Average cost of a funeral

The cost of a complete funeral can be expensive depending on the deceased's wishes and the funds available. According to a recent study, the average funeral in the UK now costs more than £3,000. This cost has risen at a rate of 7.2% per year, which is well above the general rate of inflation.

This figure covers:

  • The basics of a funeral director
  • Minister or celebrant fees
  • Doctors' fees
  • Cremation or burial fees
  • A coffin, hearse and one following limousine

Family members can still be left with money to pay. The total cost can amount to over £7,000 (an increase of 42% over the last five years), if you include the cost of:

  • Probate
  • Flowers for the funeral
  • Death and funeral notices
  • Order of service sheets
  • Additional limousines
  • A memorial
  • Venue hire and catering for the wake

Most funerals are cremations (77%) at an average cost of £2,500; burials (23%) are more expensive costing over £3000. There are substantial regional variations, for example a burial in London costs an average of £4,600.

Funeral costs

With the average cost of a funeral in the UK in 2012 increasing to £3,284, bereaved families can struggle to cover all the expenses. However there are several ways to manage the costs associated with a funeral.

There are two basic types of funeral plan:

  • an insurance policy known as a Whole of Life plan (that pays a fixed amount on death), and
  • a pre-paid funeral plan, usually sold by a funeral director.

A Whole of Life insurance policy is designed to cover you for your whole lifetime, including funeral costs. It will pay out when the policy holder dies and the dependents receive a lump sum, usually tax-free. Funeral insurance can help your family to avoid the financial burden and help to cover funeral or cremation expenses.

Pre-paid funeral plan

The customer pays for the main funeral costs in advance and this can include everything from the funeral director fees to choosing a coffin and the hearse. Many of these plans are not inclusive and do not cover all associated costs; planning with a funeral director of your choice can prevent overspending and remove the financial burden from your family.

Another benefit of paying for your funeral in advance is that you can pay for the cost at today's prices. A pre-paid funeral plan is available from your funeral director, a number of insurance companies and specific funeral plan companies. You can normally pay for the plan in instalments. Funeral costs can also be met through the proceeds of the deceased's estate.

It may take time to resolve issues like probate, and you may have to negotiate with your funeral director to either defer payment until monies are received, or pay the funeral costs yourself and claim the money back from the estate. Remember that you can control every aspect of the funeral.

If you require the services of a funeral director, it is worth asking for a detailed quote to determine if any optional elements are included in the package. If the quote includes services that you do not need, request a revised quotation to suit your needs.

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