I am slowly trying to prepare to have things lined up for my grandma's funeral

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Posted 1/16/2013 by enjoytotheend in NSBR Board

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 359,333
January 2008
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:31:46 AM
The one issue I am having is she has no life insurance so I don't know how I can afford a casket. Luckily the cemetery is already paid for. She paid for that when my mom died in 1999 so they could be buried next to each other so even her headstone is paid for. Just not the casket and other costs.

Her sons won't help at all. They won't even come visit her even though they know she is dying. She gets social security but obviously that stops when she dies. Does anyone know if they give anything for burial costs? I feel too young to have this falling on my shoulders again. With my mom's it was hard but we had money to pay for everything.

I heard Costco and Wal Mart has started making caskets. Does anyone know if that is true? I am hoping her church may be able to help too. I have been living off of student loans so I don't have anything left. My uncle on my dad's side may help too but it is things like this that keep bringing my anxiety to an even higher level.

Do they do payment plans? I heard you can rent one and then have them cremated but it doesn't make sense to do that when her burial plot is all paid for. She does get a little over $100 left over in her social security each month. So I could stash that away too and I have already started that this month.

Please help me brainstorm ideas. And this is in NO WAY a plea for asking for money from the peas. I just need help brainstorming here. I have already pawned just about all we had because things were really bad for awhile. She doesn't have anything of real value. I have put on fundraisers because but I feel kind of weird doing that. I know I could contact other family members and see if they could help.

I am stressed because my mom's casket was 2k in 1999. It was a beautiful pink casket. I just want everything perfect for her but I know in the end it is just a box and our soul isn't in there. I really wish my mom's side of the family wasn't so messed up. Her siblings are all dead as she was the youngest of 8. She still could live another few years. Who knows. But it does freak me out that the doctors are saying 1 to 3 months. I guess I could also talk to the hospice nurse and see if she has any ideas.

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PeaNut 164,125
August 2004
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:34:50 AM
Have you thought about cremation?? Her ashes could still be buried next to your mom. Talk with the hospice people as they might help. Are you sure there's no life insurance???

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PeaNut 341,236
October 2007
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:37:57 AM
I'm sorry I don't have any ideas. Many times people will give cash instead of flowers. Does she have many friends? I wish I had something for you, if I can think of anything I will peamail you {{{HUGS}}}

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PeaNut 104,674
September 2003
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:55:12 AM
My son died in Sept. I am sorry for your coming loss. I know your either a cremation person or you are not. I had a funeral for my son and he was also cremated afterwards. They laid him out in a beautiful casket but we didnt have to pay as much for it. Some people think if your creamated you dont get to have a regular funeral but that is not true. You can still have her buried in her plot as well.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 94,569
July 2003
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Posted: 1/16/2013 5:56:29 AM
Start to price caskets. That will give you an idea of what you need if you choose to get one. Do you know which funeral home you'd use? Go and meet with them to see what their costs are.

If you're having a service at a church check there too for costs.

I'm sorry you have to do these things. It is a lot of stress even when everything is planned out.


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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 359,333
January 2008
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Posted: 1/16/2013 6:17:58 AM
Christine I am positive. She did have life insurance but it was whole life insurance and she cashed it out. Unless we are both overlooking something it is just not there.

Smiles you are so kind. Thank you for your support during this time in my life.

About to pea, I am SO SO sorry for the loss of your son. No mother should ever have to bury her child. I saw my grandma go through that when my mom died and it is heart breaking. I hope you find peace and healing and strength and that you are surrounded by angels!

Cee Scraps, that is a great idea to check with her church. We are different religions and go to different churches but I have been in close contact with one of her friends.

I am definitely stressed and right now I am a full time student too. It is so hard to concentrate. And my PTSD is the worst it has ever been because my grandma's death is reminding me of my mom's. Only with my mom's we didn't get a chance to plan. It just happened randomly. Even though I did have a feeling preparing me that it would happen soon.

