What To Do When You Can't Afford a Funeral
Josh Slocum, FCA executive director  


"The most important thing to remember is that a meaningful, heartfelt memorial doesn't need to cost more than your family can afford. Whether you spend $600 or $10,000, you'll love and miss the deceased just as much. It's the coming together of family and friends to laugh, cry, and love each other that makes a funeral meaningful, not the amount of money it costs. 

And this is crucial: there is no charity or government organization that will pay off any debt you've accrued if you arrange a  funeral that's beyond your means. It's your family's responsibility to spend within its budget. Funeral homes are not required to let you pay in installments; many these days are asking for payment upfront. While this might seem frustrating, it's a responsible business practice and it prevents many grieving people from falling into a financial trap when they're not thinking clearly. Sweating the monthly bills six months after the death because the funeral payments are high does not, I assure you, help lift the burden of grief." 


There are some suggestions for creative ways to economize, and otherwise pay for funeral or memorial expenses on the FCA web site:

New links of interest :

2014 Price Survey of Funeral Home Costs In Colorado


A link to an article on donating pacemakers:

Tomorrows Choices – Offers educational programs and resources to individuals and groups so that all are empowered to make informed end of life choices. - Site allows you to search and compare Funeral Homes prices and

services by state and area of state.


Donor Alliance -  a non-profit organ and tissue procurement organization.   - to sign up to be a tissue/organ donor. 

State Anatomical Board of the State of Colorado - U. of CO @ Denver, receives donated bodies for the purpose of education and research

ScienceCare - body donation organization that only works with researchers and educators.  Also do free cremation/file papers and return cremains.  Body Donation:  CremationEducateaPatientResearchers&EducatorsResourcesAboutContact  - link to be able to order death certificates – needed in many post death transactions.  -  A non-profit providing education on holistic, and

Green approaches to the end of life.

Compassion and Choices - A non-profit that educates, empowers and advocates for expanding end of life options, including physician aid in dying.

Link (below) to a very useful article “What to Do when someone dies”  - pdf for printing.

Link (below) to editable, printable worksheets from FCA "Before I Go You Should Know"  -  a place to record everything your survivors will need to know to be able to handle your estate and carry on.

Link to article by Funeral Consumer Alliance on “How to Arrange a Home Funeral” -  - pay for service company that cleans gravesites and delivers flowers in all fifty states.

Dementia Values and Priorities Tool -  this link is to help early stage dementia

patients make clear decisions about the course of their care/illness for the

benefit of their loved ones.   Dementia Values & Priorities Tool

FCA - over 25 printable informative pamphlets available ( under "For Consumers", "FAQ's" for others not sampled here:  Green Burial; How to Plan a Memorial Service; Common Funeral Myths; Organ and Body Donation; Veterans Burial Benefits; Cremation Explained; How to File a Funeral or Cemetery Complaint.

Dementia Decoder -   this links to a decision tree/ checklist process that helps

                  guide you in your control of the future course of treatment and your

                   end of life choices.  Dementia Decoder

Bureau of Vital Statistics:  Colorado Department of Public Health and environment - a place to get vital records (birth certificates, death certificates; marriage, divorce and other vital records.

An interview, headed by Mark Koebrich of Channel 9 News was aired on April 26, entitled "How to not break the bank paying for your funeral services".  The interview, conducted by Koebrich, highlighted our own Funeral Consumers Society of Colorado, featuring Board member Jill Ross, and one of FCSC's Contract Providers, Jim Stork.  To view the entire airing, go to: