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What’s the Average Cost of a Funeral?

The average cost of a funeral is soaring. Suppose you’ve ever considered the cost of dying. In that case, you’ll see that fees and expenses don’t seem to get any cheaper, with significant increases year-on-year.

But what’s driving the rise in costs? What’s the average cost of a funeral in the UK, and what does that entail? Is there a way to make a funeral any cheaper?

This guide will visit the average costs of funerals, break down expenses, and present options to reduce prices.

What is the Average Cost of a Funeral in the UK?

Rising funeral costs see the average expense increase significantly year upon year. In 2021, the average funeral cost in the UK was £4,344.

We can highlight how steep this rise is by looking at some of the past statistics behind funeral costs. In 2004, a funeral would cost a person just under £2,000, and in the last ten years, we’ve seen costs spiral by over 54%.

If current trends continue, the average cost of a funeral will surpass £7,000 by 2035, an extraordinary expense that will not be affordable to many UK residents. So what drives the ever-increasing price of a funeral?

We can investigate the core elements that make up the funeral expenses.

What’s the Breakdown of Funeral Costs?

We compare plans from the leading funeral providers

Funeral costs consist of three main aspects. These include the funeral director’s fees, third-party fees, and any additional extras to customise the funeral to the deceased. The total expense of the funeral can break down into the following sum:

Total funeral cost =

Funeral Directors Fees + Third-Party Fees + Customised Extras

We can elaborate on the costs involved and their numbers with each part of the total expense.

Funeral Director’s Fees

Funerals in the UK are almost exclusively organised by funeral directors, considering their knowledge and capability to put together and conduct a farewell service for the deceased. Funeral directors will often constitute the most significant expense for a funeral, where fees are exceptionally high because of their expertise in the trade.

However, funeral directors are an integral part of the service. Their fees will cover a high degree of detail in the funeral arrangements. So what do their services entail?

Funeral directors will be responsible for:

  • Completing any necessary paperwork for the funeral
  • Liaising with the crematorium or cemetery
  • Collection and care of the deceased
  • Sourcing a coffin
  • Organising a hearse and limousine for the family
  • Supplying essential personnel for the service

In 2020, funeral director’s fees made up over half of an elementary funeral cost at £2,687 on average.

Third-Party Fees

You might see third-party fees as a fundamental part of organising a funeral, but what exactly are they? Third-party fees, also known as disbursements, are the costs of services carried out by a third party and not the funeral directors themselves.

If a funeral director has taken the organisation’s helm, they will more often than not manage these third party fees for you. However, all these costs are not usually part of the funeral director’s fees and must be paid upfront by those organising the funeral for the deceased.

So what are the most common third-party fees? Those include:

Burial Fees

Burial fees are costs not included in the funeral director’s services, given the many factors involved in burying the deceased. These third-party costs will cover:

  • Burial plot
  • Preparation of the plot
  • Headstone costs
  • Council fees
  • Church fees (if service gets conducted in a place of worship)
  • Minister or officiants services

The average cost of a burial funeral in the UK today is £5,033, showcasing how it’s significantly more expensive than the overall average cost mentioned earlier in the guide.

Burying the deceased is the most costly third-party fee. It rises or falls depending on how populated the area is (e.g. higher prices in London, lower costs in rural regions).

Cremation Fees

There are many cremations in the United Kingdom because the service constitutes a less expensive third party cost than a burial. About three-quarters of UK funerals in 2021 were cremations, noting that the average cost of a cremation funeral was £3,885.

Cremation fees typically include:

  • The cremation of the deceased
  • Scattering ashes
  • Internment of ashes (placing ashes in a place of rest)
  • Delivery fees
  • Doctors fees

Officiant Costs

Officiant fees refer to the services of ministers leading the funeral or doctors performing checkups on the deceased. Ministers will often lead services in a place of worship for a modest fee. Doctors need to clear a body for burial, especially cremation.

Customised Extras

Many people will want to add additional extras to the funeral to customise the service either to the deceased’s final wishes or loved ones’ preferences. Research shows that these additional costs amount to £2,532 for those organising the funeral.

So what are these customised extra costs, and how expensive are they? See the table below that outlines typically preferred extras.

Customised Extra Cost Average Price
Memorial £1,106
Catering £450
Limousines £336
Venue Hire £282
Flowers £193
Order Sheets/ Service cards £94
Death Notice £75

Unlike some of the third-part costs, these customisable extras are optional. Funeral directors can often help source these extras or advise on external suppliers that will provide them for the funeral.

So with the breakdown of costs in mind, what can we expect to pay for the most common types of a funeral?

What’s the Average Cost of Different Types of Funerals?

There are three main funerals that directors and individuals will organise in the UK – cremations, burials, and direct cremations. We can define each by highlighting the average cost of each and the general process involved upon passing.

Cremation

The average cost of a cremation in the UK is £3,885, less expensive than a typical burial service. The main prices are the funeral director’s fees for organising cremation and the third-party fees to process and conduct the service.

