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Other Frequently Asked Questions

Serving Dane County since 1922.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an average funeral cost?

Though funeral and cremation services vary greatly due to a person’s individual preferences, the average cost of a full service funeral with burial today is approximately $9,000 at Gunderson Funeral Home. This includes professional services of the funeral director and staff, embalming, use of the facilities for visitation and the funeral service, the transfer from place of death to the funeral home, necessary vehicles, casket, and vault.

This cost does not include such items as cemetery lots, opening and closing the grave, paid newspaper obituary notices, certified death certificates, monument expenses and honorarium given to clergy and musicians.

The cost may also be increased or decreased depending on the merchandise and the services you select. At Gunderson Funeral Home we have caskets that are modestly priced up to a more expensive range of wood and stainless steel, as well as a wide selection of urns and vaults. The selection of services, which can vary from a traditional funeral service with visitation to a Memorial service, will also affect your funeral cost.

As a United States veteran, will the Veterans Administration pay for my funeral expenses?

Each veteran, discharged other than dishonorably, is entitled to a burial flag, burial in a National or State operated Veteran’s cemetery, a government headstone or marker, and a military honors service. If the death is ruled to be service connected, there may be additional monies available. The funeral directors at Gunderson Funeral Home can give you more information if needed.

Does Gunderson Funeral Home offer a payment plan?

No. Gunderson Funeral Home does not offer an at-need payment plan. We do, however, assist with the filing of insurance claims and in certain circumstances, when proof of payment is definite, we do extend terms. Our experienced staff will also assist in suggesting a gathering or final good-bye to meet all budgets.

Can Funeral Arrangements be planned and, if desired, paid for in advance?

Yes they can. Many people find that preplanning arrangements gives them peace of mind knowing that their wishes will be carried out and the burden lessened on their family at the time of their death. Some find they need to protect their assets and assure their funeral expenses will be taken care of. Preplanning your funeral consists of meeting with the funeral home of your choice to allow them to gather biographical information for a death certificate as well as information you would like to be included in an obituary notice. At this time you can choose the type of services you desire as well as the type casket, outer burial container or cremation urn. Special clothing, flowers or music may be listed for reference later.

Once these pre-arrangements are made, you may decide to prepay your funeral to secure the price at today's cost. The interest that accumulates on your funds is then used to offset the increase in cost. At Gunderson Funeral Home, we use several funding vehicles such as insurance and trusts. We guarantee that your funeral funds will be secure and protected.

What happens to my pre-arrangement should I choose to move?

Most prepaid arrangements are established using an irrevocable contract to protect the funds from being acquired by the State, the funeral home or the family before death occurs. Your arrangements, however, are easily transferred to another funeral home should you decide to leave the area.

Can a pre-arrangement be transferred to Gunderson Funeral Home?

We do welcome pre-arrangement transfers. If you have an existing pre-arrangement and would like to use Gunderson Funeral Home, you may bring the papers you have and talk with our funeral directors about the transfer.

How much will Social Security pay toward my funeral expenses?

The Social Security Administration may pay a lump sum death benefit of $255 to the surviving spouse provided the deceased and their spouse were living together at the time of death. Entitled children may be eligible to receive the lump sum benefit if the deceased received monthly benefits at the time of death. Further information regarding benefits that you or your family may be eligible for can be obtained by calling the Social Security Administration directly at (800)772-1213 or visiting their web site at

Is embalming required by law?

Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. However, embalming will be necessary if you select certain funeral arrangements such as viewing during visitation or a delay of more than 24 hours before interment. If you do not want embalming, you have the right to choose an arrangement that would not require it such as closed casket services with immediate burial, within 24 hours of death, or cremation prior to your services.

Can I still have a visitation and/or funeral service if I wish to be cremated?

There are many options available today with regards to cremation. The act of cremation is simply a form of disposition of the body, taking the place of burial. While you may desire a direct cremation with no services, many people are choosing to have visitation and a funeral service prior to the cremation. Others choose to have a memorial service after the cremation, and many times families choose to display the urn at the service. Gunderson Funeral Home can help you make this service special and unique to fit your individual needs.

Is a vault required at the cemetery?

Some cemeteries do not require the use of outer burial containers. However, many perpetual care cemeteries in our area do require some form of outer burial container. The word vault is used to describe an outer container that is waterproof by an air seal or by a top seal. The purpose of a burial vault is to protect the casket and the cemetery grounds over time.

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, please call us at (608) 221-5420 and let our staff assist you. We are available.