How to Pay for a Funeral: Your Comprehensive Guide

If you are wondering how to pay for a funeral? The various methods would be personal check, cashiers check, money orders, deceased estate, life insurance, prepaid funeral plans, credit cards, crowd funding(GoFundMe), personal loans or victim compensation programs.

In this article we will go over each of these methods in detail to help you better understand how to pay for a funeral with and without money.

How to Pay for a Funeral Without Insurance Check, Cash, Money Order’s

If you have had a funeral for your loved one and are wondering what payment methods to use because you did not have insurance typically funeral homes will allow the following methods.

  • Personal Check
  • Cash
  • Cashiers Checks
  • Money Orders
  • Deceased Persons Estate

These would be the best payment options if your loved one has already died and you are wondering how to pay for a funeral without insurance.

Now there are other ways when it comes to paying for a funeral keep in mind that when it comes to pre-planning the funeral a life policy requires the insured to be alive.

You cannot buy life insurance on someone who has already passed.

5 Different Ways to Pay for a Funeral

  1. Prepaid Funeral Plans
  2. Life Insurance, Final Expense Plan, or Burial Insurance
  3. A Personal Account or CD or Pay on Death Account
  4. Credit Card or Personal Loan
  5. Crowd Funding Website (Gofundme)

Prepaid Funeral Plans

This is what is also known as Preneed Insurance, it is a prepaid funeral plan contract funded with an insurance policy, trust, or annuity. It essentially allows you to predesign your funeral and locks in the cost of the funeral services to protect against inflation.

You can either pay this funeral off in one lump sum or do monthly payments over time.

Now the monthly payments will pan between 10 – 30 years depending on how much you pay and the arrangement made with the funeral director.

Here’s the thing, what if you die tomorrow?

The reality is if you die before all of your payments have been made to cover the costs your family is left with a big funeral bill that has not been paid for.

If the funeral director did get you preneed insurance that is an actual life insurance policy because they can do that, then you are good to go but with only a prepaid burial this puts your family at risk.

Life Insurance, Final Expense Plan, or Burial Insurance

Burial Insurance or final expense life insurance is the best option to protect your family from the burden of burial and funeral expenses. The reasoning being is because for a small monthly payment you can get policies up to $35,000 in coverage.

You can also customize these policies to fit the exact expenses for your funeral they pay within 24 – 48 hours of deaths occurring with a certificate of death. This means they are designed to pay out very quickly to provide your family with the peace of mind they deserve.

In addition to this these policies can be used for anything from burial, cremation, paying off debts, or simply leaving money behind for your family. They also provide cash value which is an additional saving in your policy you can borrow against if you should ever need to.

There are also additional policy riders that provide extra benefits such as insurance for grandchildren.

A Personal Account or CD or Pay on Death Account

This type of account leaves your assets to your named beneficiary without having to go through probate. The issue with this is every year that goes by the purchasing power in the account goes down. These accounts also do not offer enough interest to offset inflation.


How to Pay for a Funeral with No Money

The methods below are how to pay for a funeral with no money for your family member’s burial or cremation.

Credit Card or Personal Loan

Of course, you can use credit cards to pay the funeral or take out loans but this is what subjects you or your family to financial hardship.

They may have been able to pay for your funeral but now they are in debt and have to find a way to pay it off which causes an emotional strain at the worst time in their lives (losing you).

This is exactly what burial insurance is designed to protect against and preserve your family’s peace of mind so they can just focus on grieving you.

Crowd Funding Website (Gofundme)

This is what a lot of families wind up with without proper preparation. Resorting to crowdfunding not only puts the funeral on hold but also puts an emotional strain on families trying with the embarrassment of asking for money.

No one wants to ask for charity and the humiliation that comes with that is carried around for years to come.

Donating The Body to Science

If you donate the body to science the organization you donate it to will pay for the cremation of the body and give you the remains for free. Now it will typically take a couple years(2-3) before you get the remains back from the institution the body was donated to.

There are no funeral expenses because the organization you donate the body to does not perform a burial. They use the body for science then cremate it and give it back to you.

Victim Compensation Government Program

If your loved one was a victim of a violent crime you can be compensated with ranges between $10,000 – $100,000. Use the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Board near you to pursue these benefits.

Who has to Pay for a Funeral?

Funeral expenses are paid out of the deceased person’s estate with an executor being responsible for making sure the burial costs are covered by assets or property.


That being said the surviving family members of the deceased person always want to make sure their final wishes are honored.

When Do Funeral Homes Expect Payment?

Most Funeral homes expect payment as soon as the funeral arrangements are made. This means once you work out the plans for the funeral with the funeral home they are going to expect payment. You must pay for services upfront you cannot pay for services after the funeral.

Will Social Security pay for a Funeral?

Social Security will provide a payment to be used for funeral expenses in the amount of $255 if certain requirements are meant.


So no it will not pay for the funeral because $255 is like throwing a needle at a brick wall. You can also check with your local social security office for more information.

Will the VA Pay for a Funeral?

The VA will pay a burial allowance to an eligible veteran’s family to offset burial and funeral costs.

  • Death that occurs in a VA facility it will pay $828 for the allowance and $828 for a plot.
  • Death that occurs in the line of duty the burial allowance is $2,000 and may reimburse for the cost of transporting remains.
  • Death that occurs outside of service receives an allowance of $300 and $828 for the plot.
  • If there is an indigent with no family, the VA will give either a casket or urn interment in a VA national cemetery, tribal or veterans.


Again this is like throwing a pin at a brick wall as far as making sure burial expenses are covered. There is no VA form to fill out that will help. This is all a veteran that served our country gets.

Best Burial and Life Insurance Companies to pay for a Funeral

  1. Mutual of Omaha
  2. American Amicable
  3. Prosperity Life
  4. Royal Neighbors of America
  5. Aetna
  6. Guarantee Trust Life
  7. AIG
  8. Great Western


Burial insurance is the best option to pay for a funeral compared to all other methods. The policies travel with you if you die outside of the state. They pay quickly and in a large sum that you specify they guarantee peace of mind.