I know she has gone to the same church since we moved to Arizona in 1981. I was really little. She would go to her little group called XYZ which stood for extra years of zest and she sure had that. I went to school at that church too. I remember sitting on the steps waiting for my grandma to come visit me at lunch time and to bring me a treat. She has always been such a support and strength to me.

I know I just need to have faith that it will ALL come together in it's own time and own way. Everyone who meets her loves her. I make cards too so maybe I can sell those and shakey baby socks there too. The socks are the ones where the beads are crocheted on them and they are always a big hit. I already have all of that stuff on hand.

I wish her sons were learn to forgive. They think they had such a bad childhood and they blame it on my grandma. My grandfather left my grandmother for my grandmother's best friend. Of course at that time those things were just not talked about. But I can't imagine carrying unforgiveness for that long. I really can't. I went through a horrific childhood and I still can forgive. And my uncles are lucky their sons want anything to do with them.


PeaNut 314,427
May 2007
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Posted: 1/16/2013 7:53:48 AM
The Social Security death benefit is $255.

My dad died on the 27th of the month. Social Security required repayment of that month's benefit. All of it. I guess they think that since he only lived 27 days instead of 30 then he must not have had expenses that month.

Will you have a funeral for your grandmother? We had a graveside service for one family member. He was cremated and his urn was buried in a cemetary plot.


PeaNut 246,234
January 2006
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Loc: Indiana

Posted: 1/16/2013 7:59:23 AM
You should probably meet with a funeral director and the cemetery so you have an idea of expenses as well as payment plan options.
The cemetery plot is paid for, but there is also the cost of opening and closing the grave, as well as the vault, and recording fees. you'll need to know what has already been paid for.
Sorry about your Grandma.

sunny 5

PeaNut 472,024
June 2010
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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:15:39 AM
have her cremated...and have a memorial service and not a funeral (no body at service).

you could hold onto remains til the financial picture is stronger and then bury her. look at all options.


PeaNut 295,424
February 2007
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Posted: 1/16/2013 9:50:28 AM
I know when my dad was dying, he had done some research and had an organization lined up that came and took his body to a funeral home, they used parts of his remains for research, cremated the rest and returned his ashes to my mother. Free. That was what he wanted done and made it happen. So mom said she wanted the same thing done. So we did. And she didn't die in her or my home state (she was moving here and had a heart attack and ended up passing away in Las Vegas). We still managed to find a place in Vegas that was VERY respectful and appropriate with my mom's remains. Free. Which was of a huge relief since I had spent six weeks in Kingman and Las Vegas sitting with her in a hospital and using up quite a bit of our financial reserves.

Anyway. Those organizations appear to be pretty commonplace. You just have to be ok not only with cremation, but with remains donation.


PeaNut 146,911
May 2004
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:24:22 AM
First, contact the cemetery and make an appointment to find out your options. There will most likely be opening costs to open the grave site. At least one of the cemeteries here require you to pay for a concrete structure for the casket to go in. Is there a funeral home on site? Sometimes, independent dealers have better prices on caskets, urns etc. Do you have the authority to make these arrangements and sign all the papers? In Canada, I think our tax death benefit is around 2500 dollars. If she was a member of a church you could arrange to have a service there. Make an appointment and have a chat with them.Do you have a social services group in your area? Call and ask if any assistance is available from the government.

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PeaNut 104,551
September 2003
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:30:35 AM
I'd go with cremation and then either bury her remains at the plot or sell the plot later to pay for the cremation process.

If you very much want to bury her, you can get good deals on caskets online. I looked at some when we knew my dad was going to die for as little as $500 (there's shipping though).

We ended up getting one from the funeral home that was just a matte black very basic. I thought it was beautiful and fit him perfectly (he was into motorcyles and cars.)

I'd talk to her church if she was a member and also talk to the funeral home. Funerals are expensive. My dad's was pretty low budget and cost $8000 not including the headstone ($5k).