The third-party fees will include:

  • Minister fees to lead the ceremony.
  • Crematorium charges for processing the deceased
  • Doctor’s fees for certification and medical checks

Cremation services around the UK usually are smaller and more intimate, thus reducing the costs without needing more elaborate arrangements to accommodate more mourners.

Burial

Burials will be the most expensive type of funeral averaging £5,033 in the UK. Funeral director’s fees and third-party costs constitute the majority of the expenses as the others.

The third-party costs are generally higher, including:

  • Burial fees (including plot and council fees)
  • Church fees
  • Officiant fees

As mentioned above, many sub-costs make up the burial fees, which drives up the price of this type of funeral. Burial costs can also greatly range between areas. Getting buried in an urban area will see fees soar instead of more rural ones.

Direct Cremation

Direct cremation is the lowest-cost option out of the three, costing an average of £1,554. The funeral minimises expenses by offering a more hassle-free, less intricate way for a farewell, performing an unattended cremation without the ceremony.

The breakdown of the direct cremation costs is as follows:

  • Transport and care of the deceased
  • Basic coffin
  • Cremation fees
  • Doctors fees
  • Hand-delivery of ashes

The cost and ease of a direct cremation are seen as an attractive option for many, allowing them to host their intimate ceremony, cutting out the hefty expense of funeral directors.

Even though there are less expensive options for funerals, the costs still may be unaffordable for many. Paying thousands of pounds upfront is understandably unfeasible. Those who want a funeral may query whether there are any options to make them cheaper.

How Can I Save on Funeral Costs?

There are a few approaches that you can take to cut down on funeral costs. We’ve listed some of the leading methods below.

1.     Compare direct cremations.

Direct cremations have the lowest average funeral cost in the UK, making them intriguing options for those on a budget. Despite the average being around £1,500, there are funeral providers that will offer the service for even lower rates.

Direct cremation is a simple farewell process, only cremating the deceased and returning the ashes to their loved ones. More people choose this option considering the cost and no complexities in organising.

That means with growing interest comes more competition. You’ll find many more direct cremation services offering rates even under £1,000.

2.     Organise an intimate family funeral yourself.

Organising a DIY funeral helps families control the costs and spend only on what’s necessary. Yes, it will take more effort to organise and possibly get complex to carry out a farewell and honour last wishes by yourself. However, it allows you to keep tabs on all the expenses.

The services of professionals and funeral directors are always available along the way should you run into obstacles. The bulk of general funeral expenses gets minimised by omitting the leading funeral directors’ services and ridding of additional costs.

3.     Minimise additional funeral costs.

Following minimising costs, what if you still want a traditional funeral? There is still the possibility that you could invest in one of the main types of a funeral but comb through and pick out the more weighting costs. If you choose burial or cremation, you can review with your funeral director to see what costs are necessary for the service.

4.     Explore prepaid funeral plans.

Prepaid funeral plans have fast become the preferred method of reducing funeral costs. These packages give persons the farewell they desire, protecting families against rising prices and offering flexible payment options.

Today, many funeral plan providers offer a broad spectrum of funeral packages that range from the most elementary to the more elaborate. Prepaid funeral plans make the desired farewell more accessible and easier to organise.

But what makes a prepaid plan that creates a funeral less expensive?

Prepaid Funeral Plans Can Help Make Funerals More Affordable

Prepaid funeral plans feature certain aspects that allow the funeral you want to have without the immediate burden of cost. Here are some factors that make prepaid funeral plans more attractive for their final wishes.

Monthly Instalments

Most funeral plan providers will offer flexible payment options, usually offering the buyer to pay either a lump sum or monthly instalments. Should the latter get chosen, you’ll find that monthly payments towards your funeral costs are very reasonable, even for the more elaborate funerals.

One of the most elite funeral packages containing a comprehensive suite of services is payable at £50.78 a month, which isn’t too burdensome on the budget but gives the farewell you want. Other funeral plan providers may provide options with much more competitive rates, depending on the tier of package you select.

Fixed at Today’s Rates

The driving factor that makes funerals so expensive is the rising costs. Without pre-planned funeral arrangements, families may need to pay the immediate upfront costs, which may be unaffordable or a tremendous financial hindrance.

Prepaid funeral plans secure your funeral at today’s rates, protecting families and loved ones from expenses and arranging beforehand. You’ll have peace of mind that your funeral will be seamless after passing.

Tailored Packages

Funeral plan providers will create a range of packages that address the most prominent concerns of securing funerals, including price, coverage, and organisation. Each plan will include services that will appeal to those looking to arrange a funeral in advance.

Prospective buyers can choose funeral plans that they can afford, ones with the most covered services, or remove the burden of organisation for the family. The packages are flexible, meaning you can customise your farewell to the desired outcome.

A prepaid plan may be the best option if the average cost is a worry.

Where Can I Learn More About Funeral Plans?

Are you considering a prepaid funeral plan? You can get more information and quotes about your desired funeral by filling out the form below. You’ll then receive an overview of the best options for funeral plans.