The Real Cost Of Dying

The Real Cost Of Dying

Death is a morbid topic that most people find disturbing to discuss. However, it is an undeniable reality. According to 2016 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, an average of 1,591 individuals die each day in the Philippines. The finality of death does not only take a toll on emotions; it also affects our finances. 

Money matters are typically unwelcomed in Filipino conversations – we find them inappropriate. So, when money and death come together, they become even harder to talk about for most Filipinos. It’s not hard to see why there is a lack of knowledge and understanding among Filipinos on the financial aspect of dying.

Nevertheless, staying informed is the key to successfully managing anything, even the heavy topic of death. You see, the rising costs associated with living may leave our wallets struggling but dying will definitely leave it crying. Dying can be a real wallet buster – and in this article, we will cover all the cost considerations that factor into the process. Additionally, we will offer sound advice on what you can do to soften the blow of passing, financially. 

1. Hospital expenses

First off, let’s talk about hospital expenses. According to the 2015 Quality of Death Index, the Philippines is one of the worst countries to die in, after five critical areas have been assessed. These are palliative and healthcare environment, human resources, affordable care, quality of care and level of community engagement. The fact is terminal illnesses do not only wear down emotions, but they are also really expensive. 

Data from The Philippine Star says that 84% of Filipinos are reportedly not prepared to deal with medical costs in case they are diagnosed with a serious illness. Only about 4% have HMOs, and those who do get covered do so for only up to ₱ 90,000 a year and only for Diagnostics, not actual treatment. 

For example, cancer – one of the leading causes of death in the country – comes with hefty charges for diagnosis and treatment. In fact, the Philippine Cancer Society says that out-of-pocket costs for cancer rank the highest here. In addition, diagnosis and treatment have different cost considerations. Stage 4 lung cancer costs about ₱ 183,650 for diagnosis, and ₱ 1.6 million for treatment.

Cardiovascular diseases (heart attack)₱978,650
Vascular diseases (stroke)₱1.8M
Breast cancer₱438,000
Lung cancer₱2.78M
Renal failure₱192,000-432,000
Source: https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/brighter-life/152573-real-cost-serious-illnesses-ph

2. Funeral cost

Funeral costs start with the death registration, which differs between private and public burials. A public cemetery burial registration costs ₱ 150, while a private one costs ₱ 500. In addition, you have to account for the transfer of cadaver at ₱ 200, and its accompanying documentary stamp tax at ₱ 15.

Caskets

Now, onto caskets. There are four major types that one can choose from today: wooden, metal, stainless steel, and bronze. In choosing one, it is necessary to have a good idea of your budget. This is a general price breakdown for caskets, according to material type.

Additionally, take size into consideration. And if it is available, the final wishes of the one that has passed should also be factored into the selection.

Wooden₱3,000
Metal₱16,000 - ₱35,000
Stainless steel₱75,000
Bronze₱85,000
Source: https://www.thesummitexpress.com/2016/10/computation-cost-dying-philippines.html

Funeral wake and ceremony

For funeral viewings and ceremonies, mortuary care packages typically start from ₱ 8000. Mortuary services include the viewing setup either at home or in a funeral parlor, as well as the viewing arrangement such as lamps, flowers, etc. The price range for these packages starts from:

Budget Funeral Parlor₱8,000 - ₱ 10,000
Mid-range Funeral Parlor₱15,000 - ₱ 250,000
High-end Funeral Parlor₱300,000 - ₱500,000

Aside from funeral parlors, viewings can also be held at community chapels, as long as you secure the necessary requirements. These may differ from area to area, so make sure to check with your locality for guidance.

Additionally, homes are an alternative. This typically costs less than a mortuary care package in a funeral parlor, so it is ideal for those who are on a rather limited budget. It is also more intimate if that is preferred.

Food

Internment also requires setting aside a food budget, which depends on: 

  • The length of the wake
  • The type of food you intend to serve
  • The number of guests

Budget

The food budget should set you back between ₱3,000 – ₱ 20,000.

