, avoids these issues.         

Online Solutions are Reducing the Burden of Death Expenses

Twenty years into the 21st century, it should not be surprising that technology has disrupted death itself. Lately, startups have created solutions that are reducing the burden of end-of-life costs.

Eirene Cremations services is one of those firms. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, your loved ones can easily use them. This company hasn’t just simplified the cremation process – they take care of a host of other tasks, too. They cover transportation costs, liaise with funeral directors, register your loved one’s death, and supply the urn.

For this service bundle, they charge $2,500. That seems costly, but when you add everything up, it comes out to half the industry average. Besides, when you consider intangibles like saved time (less spent on logistics so you can grief properly), this service is well worth the cost.

When Death Strikes, Money Shouldn’t Be an Issue

When a loved one passes away, you should be celebrating their life. Instead, many stress over bills. Don’t let this happen to you – plan your end-of-life expenses in advance. Do this, and you’ll lighten the burden on your family in their time of sorrow.

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