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Most Ohioans are financially prepared and informed to deal with the death of a loved one, according to results from the Ohio Credit Union League’s 2015 Consumer Survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents who had handled arrangements for a death in the family in the past three years said they felt adequately prepared or informed to manage the responsibility.

Today, the average cost for expenses associated with a funeral is estimated between $7,000 and $10,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. In a perfect world, families would have savings, life insurance, credit insurance, and properly documented beneficiaries or trusts. Unfortunately, often only part or none of these things are in place before a death. Even if there is some savings or insurance to cover funeral and burial costs, often there isn’t enough money to cover the additional medical bills or remaining loans and the surviving family members become responsible.

The last thing you want in an already stressful situation is more stress.

When the unimaginable happens, save the tips below for preparing for the death of a loved one:

  • Limit visitation.  Although you may prefer to have visitation the day or evening before the funeral, if you’re willing, consider having it right before the funeral. Typically there should be a lower charge from the funeral home.
  • Spend less on aesthetics. Choose a less expensive casket, a simple vault, or an urn made of man-made material.
  • Opt for cremation. Cremation is usually a little less costly. Because there is no fee for the burial of a casket, only a charge for the cremation process.
  • Skip embalming. Though it is still a common procedure, embalming is rarely necessary; refrigeration serves the same purpose. In Ohio, there are no laws or regulations requiring embalming.
  • Make plans ahead of time. The best way to save money on funeral costs is to plan ahead. Many funeral homes offer price guarantees to people who plan ahead of time and prepay. The accrued interest takes care of price increases and many funeral homes will guarantee they will not charge more than the principal and interest.
  • Look to a credit union. Many credit unions work with members in every way possible to make these difficult times as easy as possible. They can help file insurance claims, refinance loans, assist with transferring deeds or titles, make small unsecured loans, and even set up trusts or investment accounts for surviving children to ensure any insurance proceeds are protected and invested wisely.