3. Burial cost

Memorial lots are still the most popular way to honor the deceased in the Philippines. Packages differ as such:

Apartment Tomb₱ 1,000
Private Lots₱65,000 - ₱100,000
MausoleumMinimum of ₱1,000,000
Garden LotMinimum of ₱2,000,000
Estate LotMinimum of ₱18,000,000

Businesses that offer memorial lots include

  • Eternal Gardens
  • Forest Lake
  • Golden Haven
  • Loyola Memorial Park
  • Manila Memorial Park
  • The Heritage Park

Burial service

There’s also the burial service to contend with, which includes the prayer service, security, transportation, and even live music if desired. Expect to shell out ₱ 5,000 to ₱ 50,000.

For those who want to prepare early, there are pre-need burial plans that take care of all these costs for a set price. One of the most popular carriers of these is St. Peter, which offer deathcare plans that start from ₱ 36,800.

4. Cremation – alternative to a pricey traditional funeral

Those who want to forego traditional burials for something more cost-effective can consider cremation.

Cremation cost

Cremation typically ranges from ₱20,000 to ₱25,000.

Columbariums are available for ₱20,000 to ₱150,000. 

There are also cremation packages that cover various types of services, such as full-body cremation, remains pickups, and crypt internment. Popular brands that offer these include:

  • Manila Memorial Park
  • Holy Cross Memorial Park
  • La Loma Cemetery and Crematorium
  • Paz Memorial and Funeral Services
  • Manila North Green Park
  • Ever Memorial Garden
  • Loyola Memorial Park
  • Saint Peter Life Plan
  • Heritage Memorial Park

Memorial service requirements for cremations include:

  • Death certificate 
  • Transfer permit, if cemetery or the ash is located outside the city where you intend to have the service
  • Cremating permit
  • Fully accomplished Authority to Cremate form with complete attachments
  • Exhumation permit, for bone cremation 

Applying for these forms also entails different processes, depending on the person that is lodging the application. If the parent of the deceased is processing the cremating permit, for instance, they only need to bring a photocopy of the deceased’s birth or marriage certificate. If it’s a sibling that is of legal age, they need to bring their birth certificate or a marriage certificate as well as that of the deceased, plus an affidavit of conformity from other siblings granting consent to authorize the burning of remains on their behalf.

Sustainable Cremation Resting Places

Cremated remains typically go in urns, to be stored in columbariums, mausoleum niches, scattering gardens, or cremation benches and statuaries. But if you prefer something sustainable, there are biodegradable urns from Bios which house cremated remains with a tree seed. Alternatively, Eternal Reef has reefs made from environmentally-safe cast concrete as cremation urns. 

5. Writing a will

Whatever your decision about your final resting place, it should be exactly how you want it. No one would also want to leave their loved ones behind with large hospital and funeral bills. So, don’t put off putting a will or a plan in place if you don’t want your final legacy to be financially troubling to your family. 

Getting this one may cost you some money, but it’s the best way to leave your loved ones behind. Its purpose is to ensure the disposition of one’s estate to one’s heirs – and in the Philippines, only written wills are accepted.

There are two kinds: notarial and holographic. A notarial will requires at least three credible witnesses and must be acknowledged before a notary public. It is ideally written with the assistance of a lawyer, as it involves several complex legalities. A holographic will, on the other hand, is written, dated, and signed by the testator, or the person who is executing the last will and testament for his or her heirs. It is simpler than a notarial will and can be handwritten.

It includes your name, citizenship, civil status, birth date, address, burial/cremation wishes and requests, your heirs and the properties you wish to bequeath to each one, your executor, and a substitute for your executor. A will also state if the testator wishes his or her executor to present a bond – or none at all – in the administration of the last will and testament.

Notarial wills that cover estates not more than ₱100,000 typically cost ₱3,500 in filing fees, while those that amount to ₱ 400,000 or more will incur about ₱ 6,500 in fees.

With all that said, it’s safe to say that dying is a major wallet buster. That why whether you’re superstitious or you’re just simply creeped out by the thought of purchasing your own memorial plan or wrtting a will, having those in place as soon as you could is simply a practical life decision that must be made ahead.  Add the fact that the rising cost of living has made dying even more financially prohibitive throughout the years. Securing these plans in place will also save you a fortune.

Source 1, 2, 3, 4

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