Updated: October 30, 2021
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg once said, “Always bounce the check to the undertaker, and give it all away before you go.”
Personally, I wouldn’t want to bounce that check and rob the undertaker of his income. However, that quote is a reflection of the growing desire of many in Western countries to die broke.
Dying broke in this context doesn’t literally mean living in poverty. It’s more of a financial goal — to enjoy and utilize your wealth as much as you can while you’re still alive and probably leave behind just enough money for your family to spend on your funeral expenses.
And this begs the question, how much is the cost of dying, particularly in the Philippines? What are the funeral costs and other expenses that you have to consider?
It’s important to know, and subsequently plan for it, to avoid giving our family and loved ones additional financial burdens when we pass away from this world.
Can you afford to die? Let’s check and find out. Note: Figures are based on 2017 data.
Cost of Death
This refers to the medical and hospital bills, if applicable, which will vary. It also includes incidental costs if the death involves an accident and/or property damage.
This involves getting a death certificate from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), getting burial permits, and other documents. The total cost would be about P1,000.
Most funeral homes offer all-in-one packages. This would include the processing of the legal documents, embalming, casket, and the venue of the funeral.
A simple setup would cost around P15,000 while a grand service can cost as much as P500,000. On average, the total amount of P150,000 would be a reasonable figure.
If not included in the funeral package, expect to spend on these additional costs:
- Casket: Between P3,000 to P100,000 – P50,000 on average
- Cremation: Between P10,000 to P50,000 – P15,000 on average
- Urn: Between P3,000 to P80,000 – P50,000 on average
- Flowers: Between P1,000 to P10,000 – P5,000 on average
Lastly, some would also need to spend on burial clothing, which can cost around P2,000.
During the Wake
If not included in the memorial package, expect to spend around P1,000 per day, which covers the venue rental, water, electricity, and other incidentals.
It’s expected that you’ll serve food and beverages to your visitors. On average, this would cost P1,000 per day for simple snacks, and up to several thousand for food catering services.
The cost greatly depends on the activities. Expenses include prayer services, requiem mass, security, transportation, tips, and other incidentals. Figures run between P5,000 to P50,000; or P10,000 on average.
Apartment tombs can be rented for about P1,000 per year. While purchasing an estate lot can cost several million. However, an average, private lot would cost about P100,000.
On the other hand, a columbarium, which can hold multiple urns, can start at P20,000 up to P150,000 – depending on the location.
If not included in the memorial lot or columbarium price, you’ll shell out around P1,000 for a headstone or gravestone. Plus other costs, depending on the setup of the grave.
The mid-range cost of dying in the Philippines would be around P200,000. However, additional expenses, such as estate taxes will be incurred as a result of the person’s death.
This is why it’s important to financially prepare for our deaths. Some of the things you can do are:
- Have an emergency fund that your family can use for urgent costs, in case something happens to you.
- Be covered by health insurance to minimize medical and hospital costs.
- Get a memorial plan or pre-need funeral service package. Not only will you spend less, but you can also pay on installment. Plus, these policies are often transferrable.
- Avail of a life insurance policy to cover funeral expenses and estate taxes. The death benefits are usually released to the beneficiary within a few days.
- Have a Last Will and Testament, which can include your preferred funeral arrangements. Knowing what you want to happen when you die will help you set the proper budget for it.
- Keep important documents, such as insurance policies and investment certificates, safe and secure. Give instructions on how to access them to your trusted loved ones.
- Be aware of organizations, institutions, or places, where you have death benefits. For example, some cities give burial allowances, while some bank products come with free life insurance. Every peso counts, so keep an updated list.
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