Death is never an easy subject to think about, much less talk about with loved ones. However, the financial future of your family may depend on having those hard discussions sooner rather than later. While death in and of itself is no laughing matter, the tasks that remain afterward certainly don’t alleviate the grief. If you or a loved one are ready to have the conversation, you may be considering final expense insurance.

Covering expenses
A death in the family often means a funeral service to celebrate their life and allow loved ones to pay their respects. However, many overlook the expense that the event may incur until they receive the bill. According to The National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in the U.S. in 2014 was just over $7,100. This expense has risen almost 30 percent in the last 10 years. Cremations came out to be slightly less, with a median price of $6,078. The median price of even the most basic of burial services was estimated at $2,000.

As a fulfillment of a person’s last wishes, these expenses are obviously very important and worth taking on for most families. However, it’s hard enough to save this much money in advance, much less think about doing so specifically for a funeral. To add to the difficulty of loss, a recent survey estimated that around 20 percent of Americans will die in debt. While that’s an uncomfortable statistic, there is the consolation that most debts are paid from a person’s estate, and not immediately transferred to a family. Still, this requires selling valuable assets, leaving less to pass onto heirs. That’s not to mention the medical bills and long-term care costs that pile up at the end of one’s life.

Insuring for peace of mind
The high cost of end-of-life services, combined with the difficulty of saving for them, make final expense insurance plans attractive. Final expense insurance is similar to life insurance, in that it pays out a certain sum of money upon death. However, final expense insurance is tailored specifically for burial costs and bill payment related to end-of-life care. Since it’s not intended to replace income, like life insurance, final expense policies may be more affordable. They also provide a convenient way to save for these expenses.

As Smart Asset  noted, there are alternatives to final expense insurance. The most obvious is simply self-insuring, which amounts to planning these expenses ahead of time and saving for them. Some people may choose to pay for their funeral in advance, thus ensuring they won’t need to worry about those expenses later. Of course, this presents more than a few issues. You could change your mind about the details of your ceremony. The funeral company you paid could go out of business before you ever need their services. In some instances, fraud has been known to occur from pre-paid burials. There are a number of state laws regulating this practice, while some may ban pre-payment altogether.

These risks may make it worthwhile to look into a final expense insurance policy from a reputable provider. With this option, it’s possible to provide family members, as well as yourself, with peace of mind and one less thing to worry about during one of the most difficult moments in life. If you’re interested in a final expense insurance policy, take the time to research different providers and find the plan that best suits your needs.