Tag Archives: how much does a funeral cost in mexico

Death Costs at the Cemetery in Rural Mexico

Cemetery plots are purchased from la tesorería de la presidencia (town hall treasury department) because cemeteries belong to the municipality. Ground plots run about $18,000 pesos and a slot in the boveda (vault) costs $800 in Moroleon. After six years, the boveda or ground plot can be opened again and a second body can be put in if need be. 

The cemetery in Cerano allows for one person to purchase the ground plot and two additional family members can be stacked on top in their own boveda. Babies and very young children can also be buried in the same area, usually in a small space in front of the main spot. 

For example my husband’s cousin, is the body underground. Mama Vira is next and on top is Papa Rique. The cousin’s infant baby is in a little space in the ground, right in front because he died before his mother, otherwise he could have been buried with her. The plot is full up now and when someone else in the family dies, they will need to purchase a separate plot. 

After five years, you need to pay a yearly fee that varies between $300 and $500 depending on the cemetery. When no one pays your space, you just might be dug up and put on display in el Museo de Las Momias. I’m not joking. If you aren’t put on display, your remains will be condensed or cremated and you’ll be moved to another area to make room for the more recently departed.

If you want to leave your cenizas (ashes) after cremation in the cemetery, some places have a columbario (columbarium) where you can deposit your urn. Otherwise, you can display the urn on your mantel if you like.

A body without the proper paperwork or unclaimed 72 hours after death is buried in la fosa común. Our neighbor, el plomero, narrowly escaped being buried in the pauper’s grave. His birth certificate and identification were stolen during his velorio, probably by the same person that stole his property certificate for his house in La Yacata. His wife had to request a new birth certificate to get the appropriate death papers otherwise he’d be thrown in that large anonymous pit. Since bodies must be buried between 24 and 48 hours after death, there was a bit of rush, but she pulled through and got him the proper identification to be buried.

The funeraria will often get the permit to open the grave/crypt all ready for you. It accompanies the body to the cemetery. However, you’ll have to pay the workmen to close up the grave. When we buried my mother-in-law, my husband and his brother requested permission to seal up the crypt as they were both bricklayers by trade, so that saved a little bit of money.

Sometimes, like in Cerano, you’ll need to pay someone to build the crypt itself. The panteón (cemetery) has workers on staff, however again, you’ll need to pay them. Often, someone close to the family, but not a relative offers to build the boveda. They may accept a token payment or refuse payment. You’ll then just need to pay for materials. 

If you wish to add a lápida (headstone) or some sort of marker, you need permission for that as well. Those permits are given out at the main cemetery office and cost approximately $400 pesos. Plus, you’ll need to have a grave marker made at the marmoleria and they can get pretty pricey. 

The little mausoleum made for the top of our nephew’s grave cost $15,000. On the other hand, you can do it yourself and just pay for materials. The front of my mother-in-law’s crypt was decorated with tile and a name plaque which cost about $1,500. You’ll still need to pay for the permit and make sure the adornment or structure meets the cemetery’s parameters for the plaque, monument, or marker. 

There’s a yearly maintenance fee at most cemeteries. This ensures that the common areas are kept neat and tidy and special efforts are taken during at el Día de Muertos. You are responsible for the upkeep of your own dearly departed, however.

Some cemeteries have special sections reserved for gringos or children. Others allow families to buy up multiple plots and create a family mausoleum. Most, however, are on a first come, first served type of set up. 

The plots on the ground in our local cemetery can not be set aside without the actual presence of a dead body. Otherwise, the wealthier would reserve their spots under the single mesquite tree and leave the rest to fight over what was left. You can, however, pay for a space ahead of time and when your time comes, you’ll get the next available slot either above or below ground.

As you can tell, dying doesn’t come cheap here in rural Mexico. And since it is an eventuality, perhaps you’d do best to set a little money aside so as not to be a burden to your family, unless you are ok with the la fosa común idea.

