Dying is a generally unhappy event. Worse yet, it can become a financial burden when not properly planned for. With as many of 30% of Americans living without life insurance, let alone the number of individuals that don’t take measures to insure the value of their obligations in the event of death, passing on presents itself as a major financial milestone to plan for throughout the course of a saver’s lifetime.

The cost of dying begins with a basic list of services that are offered common to all arrangements. In planning for death, the bare minimum to plan for involves funeral planning expenses, the legal documents certifying the death, the sheltering of the remains, arrangements made with a cemetery, and potentially cremation expenses.

From there, individuals may choose to take on additional expenses to preserve a body for a viewing and ceremony, as well as a graveside service. These processions can vary in expense, but as a general rule, the cost of the casket and hearse alone is enough to be of material value to the average saver. All of these put together means that a burial can cost anywhere up from $10,000 for a traditional burial. Alternatively, a simple cremation can cost anywhere up from $1,000.

When planning for death, it is fairly easy for people to research the costs that are explicitly associated with the death itself. However, what about those unexpected costs that immediately precede the saver’s passing? Ambulance rides cost near $400 in some locations, and palliative care can cost thousands of dollars per day before comforting medications are added in.

Even with health insurance, there are still costs associated with getting people together for the burial itself, if there is to be a ceremony that is, as well as the amount of time that is spent by the immediate family certifying the death of the saver, and ensuring that a proper burial indeed takes place.

Lastly, we need to remember that the obligations of a borrower that passes away do not die with them. Debts pass to the estate just as assets do, as do unpaid bills. As if the burden of the death is not enough for the immediate family to deal with, they must now settle out the deceased person’s financial positions in an orderly fashion, or risk the even greater headache of dealing with collections.

Given the way in which these obligations are actually inherited by a given beneficiary, it is no surprise that many people are shocked to find that they are inheriting a brand new mortgage on the family’s old property because the loan was not insured.

Regardless of age or lifestyle, we need to remember that unexpected death is always a possibility. Just as we plan to mitigate risks out of an investment portfolio, we must also take measures to ensure that death does not interfere with the financial integrity of our estate. Between proper saving, planning, and insurance, we are able to invest in our deaths, so that our relatives and friends can focus on the emotional consequences, as opposed to the financial.

Author's Bio: 

Skip Stamous is an investor and freelancer working for websites such as Cap Credit ™ and NY Times.