UK funeral costs in 2020

UK funeral costs now average £4,417 however funeral prices vary depending on where you live. Cremation remains the cheaper type of funeral service at £3,858 with the average cost of burial at £4,975. The lowest cost funeral is a direct cremation which is gaining in popularity and currently averages £1,626.

How much does a funeral cost?help with funeral costs

Average funeral prices have risen from £1,920 in 2004 to almost £4,500 today. An increase of 130% over 15 years. This includes the essential funeral costs such as the funeral director’s fees and third party charges. Prices including additional services such as flowers, catering or a memorial would be higher.

In fact according to Sunlife’s Cost of Dying Report 2020, when you factor in the essential funeral expenses, optional extras and professional fees for administrating the estate, the total cost of dying is now £9,493.

Funeral cost breakdown

Funeral costs fall into three categories:

  • The funeral directors fees
  • Third party funeral charges
  • Optional funeral services

Funeral director costs

Funeral directors costs currently average £2,687 and include the following services

  • Collection and care of the deceased
  • Support and guidance for the family
  • Use of their facilities including the chapel of rest
  • The coffin
  • The hearse
  • Their services on the day

Prices vary by region and by company so it is worth comparing funeral director’s charges where possible. Understandably many families find the prospect of comparing prices charged by funeral directors too upsetting, which is where paying for a funeral in advance could help.

Third party funeral costs

Third party funeral costs are charges that are beyond the control of the funeral director and include:

  • Cremation fees - £860
  • Burial fees - £2,288
  • Minister or Officiant’s fees - £169
  • Doctor’s fees - £164

Again these funeral prices are averages so vary depending on where you live in the country.

Optional funeral expenses

Optional funeral expenses are the additional funeral services you may want to include to personalise the service such as:

  • Flowers - £184
  • Service cards - £88
  • Death notice - £82
  • Limousine hire for family - £313
  • Venue hire - £245
  • Catering - £408
  • A memorial - £910

Paying for a funeral in advance

Paying for a funeral can be expensive and cause financial hardship for many UK families. Arranging and paying for your funeral in advance removes this burden, making life that bit easier. There are several ways this can be achieved; with savings, a prepaid funeral plan or over 50 life insurance.

The following information explains how each option can make paying for a funeral in advance simple, straightforward and stress-free.

Savings or an ISA

Using your savings or an ISA to pay for a funeral, or saving money on a monthly basis is one option however you need to be disciplined. The danger with savings is that you may use them for other things. Also, the interest rate on savings accounts isn’t as high as the rate funeral costs have been rising, so you would need to keep your pot of cash topped up.

Paying from your estate

If you feel there are sufficient funds in your property, you may prefer your funeral costs to be covered by your estate. However, this may mean your family having to pay for the funeral in the first instance before your estate is settled, which could prove problematic.

Prepaid funeral plans

A prepaid funeral plan lets you arrange and pay for your funeral at today’s prices. Your costs are frozen meaning you don’t have to worry about funeral inflation and you can choose the type of funeral you prefer.

In addition to removing the financial worry of paying for a funeral from your family, a funeral plan also removes the pressure of having to arrange your funeral.

Over 50 life insurance

Over 50 life insurance pays out a cash sum when you die that could help with funeral costs, which is why they are often referred to as funeral insurance. Plans start from as little as £3.70 a month which may appeal to those who prefer to keep to a smaller monthly budget.

Help with funeral costs

Help with funeral costs is available through the government with the social fund funeral payment scheme. To apply you need to be on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits. The money paid out by the funeral payment scheme is insufficient to cover all funeral costs but will help with cremation or burial fees, and possibly some additional fees like the funeral director.

Who pays for a funeral if there is no money?

The family or executor of the will is usually responsible for the funeral costs, which can be reclaimed from the deceased’s estate where possible. If there is no money to pay for funeral costs, your local authority has a legal duty to provide a Public Health Funeral.

Public health funerals typically consist of a simple cremation, arranged by the local authority that family and friends can attend.

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