The True Cost of Dying

The unexpected expenses associated with dying and how to mitigate them

While most people understand that a funeral can add up to a significant expense, they may fail to take into consideration other expenses associated with dying. Some of these expenses include:


While many newspapers used to print obituaries as a public service, most printed publications can no longer afford the space to do this without being paid for it. Now, individuals may pay up to $500 to have a paragraph about their life shared in a favorite publication.

Transportation expenses

Transportation expenses related to a funeral and burial can be significant. Additionally, if a person has died in one location and wishes to be buried in one far away, forwarding costs  will need to be paid. This may be the case when someone wants to be buried by a deceased spouse or in a family plot. Additionally, transportation expenses to get close family members to the funeral or burial may need to be paid, such as airline tickets for loved ones.


While most families can avoid expensive estate taxes because of the high exemption rate at the time of publication, the estate will need to have its own tax return prepared. Any taxes that are due must be paid.

Final medical expenses

Surviving family members may be on the hook to pay for final medical expenses. Additionally, a new law may allow medical providers who treated someone who had Obamacare medical insurance to receive funds from the estate for reimbursement for medical bills.

Notification expenses

Surviving family members must often provide proof of death to creditors and other entities. The cost to request death certificates, mail out notices and publish notices can add up to a sizable sum.

Probate expenses

As even the value of life insurance is included to compute the value of the estate of the descendent, most individuals must go through the probate process in order to notify people of the death, pay final bills and distribute any remaining assets to heirs or beneficiaries. Probate can be a complicated and expensive process, usually requiring a legal representative to be retained.

How to protect survivors

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that surviving family members can protect themselves from these unexpected expenses, including:

Be proactive

While no one likes thinking about death, it is much easier for a person to plan and make arrangements for his or her own passing rather than waiting to delegate this job to adult children or other relatives. Many expenses associated with funerals can be prepaid. Additionally, individuals can consult with estate planning lawyers to set up trusts or learn about other ways to transfer their assets outside the probate process.

Hire the right professionals

Dealing with a death in the family can be a difficult time for anyone. This can be especially difficult when people have their own families and careers to take care of. Hiring people who are experienced and who have been through this process before can be a tremendous help. A probate attorney can assist with the process of probate. An accountant can help file the estate tax return to avoid making costly mistakes. A grief counselor may also be consulted to help provide solace during this difficult time.

Acquire insurance

Life insurance proceeds can help supplement the income of a family to replace the support of the descendent, but these funds are not typically available immediately after death. Funeral insurance and final expense insurance help provide surviving family members with funds when they are most needed.

Trust our St. Louis insurance professionals to help you and your family with all your insurance needs

Our goal at Senior Health Solutions, LLC is to assist you and your family with proactive planning for every life stage. We offer insurance solutions based on your needs and budget. Contact us at (636) 244-4415 or online to schedule a no-cost consultation and to request a free planning guide.


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