Leave a comment

Filed under Death and all its trappings

The Cost of Dying in Rural Mexico–Funeral Services

Last week I convinced my husband to head to a funeraria (mortuary) to ask some questions about funeral services. It’s not like I’m planning on dying anytime soon, but death comes to us all and I wanted to be a little better prepared in case next time I had to make the arrangements. 

I learned there are lots of integrated pieces involved in being buried in Mexico and that you will be charged for each and every one of them. The particular funeraria that we visited has a sort of burial insurance that can be purchased for 800 pesos per year. 

The package included:

  • El ataúd de madera (basic wooden coffin) or la urna básica (simple urn)
  • 120 sillas para el velorio (chairs for the wake)
  • 2 arreglos de flores (flower arrangements)
  • 70 piezas de pan ( sweetbread pieces)
  • 40 sillas para la novena (chairs for the 9 days of prayer)
  • Los spots de radio (radio announcements informing the general public of the funeral times)
  • Traslado del cuerpo (transfer of the body from home/hospital to where the wake is held to the church for mass to the cemetery for burial or to the crematorio)
  • Ayuda con los tramites (help with the documentation)

Of course, if I don’t die for 40 years, the funeraria gets a grand total of $32,000 pesos. So I decided to ask about the individual costs of the items. The following prices are estimates for 2020. 

An average coffin costs about $14,000. An urn for cremated ashes costs approximately 800 pesos. If you have the seguro (insurance) but want a different urn or coffin than the one included in the plan, you pay the difference in price. If you wish to be cremated, you still have to rent the coffin for the wake. 

Cremation can be done locally in our area, so it ends up being less expensive of a service than it might be in other areas. A funeral service with cremation will cost about $10,000. 

The average funeral service with the velorio and novena in the home costs about $6,000 plus the coffin, not including cemetery and church service fees. If the velorio and novena are to be held in la sala de velatorio, also known as la sala de velación o velorio, then there is an additional rental fee for the space.

In order for a funeral to proceed quickly, and since embalming isn’t commonly done here a quick funeral is better, a coroner needs to sign off that the person is actually dead. If the person died in the hospital, then the last attending medical personnel typically handles the paperwork. If the person dies at home, then the funeraria has someone on call to take care of examining the body. 

The funeraria may or may not “arreglar” the body. When my brother-in-law died, the funeral guys only dressed the body because I didn’t give them a chance to say no and I sure wasn’t going to do it. I did provide the clothes though. On the other hand, my mother-in-law was coiffed and make-upped so much that she didn’t even look like herself. Again, the clothes were provided. Both Mama Vira and my mother-in-law had specially made “santa” dresses. You’ll need to pay about $200 pesos to seamstress for that as well. 

In the event of a violent, suspicious or sudden death, and in case of a miscarriage, the body is often taken for an autopsia. The medical examiner on site conducting the autopsy will fill out the paperwork. The funeral home typically takes care of transporting the body to and from the autopsy site, which in our case is more than an hour away in Yuriria. 

When our nephew’s murdered body was found, his autopsy was done in Celaya, three hours away, since it was part of an open criminal investigation. The paperwork was not ready when the funeraria came for the body, so someone had to return to pick it up the next day. Nothing could advance in the funeral procession procedures without that paper.

When my husband’s cousin miscarried at my mother-in-law’s funeral, the fetus was taken to Yuriria for an autopsy to ascertain that she hadn’t intentionally aborted the baby since abortion is still illegal in most of Mexico. She had to wait two days before they returned the little body in a shoe box for her to take back to Cerano and bury. 

This paperwork is essential in order to have the Acta de Defuncion (death certificate) drawn up in el Registro Civil (Civil Registry). Other paperwork involved that the funeraria will help you with includes getting permission for burial in the cemetery or cremation orders. 

Estimating expenses we now know that a funeral service with casket will run you about $20,000 pesos if you hold the services at home and a cremation service about half that at $10,000. If you shop around, you may be able to find a less expensive setup. You can use this checklist if you like.

1 Comment

Filed under Death and all its trappings