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PeaNut 41,781
July 2002
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:30:36 AM
for those of you suggesting Cremation, in some states you cannot do that without ALL of her natural children signing off on it- UNLESS you have her medical power of attorney. We cremated my mom a few years ago and the only way I could sign was with a copy of that designating me medical POA. I have 2 borthers and 2 sisters so it would have taken time to get them all to sign since they do not live near by. So hang on to that medical POA if you have it until after everything is done.


PeaNut 259,367
April 2006
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Posted: 1/16/2013 11:43:52 AM
You need to go to the funeral home. They know what they are doing and deal with this all the time and will help you look at your options and lay out the costs. It varies widely by state laws and gravesite preparation.

You sound far too young to deal with these things. I hope her more immediate next of kin steps up and accepts what should be their responsibility. I am sorry you are dealing with all of this.

Restless Spirit
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 218,419
August 2005
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Posted: 1/16/2013 12:44:43 PM
There is a $255 Social Security Death Benefit for the surviving spouse. There is no SS benefit when that spouse dies.

First off - know your "Funeral Rights" for your state. Here is a link that will help you find the information for the state your grandmother lives in:

Consumer Funeral Rights

Depending on your state, you *may not* have to pay for/and/or use: caskets, liners, embalming.

Is the cemetery where she will be laid to rest some how affiliated with a funeral home? Start with them first. If there is no funeral home affiliation, then get a recommendation from the cemetery or from someone who has recently used a funeral home. Be honest and upfront about the financial situation. You will not be the first (nor the last) person to have been left with little resources for a funeral.

In my area/state there are funeral homes that have a wonderful reputation for working with people with limited resources. If the first funeral home you contact are not able to help, ask them for a recommendation.

Because of finances, you must be willing to compromise and be flexible with her funeral arrangements. Some churches allow funeral services to be held for church members for free with only the church officiant receiving any type of payment. Some churches will allow viewing prior to the service, so this will scale back the use of the funeral home and the costs associated with holding viewing and funeral services at the funeral home.

An inexpensive service can be done buy scaling back on some unnecessary things, yet remain a dignified ceremony that honors your grandmother.



PeaNut 118,730
December 2003
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Posted: 1/16/2013 12:59:25 PM
My grandfather was creamated, there was no viewing of the body. He was creamated and so no need for a casket. His ashes were in a really nice wooden box. There was a visitation in that everyone could come and and there were lots of pictures everywhere.

Then there was a grave side service with honor guard (i think that is the right name) from the VFW with a gun salute.

At the grave side service, the urn was there with the flag for service to his country.

I think unless you or your grandmother would be completely opposed to creamation you could do that and completely skip the casket all together.

Resident Smart Ass

PeaNut 294,429
January 2007
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Posted: 1/16/2013 1:07:04 PM
My uncle has owned a funeral home my entire life -- and this is exactly the kind of thing he walks families through every day. Yes, they have payment plans and they can steer you toward the low end of everything and still maintain a dignified ceremony.

When MIL and FIL died, we sat down with the funeral home director and went over all of this. In MIL's case, we simply told them how much money was available and he pulled together a service plan on the spot that covered the important stuff within that budget.



PeaNut 328,901
July 2007
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Posted: 1/16/2013 2:03:39 PM
You don't have to order a casket (if you choose that route) through the funeral home. Google "burial caskets" and you'd be amazed at the number of hits you come up with.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of this. {{HUGS}} to you.

Lisa =^..^=

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PeaNut 409,146
January 2009
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Loc: Phoenix

Posted: 1/16/2013 6:37:43 PM
I'm so sorry you're dealing with all of this on your own. I know that Costco does sell caskets, we ordered from them when my Grandmother passed away last year. I found this one at Costco they also have more in the $1000 + range.

I agree with the others, check with the funeral home and discuss with them your concerns and see if they can offer you any advice. I found that people were really helpful during the difficult time after my Grandmothers death and I was always more than grateful.

Many hugs to you right now.
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