How much does a burial service cost?
Unfortunately pricey burial plot costs and interment fees tend to make burial funerals more expensive than cremation. The average cost of a burial service in the UK is currently £4,798 however this varies significantly based on where you live. For example in London, you could expect to pay around £7,538 whereas in Northern Ireland, burial costs are much lower at £3,240.
When paying for a burial funeral, fees will include the following:
- The funeral directors fees
- The third party charges which includes the burial costs and the ministers fees
- The burial plot and headstone (new or the removal and update of an existing headstone)
- Personal wishes such as flowers and the reception or wake
Whilst funeral directors costs are similar for burial or cremation, the greatest variance tends to be burial costs, which includes the interment fees and burial plot, currently averaging £2,174. Then of course on top of that there may be additional expense if a memorial headstone is required.
When looking at the cost of the burial plot which can range from £280 to £5,000, it is important to understand what services are included and whether there are any added extras such as the upkeep of the grave and / or cemetery. Some plot prices also include the interment fee however usually these charges will be separate.
Once you have paid for the funeral directors costs, burial fees and sorted out your plot, there are the more personal wishes you may like to add such as flowers, order of service cards and the reception or wake, however these services can of course be tailored depending on your requirements and budget.
How do you buy a burial plot?
When you buy a burial plot you are actually buying a lease, usually of between 25 to 100 years known as the ‘Exclusive right of burial’ which can be renewed when it is about to expire.
Depending on where you would like to be buried, the cemetery may either be owned by the church or local council. Your choice of cemetery may be dictated by whether you would like a religious or non religious service but also by availability, as space for burial plots these days can be fairly limited.
Some councils will let you purchase a burial plot in advance which could be important if you have your mind set on a particular cemetery, whereas others will only let you do it at the time of need. It is also worth mentioning that if you are a resident, prices may be cheaper compared to those for non-residents.
When choosing a plot, it is also important to think about who you want to be buried there in the long term as single, joint and triple plots are available.
What happens at a burial service?
Usually prior to the actual burial, a funeral service will take place in a church or separate venue. A shorter service will then be held at the grave side when the coffin is lowered into the ground. Traditionally mourners are then given the opportunity to either scatter soil onto the coffin or throw flowers into the grave.
Woodland Burial Services
In our efforts to be more environmentally friendly, people throughout the UK are now considering woodland burial as a green alternative to the traditional funeral.
With a number of woodland burial sites situated throughout the country, plots can vary by region or location within the site. Your choice of coffin will be limited to biodegradable eco coffins such as wicker, bamboo or pine and no memorial headstones are allowed. Instead depending on your chosen woodland burial site, you may be allowed to plant either a flower or tree.
Burial Funeral Plans
As mentioned, many burial funeral plans are prepaid plans that can be used for either cremation or burial however this does vary so it is important to read the small print.
Usually a burial funeral plan will include a full guarantee for the funeral directors services and then an allowance of between £940 to £1,220 for the third party costs, which includes the actual burial or interment fees and the minister or officiant’s fees for conducting the service.
How you can use this allowance is important as some companies restrict its use just to the aforementioned fees, whereas other companies like Dignity give you flexibility to use it towards other services such as purchasing the burial plot.
Also with many companies, any excess allowance that isn’t used is lost, whereas again with Dignity, if there is any money remaining, it is actually paid back to the family or estate.
The allowance increases in line with either RPI, CPI or the trust fund (again depending on the provider) so it does grow over time however if when the time comes the burial costs are higher, any balance would need to be paid for by the person arranging the funeral.
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