Odd Funeral Fees Explained
Odd Funeral Fees Explained

Today, funeral services are more expensive than ever before. The last report from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) in 2019 estimated the median cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial was $7,640. That’s nearly $500 more than the median cost in 2014. The median cost of cremation in 2019 was $5,150 

A lot of things go into the total cost of a funeral. Some of the costs like a casket or an urn are fairly obvious but there are a number of other funeral fees you might not ever expect. Below are seven funeral fees that you may have never heard of but can add up.

Non-Declinable Basic Services Fee

This one is a bit ambiguous, but that’s because it can cover a lot of different things. Generally speaking, the non-declinable basic service fees cover: 

  • Time spent planning the funeral with the funeral director
  • Arrangements that are made on behalf of the client
  • Obtaining the death certificate(s)

If you don’t see an item titled basic services fee, look to see if there’s a fee for professional services, which is the same thing. It’s the one and only fee on the General Price List that you can’t decline or omit. The national median cost for professional services at a funeral home is $2,195.

Other Preparation of the Body Fee 

Typically, this fee refers to preparations outside of embalming that are done for a viewing, such as hair and makeup services. Other body preparation fees tend to be between $200-$300. 

Rental Casket

This one is actually just like it sounds. Some families opt to rent a casket either for a viewing before a cremation that won’t involve a casket for burial or to have a nicer casket for the viewing that will be buried. The price for casket rentals isn’t cheap. It will typically cost somewhere $700 and $1,200. While this is a lot of money it’s usually about a third of what it costs to buy a casket. 

Opening the Grave

The cost of the burial plot isn’t the only expense the family will incur. The cemetery will charge a fee for what’s called “opening the grave.” The fee is paid to have the hole dug for the casket. Most cemeteries charge $300-500. If the burial is on a weekend it will be on the higher end.

Closing the Grave

In addition to an opening the grave fee, the cemetery might also charge a separate fee to close up the burial plot. Typically, the fee for closing the grave is less than opening it. Also, don’t mistake closing the grave for upkeep. The fee is strictly for refilling and tapping down the ground on the surface.

Good to Know

Mausoleum interment, whether it’s for a cremation niche or full crypt, will also require grave opening and grave closing services.  


Most people are familiar with obituaries, but they aren’t familiar with the fees. Most people assume it’s free, but today that isn’t the case in most places. And in larger cities where print space is in demand, a traditional obituary can be expensive

Prepare to pay up to $300-$400 for an obituary. Some publications will offer a certain amount of space for a set price, some charge by line and others charge by word. Adding a photo may also be an extra fee.

Grave Liner

A grave liner is a concrete covering that goes on top and around the sides of a casket once it is in the burial plot. Grave liners are used to help prevent the ground from caving in. Fortunately, grave liners aren’t required by law, but they may be a requirement at a specific cemetery. If it’s required you can expect to pay between $700-$1,000 for a grave liner. 

Need more information on particular funeral fees or the cost of cremation? The experts at Direct Cremate can answer your questions by email, text or phone. We’re available seven days a week.