Funeral costs in the UK

how much are funeral costs

At almost £4,500, funeral costs in the UK have risen by 130% over the last 15 years. Based on current projections, by 2024 funeral prices could rise to as much as £5,285 and that’s just the basic funeral costs, whereas in 2004 you would have expected to pay just £1,920.

In this guide we look at the different types of funeral expenses and how much you should expect to pay for a funeral in the UK.

How much does the average funeral cost?

The average cost of a funeral in the UK according to the Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2020 is £4,417. That’s £3,858 for a cremation funeral and £4,975 for a burial. These average funeral costs include the funeral director’s charges, cremation or burial fees and the doctor and officiant’s fees.   

On top of these basic funeral expenses, you also need to factor in additional more personal items such as the wake, flowers and memorial plus fees for administrating the estate where relevant.

Breakdown of funeral costs

This breakdown of funeral costs highlights on average what you could expect to pay of a funeral in the UK in 2020. Prices vary depending on the type of funeral, where you live and the services you include.

  • Basic funeral costs (funeral director and 3rd party costs) - £4,417
  • Additional funeral expenses – £2,306
  • Professional fees for administering the estate - £2,771

This means the total cost of dying in the UK is now £9,493.

What are the funeral director costs?

Funeral director costs cover all aspects of arranging and implementing the funeral service and currently average £2,687. This includes collection and care of the deceased, administration, use of their funeral home facilities, the coffin, hearse, funeral cars for family if required and services on the day.

The funeral director will also liaise with third parties and provide support for the family throughout the process.

What are the 3rd party funeral costs?

3rd party funeral costs are essential costs that are beyond the control of the funeral director. These include the cremation or burial fees, the minister or celebrant’s charges for carrying out the funeral service and doctor’s fees where appropriate.

Cremation and burial fees vary depending on where you live however the average cost of the minister or officiant is £169 and doctor’s fees where required currently average £164.

What are the additional funeral expenses?

Additional funeral expenses are the services you choose as optional extras that personalise the service such as:

  • Memorial - £910
  • Limousine hire - £313
  • Wake, including venue hire and catering - £653
  • Order of service - £88
  • Flowers - £184
  • