How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Talking about death is never easy, but if you want to make sure that your loved ones are financially protected and your funeral is paid for when you pass away, it is, unfortunately, something that you will need to start thinking about.

But how much does it all cost?

In this guide, we use the latest data from SunLife’s Cost of Dying Report 2021 to give you a breakdown of the total cost of dying, including the average price of a funeral in the UK and other associated expenses, in order to give you an idea as to the potential costs involved overall. 

We also explain the options available to you that will help you financially prepare, giving you the peace of mind you and your loved ones need.

The total cost of dying in the UK

According to SunLife’s latest report, the cost of dying in the UK is now £9,263 on average (based on research carried out in 2020). In 2019, it was £9,192, so it has since increased by 0.8%.

While this figure may seem very high, there are many different costs involved that you’ll need to consider, mainly:

  • The price of the funeral
  • Professional fees
  • Send-off costs

The price is also an average figure, so it’s important to remember that the cost can differ significantly depending on the location, the type of funeral you have and any extra personal requests.

This is where you will need to break down all costs and really consider your personal wishes.

A breakdown of the cost of dying

According to SunLife’s report, the below services are involved in the total cost of death. Not all prices are provided, however, so you will need to carry out some research to compare funeral costs near you.

Funeral costs UK

  • Death/medical certificate from doctor
  • Burial fees (or cremation/direct cremation fees)
  • Funeral director fees
  • Minister (otherwise known as celebrant)

Professional fees (probate services, etc)

Send-off costs

  • Death and funeral notices: Between £75 and £86
  • Cars, limousines: £336
  • Venue: £282
  • Flowers: £193
  • Order sheets: £94
  • Memorial: £1,016
  • Catering + wake: £450

As you can see, there are many things to consider when arranging the death of a loved one, so it is very beneficial to have plans in place to cover all of these costs.

Of course, you may choose not to have all of the above services in order to make it a lot cheaper, but bear in mind that many people often regret not having small sentimental gestures like flowers, so having a plan in place will mean that you can have a true, meaningful send-off that’s personal to you.

There are other ways you can save on costs; SunLife states that 49% of funeral directors reported that more and more people are using social media tools like Facebook to inform people of a loved one’s death, which of course saves you from having to pay for a death and funeral notice.

How much does a funeral cost?

SunLife’s statistics show that today, on average, the cost of a UK funeral is £4,184.

There isn’t a huge difference between the average cost in 2019, which was £4,115, but SunLife predicts that the cost will continue to rise to a much higher £5,033 in five years’ time.

Again, this is an estimate based on statistics and the true cost will completely depend on where you intend on having a funeral, personal requests and the type of funeral you choose to have.

Here are the three main types of funerals in the UK and the average cost of each (according to SunLife):

  • Funeral with burial: £5,033
  • Funeral with cremation: £3,885
  • Direct cremation: £1,554

A direct cremation is relatively new, but they are becoming increasingly popular particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation simply refers to a cremation without a funeral and without mourners. For this reason, it is the cheapest option and also the easiest for people who are unable to attend a funeral due to local lockdown and social distancing measures.

It is, of course, up to family members and loved ones if they want to arrange a wake to celebrate the deceased’s life afterwards, provided it is in line with any current social distancing measures or local lockdown rules.

How to pay for a funeral

We understand that the above costs may have you worried or concerned about your loved ones being able to afford to have a send-off for you when the time comes, but thankfully, there are steps you can take now to ensure they don’t struggle at an already difficult time.

SunLife’s report shows that 65% of people surveyed have already put plans in place for their funeral, meaning that their loved ones won’t have to find the money to pay for it - instead, they can focus on grieving for their loss. This figure has increased by 2% since 2019, which could be due to the fact that Covid-19 has forced many more people to consider their own mortality. 

There are still, however, a lot of people that do not have plans in place, which puts their loved ones financially at risk.

Here are some of the ways in which you can prepare to help your loved ones pay for the costs:

  • Savings
  • Borrowed money (from a friend or family member)
  • Investments
  • Funeral plan (pre-paid)
  • Pay a funeral director via monthly payments
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Standard life insurance
  • Credit card
  • Get help from the government
  • Get a loan
  • Sell personal possessions

By having savings in place or some type of plan, you will always have peace of mind that when you pass away, your loved ones won’t have anything to worry about financially regarding the cost of your funeral and all other associated costs.

The importance of making a will

Another important thing to consider is making a will. By having your own legally-binding will in place, you are able to state your exact wishes for your funeral and your estate (money, possessions, property etc), i.e. how it will be shared out upon your death.

By having a legally-valid will, your loved ones will know exactly what to plan for your funeral, based on your personal preferences stated in the will, and they’ll know exactly where to get the money from to cover the costs, whether it’s to come from a life insurance policy or savings.

Covid-19 and funerals

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of life and it has had a significant impact on the funeral industry, as restrictions and social distancing measures have not allowed people to have a funeral like they normally would have.

Millions of people in the UK have also been struggling financially since the outbreak and as a result, more and more people are choosing direct funerals due to Covid rules and a lack of money.

SunLife reports that around 34% of people they questioned said that a funeral had caused them to worry about their financial situation and being able to afford it. This again reinforces the importance of putting plans in place to prepare for the future.

At Unite Wills, we can help. We offer professional will-writing services online, allowing you to write it in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. If you want to start putting plans together now to protect your loved ones and your future, simply tap the button below to register with us for free and to get started. 

Alternatively, read our related guides for more advice and information.