Funeral costs are much more expensive that you’d think. This often takes friends and relatives of the deceased by surprise. It’s a nasty shock to receive – especially at a time of loss, grief and mourning. That’s why so many UK residents have decided to plan ahead for their own funerals. What’s also helpful is knowing that there are multiple options.
When preparing for the inevitable, it’s helpful to understand how much it is going to cost – and whether or not you can actually foot the bill. Most people don’t want to leave the expenses of their passing to their family (which can easily rack up to thousands of pounds).
What is the average funeral cost?
According to recent figures, a full funeral (which includes the use of a funeral director) costs £4,078 on average. However, this average does vary throughout the UK. Location in particular has an effect: funerals in London are nearly double the standard price than anywhere else in the UK.
Of course, the £4,078 pertains only to a full funeral. Costs for alternatives like direct cremation are usually cheaper. You can expect to pay £1,600 on average, for example. One of the main reasons for this is that you can arrange a ceremony yourself.
A further breakdown of funeral costs
You can understand expenses better by taking a look at a quick breakdown of funeral costs.
- Direction cremation, which involves collecting the deceased, a basic coffin, cremation and returning the ashes to relatives/friends. This averages at £1,600.
- Cremation plus use of a funeral director includes all of the above, in addition to a hearse and managing a simple service. Elaborate ceremonies, however, are not included. This averages at £3,311.
- Burial plus the use of a funeral director is the same as the second point, but instead of cremation the deceased is buried. This averages at £4,257.
You could consider the above to be basic funeral costs. More elaborate ceremonies will obviously cost more. Coffins, for example can command anywhere from £100 to £10,000. That is also not to forget extra fees, such as a plot of land in a cemetery.
Funeral directors are the most expensive element, which is why direct cremation is often the cheapest option. For example, funeral directors’ fees can make up over 69% of a funeral that involves cremation and 53% of one that involves burial. It makes on average a cost of £2,411.
With directors, funeral costs are higher because they often provide a coffin, hearse and even a limousine.
Additional costs to keep in mind
With funerals, there are also what are known as “disbursement costs”. This is essentially a term for the fees you pay to the third party which is involved in either burying or cremating the body. If you use a funeral director, they normally manage these costs for you.
This average cost of burials, for example, is £1,847. For cremation, you can expect to pay £755. With cremation you’ll also need a medical referee’s certificate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) which costs around £164. If you’re using an officiant or member of the clergy, a fee of £156 is standard.
There are also what are known as optional funeral costs. For example…
- In addition to burial costs, headstones can be quite expensive at £916 on average.
- If you decide to hold a ceremony somewhere, you can expect £444 on average for catering and £397 for hiring a venue (with flowers costing around £149).
- Other optional funeral costs can include ordering service sheets (£63), a death notice/obituary (£72), funeral notice (£85) and an urn for ashes (£30).