Author: Harper Dion
Posted Date: March 28, 2023
Regardless of the situation, experiencing the death of a loved one is an incredibly trying experience. Even if the ordeal was expected, the entire process is mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially taxing to all parties involved. Processing death and dealing with the aftermath is a tragedy everyone struggles with at one point. Throughout this process there are countless unforeseen costs both emotionally and financially that makes the ordeal even more trying. Understanding and preparing for possible costs eases this process, lifting some of the burden during this tragic time.
The event of a death has heavy financial impacts on those involved. In the events leading up to a loved one’s passing, they will most likely receive end-of-life care through a Hospice or Home Health agency. The price of this care varies by geographic location, ranging anywhere from $5,000 in Mississippi all the way up to $25,000 in Hawaii. The cost of end-of-life medical care ranges drastically, considering geographic location and services required. The national average is roughly $12,000.1 After the passing, funeral planning and legal work begins. A funeral service with burial costs $8,000 on average.1 Deciding between cremation or traditional burial is a matter of personal choice. From a price standpoint, cremation services are cheaper than burial, costing close to $7,000 on average.
On the legal side of things, families must handle assets, financial matters, and possessions of an estate. On average, in the United States, financial matters such as accountant fees and paying off bills costs upwards of $4,384. Furthermore, adding on legal fees to deal with drafting a will, splitting any existing assets, and diffusing estate costs families on average $4,967.2 Dying and the processes a family must complete after the event can be quite expensive from a monetary standpoint. Considering the cost of end-of-life care, service and burial, the national average comes out to $19,556.3 Even so, once assets are split and legal fees are paid, this number can be closer to $30,000.1
Time and stress
Financial matters aside, the immense emotional burden from a time of grievance can have unforeseen side effects on any party. Following a loss, it takes families an average of 12.5 months to resolve everything if budgeting 12 hours per week on the tasks.2 This figure is not including the 47% of estates that include a house, settling these types of cases can take even longer at 15 months.
From a work standpoint, a typical employer in the United States gives around 5 days off based on expected funeral planning timeframe, yet 70% of employees took additional time aside for funeral planning.2 There is no proper way to deal with a death, everyone processes things differently and the amount of time it takes to grieve cannot be quantized. However, the fact stands that a vast majority of people request additional time off; this suggests bereavement leave in the United States is very inefficient. Times of loss is often accompanied with increased anxiety and stress which contribute to decreased productivity. Even after time off, performance in one’s professional life can suffer immense fallbacks. A study from Empathy showed 76% of respondents reported harm to their performance, with an additional 12% noted a decreased reputation at the workplace.2
The process following a loved one’s passing is never a simple time. The grieving period comes with increased anxiety and stress which can affect one’s personal life and performance. Furthermore, legal fees, funeral plans, and estate management demand many hours weekly on top of the already existing stress. Coupling this time and stress with planning and bills for care services, the average passing costs families upwards of $20,000. Grief over a passing is a life-changing event that everyone will experience at one point. The increased stress, planning, and financial burden are something we must prepare for while honoring the period with consideration and care.
1. “Cost of Dying Report: Funeral, Cremation & Medical.” Self. Self Financial, April 19, 2021. https://www.self.inc/info/cost-of-dying-in-america-report/.
2. “Cost of Dying Report 2023.” The Cost of Dying. Empathy. Accessed February 10, 2023. https://www.empathy.com/costofdying.
3. Reed, Tina. “The Average ‘Cost of Dying’ in the U.S. Shot up 14.3% in 2020.” Axios. Axios Vitals, May 12, 2021. https://www.axios.com/2021/05/12/dying-america-funerals-cost.