Expecting the Unexpected: Placement Installment Plans

When death occurs, not all families are prepared for the financial impact of caring for their loved one post-mortem. As a result, we developed a Placement Installment Plan.

Holley Sowards


April 22, 2021

scattering gardens

When death occurs, not all families are prepared for the financial impact of caring for their loved one post-mortem, especially when the loss is unexpected. As a result, we developed a Placement Installment Plan (PIP) to help grieving families provide immediate care for their loved one, without all the upfront costs.

In the funeral service industry, the term “at-need” signifies a death in the family and the immediate need for services, and according to a 2015 Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FMIC) study, only 17% of people have made arrangements for what takes place in the event of their death. That means in the midst of grief the family will need to answer many questions…

  • Will the loved one be buried or cremated?
  • Where will the loved one be permanently placed?
  • How will the loved one’s life be celebrated? A balloon release? A full funeral? A catered event?

The list of questions continues, and at the end, the family learns that the full cost of the selections they’ve made is due—in full—now.

Unlike a home or car loan where a bank can repossess if payments cannot be made, funeral homes and cemeteries cannot ask a family to return catered items or remove a loved one from a burial plot. That limits the payment options that a funeral home can offer.

However, there are options that the family should not overlook!

The same FMIC study explains that 82% of adults over age 40 say a funeral service helps pay tribute to the life of a friend or family member while 72% believed services they attended were an important part of the healing process. Working with a family service provider is the first step to navigating the choices and timelines available to find a solution that meets the family’s needs, financial situation, and the loved one’s wishes.

With our PIP plan, payment works like Christmas layaway. For the uninitiated, back in the days of the large toy stores, families would choose the toys the children would receive for Christmas months ahead. The store held these items in large storage rooms, and mom or dad stopped by the store monthly to make a payment. By Christmas, the items were paid in full and ready to be wrapped for placement under the tree.

At the cemetery, that translates into having a loved one cremated, taking home the urn, and choosing the location for the loved one to be placed in the cemetery. The space is reserved, and while payment for the cremation and urn is due immediately, payment—at no interest—is made in installments over time for the placement location. The plan is determined by the family’s budget, and when the payments are complete, the urn is placed in the cemetery.

Don’t skip placement based solely on the fact that it’s outside the budget today. Talk with a family service provider to learn the options first.

Stephen & Holley share more details in the video below, including examples to help you prepare.


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Holley Sowards

Hi, my name is Holley with Einan’s at Sunset Funeral Home in Richland, WA. I'm a Ketchup-loving, fearless leader and Service and Operations manager who writes about resources for families recently experiencing loss.
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