• Funeral costs vary widely but according to a National Funeral Directors survey in 2021, the median cost of a funeral with in-ground burial not including cemetery costs was $7,848.
  •  Purchase of a cemetery plot, cemetery fees (to open and close the grave), and a vault or grave liner (required by most traditional cemeteries) vary widely. According to the website perfectgoodbyes.com on 1/15/23, the average cost for a burial plot in Maryland is $2,091. But that varies by geographic area and even location within a cemetery. For example, in Forestville, MD, the cost of a plot averaged $400 but in Silver Spring, MD, it averaged $3,648. Charges to open and close the grave are typically $1,500 to $3,000.  Headstones and or foot markers cost several hundred dollars and up, and the cemetery will charge for setting them in place. 
  • Veterans may qualify for benefits that include burial in a veteran’s cemetery as well as a simple headstone, which will reduce the overall cost of in-ground burial, but these benefits do not cover funeral expenses.
  • The least expensive burial option without any services, embalming, or viewing is called an immediate burial. The price quoted for this service, which the FTC requires every funeral home to offer as an option in its General Price List, includes removal of the body from the place of death, transportation to a local cemetery, and the basic services of the staff. It does not include: the cost of a casket; vault or liner; cemetery plot; cemetery charges to open and close the grave; or headstone or grave marker.  The funeral home may reserve the right to schedule actual interment at its convenience, but you could ask whether it would allow family to be present. 
  • Immediate burial followed by a memorial service at a time and place of your choosing without the body present allows more time for planning the service and less cost.  
  • Taking the time to “shop around” before committing to services with a particular funeral establishment may save you thousands of dollars, as prices vary widely even within the same geographic area.
  • There are no state or federal laws about embalming though a funeral establishment may have its own requirements requiring embalming if a public viewing is planned. Funeral homes can refrigerate bodies for several days as an alternative to embalming them.
  • Caskets may cost from $500 (for a very basic pine casket) to $20,000 and up, with the average cost approximately $1500 – $5,000.  An inexpensive model could be covered with a drape, flag, or quilt during a funeral or visitation if desired.  
  • Some funeral homes now post their General Price Lists as well as their casket price list online. A few cemeteries now do the same thing, so it’s a good idea to check to see how much information you can obtain before an in-person meeting to make arrangements, when you can take your time to think about your priorities. 
  • The Office of Cemetery Oversight is a good source of information about consumer rights with regard to cemeteries, funeral homes, and monument dealers in Maryland.

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Maryland and Environs

P.O. Box 34177

Bethesda, MD 20827


FCAME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.