Originally Posted by kathymuggle
Hmmm….legally, I am not sure whose responsibility it is to foot the bill.
It is not the person who will be deceased, nor is it the families (as far as I know, neither legally have to have insurance for burial)….so I guess it is the states responsibility?
Morally, is a different story…...
There is a difference between after-death costs and funeral costs. Burial/cremation costs are separate, as are the costs of an obituary in the paper and the extra death certificates that will be needed to settle an estate. A funeral is the ceremony honoring the dead prior to burial. A memorial is generally held after the burial, so no body is present.
Nobody is LEGALLY obligated to pay for a funeral. And, it is certainly not the obligation of the state!! Many religions require/desire a funeral as a part of their culture.
What do morals have to do with it?. A dead person needs to be either buried, cremated or donated to science (I could never do this last thing, but many others do). That's not morality, that's simple clean-up.
The state (city/county) cover the costs for burial of indigent/unknowns, after a certain amount of time has passed and no next-of-kin are found. Cemeteries generally provide generic plots in what used to be called "pauper's field," a special place on their grounds for these cases. Often, these areas are not maintained to the same level as the rest of the landscape. Many times, more than one body is placed in a single plot, in these cases (generally 2 per plot). Generally, no marker is placed (budget-restrictive), but a record of plot location and an ID number is filed in their records (ie: Jane Doe, coroner's case #, date, etc).
For everyone else, there is no obligation to even have a funeral. We don't "do" funerals in my family. We find them creepy and so nobody has one. However, burial/cremation is necessary (a ceremony to accompany it is not) and those do cost something.
If a funeral is NOT desired by the deceased (and, they made their feelings on this subject known to all), I think it is only right to respect their wishes. Quite honestly, when they are dead, they are, so to speak, out of the argument when it comes to the desires of the survivors!
If a person desires a funeral, for themselves, then they should try to have a pre-need plan in place. I realize not everyone can afford to do this. So, reality check: if you want a funeral but can't afford it, why should you obligate others to pay for your wishes?? Burial/cremation costs should be considered and you should try to spare anyone that expense, at the very least.
So, if those survivors want a funeral, then they are the ones that should pay for it. And, they don't have to go overboard on the expenses!!! A marker can be as simple or elaborate as wishes and checkbook allow. Or, don't have any at all. No rule says a marker has to exist!
My wonderful Mom died in July. She had already chosen to be cremated. There was more than enough money to cover the costs associated with cremation. Cremation came to under $1,000 (which included the cost of a cardboard cremation box). We bought the 2 containers for her ashes on Amazon (around $150, total, for both). The hole was already prepared (opening and closing cost, $200) in the same plot where my Dad is buried the plot was purchased many, many years ago). We placed the urn in (well, dh had to, my arms weren't long enought to reach down that far), along with 4 roses (one from each dh, ds and myself, and then one in memory of Dad). They covered the urn with dirt and that was that. The other urn is in our living room, per ds's request. We're having a wonderfully unique joint Mom-Dad marker made and it will be placed in the late Winter or early Spring. The marker will cost around $2,000. We don't mind spending the money on a marker, as that lasts, a funeral is for a few minutes.
When my fil dies, there will be no funeral, only a mass said. Dh & I are worn-out on 10+ years of eldercare and couldn't stomach a funeral if we had to. So, dh will have a mass said for his Dad and taht is that as far as ceremonies. His Dad will be cremated and be in the same plot as cremated mil. Marker is already in place, his date of death just needs to be added.
I thnk the best thing to do is to talk to a funeral director waaaaaaaaaay before this subject is crucial. Do it when feelings are not an issue and a clear head can not be steered one way or another as far as costs/charges related to things. We had a friend that was "talked into" a very expensive cremation casket for her Dad (she was actually told that to do it any other way was like using a cigar box to hold her Dad's remains prior to cremation!). She paid a ridiculous amount only to have it burned up. Had she discussed this earlier, or brought along someone with a clearer head when she visited the funeral home after her Dad died, she would have saved money that she really needed. To pay for his funeral, she had to quit school for awhile, until her finances were topped-off again. That is NOT how it should be!