It is a good idea to set aside some money for your funeral, so that someone else does not have to pay for it. The ongoing opioid crisis reveals how not doing so can cause financial problems for governments.
On any given day, someone in the U.S. passes away and no relatives come forward to claim the remains for burial. When that happens, authorities normally take the body to a funeral home. The funeral director then starts investigating to determine whether any family members of the deceased can be located, who might be willing to claim the remains.
If that funeral home search fails to lead to anything, the funeral director will look for any assets the deceased's estate might have to determine if there is anything left behind to pay for burial. What happens if there are no assets?
The answer depends on where the person passed away as the Daily Mail explains in "Unclaimed bodies pile up as opioid overdose death rates soar and burial costs overwhelm the government."
A minority of state governments have funds set aside for the burial of unclaimed human remains. However, most states leave it up to local governments to handle the costs. Funeral directors say that even when state governments do pay, it usually is not enough to cover all the costs. It is much worse in states that leave payment up to the local governments. With deaths rising because of the opioid crisis, the problem is getting worse in areas hard hit by overdoses.
This shows in part why it is a good idea to leave some money aside for your own burial. If something happens to you, then you can always be sure of receiving a proper funeral. No one else will need to claim your remains and pay for it.
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Reference: Daily Mail (Feb. 28, 2018) "Unclaimed bodies pile up as opioid overdose death rates soar and burial costs overwhelm the government."