Money Monday: Tragic Costs


I never thought or wanted to write this article, but given the recent tragic school shooting in Texas, I cannot ignore the subject matter. While the families struggle through their emotional pain and grief, one reality remains ever so real and present; and this is, what will it cost to bury their child, and are they prepared to face such cost? It is not the standard order for parents to funeralize their minor children. Were the funeral costs in their budget, or do they have an emergency fund to cover this tragedy? We are not excited to discuss these issues, but what if it happened in your family? How would you address the situation?

Funeral Costs

The current national average cost of funerals ranges from $7,000 to $10,000. These fees may include cemetery costs, but I would not bet on it. Texas does not offer any state-funded funeral assistance funeral programs. However, one may find assistance through their local county or district. Even if you are considering cremation, the cost could still be high. Why? Because under Texas law, cremation is prohibited within 24 hours of a person’s death. Therefore, some funeral costs are almost inevitable.

The challenge is that most estate plans prepare for the deceased to be an adult. Most budget emergency funds account for six months of living expenses but not in a tragedy. However, you may find some assistance through your life insurance worthy of consideration. There is also the idea of acquiring a burial or funeral, which may or may not be part of your life insurance coverage. Burial or funeral insurance is usually cheaper than life insurance. With burial insurance, the policies are generally in the thousands of dollars, a medical examination is not required, and it may even acquire a cash value. But who thinks about burial insurance for their kids? No one! Your call to action is the review your life insurance policy and make any adjustments if needed. You should also note whether or not your state has funeral assistance-funded programs.

Legacy Costs

There are costs beyond the funeral or cremation ceremony which may become necessary. We all want to remember our loved ones and, in this case, our children in some tangible way. This leads to the cost of a headstone cost. This could range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. It all depends on how you want them to be remembered.

The other legacy cost is establishing a foundation or trust in their honor. Depending on the trust or foundation purpose and other factors, this could be complicated and costly to establish in the beginning. Not to mention the cost of managing such organizations or entities and any tax-related implications.

Finally, while not directly a legacy cost, mental health and wellness counseling or therapy may become necessary for an extended period. How will you pay for those costs?

While tragedies, disasters, and other events will continue to occur, ensuring that you have a financial plan, budget, and emergency fund, can help you through those difficult periods.


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Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC. Give2Get Rich, LLC 2022. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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