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Eternity on a budget

Burials and funerals can be expensive, and it's an expense many of us don't think about until too late.

Posted: Nov 7, 2017 5:59 PM
Updated: Nov 8, 2017 12:53 PM

Burials and funerals can be expensive, and it's an expense many of us don't think about until too late.

But what happens for people who don't have the money to pay for a service?

Workers at Brucie funeral home & cemetery say preplanning is one of the most important things people can do to prepare for the expenses that come along with passing.

While prices can range up to a few thousand dollars, funeral home workers say they do everything they can to work with people and make sure each person is able to have an honorable service, regardless of their financial situation.

“Even in The Bible it used to talk that the poor will always be with us, and they are still, and so there are some people that just don't have the means,” said Brucie funeral home and cemetery family service coordinator Clark Masters.

The cemetery has been there since 1852, and since then almost 35,000 people have found their permanent resting place behind those gates.

“What we're trying to do is take care of people's needs, take care of family's needs, and we don't want anyone to be short changed,” he said.

But what about people who can't afford it?

A basic cremation runs around $1,800. Loved ones can keep the ashes, or for an extra $500 choose to have them scattered in the ossuary, an underground burial chamber into which cremated remains are poured.

Still, not everyone can afford that, and that's where the Indigent Burial Program comes in.

It's developed for people or families who don't have the funds to deal with the remains of loved ones.

Karen Ely is the assistant director of the services division at Butte County employment and says people do have to fill out an application for the program.

“If you are a person who works but has children and has a certain level of expenses, we're looking at not only your income but what your monthly expenses are,” she said.

If you're approved, the county will pay for the cremation cost.

Last year, out of the 168 applications, only 39 were denied.

However, if people choose to set up something like a GoFundMe to help pay for the costs, they will likely not qualify for the program.

Ely says the county does its best to accommodate those who need help, and there's really no scenario where absolutely nothing can be done.

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