The Cost of a Funeral
Information on the costs involved in arranging a funeral
Funeral costs can vary depending on where you live and the kind of funeral you want for your loved one.
More and more funeral directors are providing details of funeral costs and prices on their websites.
These may include services and products that are individually priced, or fixed-price funeral packages offering some – or all – of the elements of a complete funeral.
How much does a funeral cost?
The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4,271 for a standard cremation, including the doctor, funeral director and celebrant’s fees and the cost of the cremation itself.
That’s according to Sun Life’s 2018 Cost of Dying Report, with the average cost of a standard burial £4,798 in 2018, according to the same report.
This report suggests that on average, an additional £2,061 is spent on ‘send off’ costs – covering elements including the funeral venue, flowers and additional funeral transport.
Insurer Royal London puts the average UK funeral cost at £3,757 in its 2018 National Funeral Costs Index, saying that an increase in cremation and burial fees led to an overall price rise from 2017.
Funeral costs are generally made up from three categories:
Third party fees (the cost of cremation or burial, medical certificates, celebrant fees). These unavoidable costs are known as disbursements.
- Optional costs (for example the funeral venue, type of coffins, grave markers, death notices, flowers, catering, cremation urns)
You may also be eligible for financial help with funeral costs.
What are funeral director fees?
Going through the legal process of registering a death and dealing with your loved one’s personal affairs and estate can be stressful at an already difficult time. Funeral directors support families by managing the funeral arrangements and much of the necessary paperwork, as well as the practicalities of collecting and looking after the person’s body.
Many funeral directors provide detailed information about their services and prices on their websites. It can be helpful to compare local funeral directors and read verified reviews by other families who have used their services, to help you make an informed decision when you are choosing a funeral home.
What are disbursements?
Funeral directors liaise with other service providers to arrange the cremation or burial, funeral transport, memorials, flowers, funeral venues, ceremony costs and more. These are third-party costs, also known as disbursements, which are added to the total funeral bill.
If you choose burial for your loved one, getting exclusive burial rights within a cemetery can vary between £870 and £7,200.
This can be down to a number of factors. For example, in some parts of the UK grave sites are in high demand, driving the price up. Also, there are more desirable locations within a cemetery, with those located next to a path or in a peaceful, secluded area being more highly valued.
Cremation is generally less expensive than burial, with around three in four people arranging a funeral in the UK choosing cremation.
Depending on where you are in the UK, a crematorium will charge between £500 and £900 in cremation costs, with lower rates sometimes offered for less in-demand times, such as early mornings.
The crematorium will provide a plastic urn for the ashes to be kept in, but you may want to choose a different urn if you wish to keep your loved one’s ashes at home. Similarly, if you wish to bury the ashes, special caskets are available.
You can purchase a burial plot for ashes in a cemetery with a two-person capacity for a 50-year period for between £100 to £1,700. Some larger plots capable of accommodating the cremated remains of a four people are also available.
Scattering costs can also apply, if the ashes are scattered within the cemetery or over an existing grave.
Other funeral costs
- The cost of the coffin or casket
- Use of funeral home facilities (for example the Chapel of Rest)
- Presentation of your loved one
- Administration charges
- Staff for the funeral itself (including bearers)
You may wish to have your loved one embalmed or have extra services added to the funeral that don’t come as standard with most funeral home packages. You will need to discuss these with your funeral director.
Fixed-price funeral packages
Many funeral directors offer funeral packages which include their own fees in the price. These range from budget direct cremation – where the body of the person who has died is cremated, without a funeral service – to complete traditional funerals including a coffin, hearse, funeral venue and more.
Depending on the funeral director, fixed price funeral packages may or may not include the cost of the cremation or grave. You may want to check whether a funeral package includes these disbursements – or whether they will be additional costs to factor in, along with local authority fees.
*Children's burial and cremation costs
Across England and Wales, the cost of a child’s cremation or burial at local authority-owned cemeteries and crematoria is now waived, with some local authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland also no longer charging a fee.
Local authority fees
Before a cremation can take place, two certificates need to be issued – the Certificate of Medical Attendant (Form 4) and the Confirmatory Medical Certificate (Form CR5). Each form will need to be certified by a different doctor. This generally costs £82 each, under guidelines set out by the British Medical Association (2015) but can occasionally vary. On rare occasions, a voluntary post-mortem examination is carried out by the hospital, which results in the bereaved only paying for one of these fees.
The Death Certificate costs £11 in England and Wales, £8 in Northern Ireland and £10 in Scotland, if they are purchased at the time you register the death. Copies may cost more, if you order them at a later date.
Below is a list of services that are not typically included in funeral director packages:
- Cremation fees
- Burial fees
- Doctors’ fees (death certification)
- A funeral celebrant to perform the service
- Funeral flowers
- Death notice/obituary
- Funeral notice in newspaper
- Additional limousine
- Order sheets
- Catering for the wake
- Venue hire for the wake
Additional costs will need to be factored in if you are planning to repatriate your loved one for a funeral overseas. These expenses are even more difficult to predict, as paperwork and procedures need to be undertaken in the UK and the destination country and costs can vary. Many people choose a funeral director that specialises in repatriations and can arrange for what needs to be done in both countries.
If you are concerned about being able to afford your loved one’s funeral, financial help with funeral costs is available.