The Cost of a Funeral

Information on the costs involved in arranging a funeral

Last updated: 1 September 2017

After you have registered your loved one’s death, arrangements will then need to be made for the funeral. At this point you may be thinking about funeral costs.

How much is a funeral?

Funeral costs vary depending on your location, the circumstance of the death and your requirements for the funeral.

The average cost of a funeral with a traditional burial is £4,257 and the average cost of a funeral with cremation is £3,311 (according to the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2017). This will, of course, vary depending on specific choices and circumstances.

These funeral costs can be separated into three categories:

  • Funeral director fees
  • Third-party costs (for example the costs of cremation or burial, gravesites, transport, venue booking, ceremony costs)
  • Local authority fees

You may also be eligible for financial help with funeral costs.

Funeral director fees

The value of investing in the experience and support of a registered funeral director cannot be underestimated. Managing all of the funeral arrangements, going through the legal process of registering a death and dealing with your loved one’s personal affairs and estate can add additional stress to what is already a very difficult time.

Compare funeral directors now and read independent customer reviews to help you make an informed decision when choosing a funeral home.

Third-party costs

Funeral directors can alleviate the stress of managing most of the arrangements associated with the funeral. The services that a funeral director will offer will vary from each provider, although most offer assistance with third-party arrangements such as cremation and burial, grave site purchases, transport, memorials, booking of venues, ceremony costs and more.

Burial costs

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 costs

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 an ashes gravesite 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 third-party costs

  • The cost of the coffin or casket
  • Professional services (including liaisons with third parties)
  • Funeral home facilities (for example the Chapel of Rest)
  • Presentation of your loved one
  • Hearse/Limousines
  • 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.

Below is a list of services that are not typically included in funeral director packages:

Local authority fees

Before 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 £4 in England and Wales, £8 in Northern Ireland and £10 in Scotland, if purchased at the time you register the death. Copies will cost more, when you order them at a later date.

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.