It's hard to imagine a worse situation. The unexpected loss of a loved one. The sudden expense of a funeral. What happens if you're not able to pay for any of this? Can the funeral home hold your loved one's remains until you pay up?

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What's the Cost? Paying for a Funeral in Arizona

Depending on where you are in Arizona, the cost of a funeral could vary.
Where you live, the services you select, and the funeral home providing the service can all make a difference in the cost.

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According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral and burial in Arizona is about  $6,681. This includes the viewing and the service. This is a little lower than the median cost nationally, which comes in about $7,360.

The cost can change depending on the services you select, but here's a short list of choices that could affect the bottom line:

  • Basic services: $1,505
  • Viewing and visitation: $324
  • Funeral ceremony: $440
  • Graveside service: $114
  • Transport of remains: $431
  • Direct burial: $464
  • Direct cremation: $1,411
  • Embalming: $599

It's difficult to make decisions in the middle of grief. Remember, you have the right to shop around and compare different options and prices based on your needs.

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Did you know, you're not required to buy a casket from the funeral home? In fact, you can save money if you buy one from an alternative source, and by law, the funeral home has to accept it.

Is It Illegal for Funeral Homes to Hold Remains Until You Can Pay for a Funeral?

Funerals can be expensive. It's challenging to manage grief and make decisions, and it can be difficult to honor your loved one if you're not sure about their final wishes.

Paying the final bill can be tough for many of us. It's important to remember, that funeral homes are a business. They have to pay staff and associated costs  Plus, they have to pay for the building where they conduct operations, and many other hidden expenses, as well.

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So what happens if you can't pay for your loved one's funeral when all is said and done? Is it illegal for funeral homes to hold remains until you can pay?

Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.

According to the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 36, Chapter 12, Article 3, Section 36-831, a funeral establishment or crematory has a lien on the human remains or cremated remains for the amount of the charges for services rendered or merchandise sold.

However, this lien does not prevent the funeral home from releasing the remains.

As long as the responsible person agrees to pay the charges or provides security for payment, according to the law, a funeral home or crematory cannot legally refuse to release the remains.

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That's if the person makes payment arrangements. However, if the person does not agree to pay or provide security, the funeral home or crematory can hold the remains until payment is made or a court order is issued.

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LOOK: Milestones in women's history from the year you were born

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Scroll through to find out when women in the U.S. and around the world won rights, the names of women who shattered the glass ceiling, and which country's women banded together to end a civil war.

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