Since this is a frequent question, I wish there was a simple adequate answer. However, the short answer is rarely sufficient: Depending on the services provided, the merchandise selected, and the charges from third parties, the total cost will typically range from $1,100 - $15,000.
If you are really interested in understanding the various charges and options, read on. (If you're looking for quick list broad price ranges, click here for our service packages). The more adequate answer requires a longer conversation.
"How much is a funeral?" is similar to asking "How much is a wedding?" or "How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?", or "How much is a hotel room?" All of these "how much" questions require more information to give a reasonable estimate. In the case of a hotel room: What city? What dates? What hotel brand? (or what experience are you looking for?) Your specific answers to these questions will help to narrow the actual cost you will pay.
The questions for funerals include: What specific services will the funeral home provide? What merchandise will you need or want to support those services? What charges will be paid to others, such as a cemetery, obituary, honorarium? These choices will all affect the final price. While the question of cost often starts with a telephone call or via email, most people will significantly benefit by a face to face conversation either at the funeral home or your house. (This meeting is FREE and NO PRESSURE to take the next step) In these settings, we can provide prices, but can also explain options so that you can make informed decisions. Once you have narrowed your service and merchandise choices, we can provide a much better estimate of charges.
To estimate the total cost of a burial or cremation service, it will be helpful to understand the three general categories of charges:
are those services provided by the funeral home. These may include charges for staff, transportation, use of facilities and equipment, embalming, organizing the funeral, visitation or other memorial events to name a few. All of these charges should be detailed in a funeral home's General Price List, or GPL. The GPL will contain a charge for Basic Services of Funeral Director and Staff, which is the only non-declinable charge offered by the funeral home. The rest of the GPL contains services and corresponding charges which can be added a la carte.
may include a casket, outer burial container, urn, flowers, printed and multimedia materials, and keepsakes. Many other types of merchandise are available and Michigan Sales Tax will be added to all items in this category.
Caskets and alternative containers are available in a broad range of materials including various wood species, steel, bronze and copper. While prices vary greatly, all perform the same basic task of providing a container suitable for viewing and transportation to the cemetery or crematory.
Outer burial containers are not required by state law for burials, but most cemeteries require them. The casket is placed inside the container which also has a lid. These can offer protection (sometimes called vaults), or can simply be made of concrete.
Urns are used to hold cremated remains. Urns can be made of wood, metal, plastic, ceramic, paper, stone or a variety of other materials. We may suggest specific urns depending on the final disposition of the cremated remains.
Print and multimedia materials are often available at services and contribute to the overall experience of family and guests. While these items are not mandatory, they may serve an immediate purpose and often provide a lasting keepsake.
Cash Advanced Items
are items charged by a third party. Because these are not funeral home charges, these expenses should be the same if comparing funeral home estimates. Beware of any funeral home that gives low cash advance estimates just to make their bottom line price look less - we have seen this a number of times. The funeral home often advances payment to others on your behalf, and then includes them on your final bill. The funeral home may not charge additional for these items without expressly telling you. Common examples include cemetery costs, obituary fees, honorariums, crematory fees, permits and death certificates.
After talking with a funeral professional about services, you should receive written estimate of goods and services that will detail and total the costs.
We understand that engaging in this longer conversation can be a difficult step or that there may not be time to schedule an appointment because a funeral home selection must be made quickly. But we want you to feel safe to discuss options without fear of obligation or the fear of getting stuck in an agreement. For these reasons, Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes do not charge for these meetings and there will never be any pressure to "Prepay today" or place a down payment. We will take time to explain payment options and our value guarantee.
We believe in honest and upfront pricing. We will gladly send you a copy of our General Price List and our most common service packages. However, both of these sources are only part of the total cost.
We are committed to providing value. Surveys of families we have served overwhelmingly show they will choose us again and that the price was a reflection of the value they received.
Do you have questions for us. Please contact us for assistance!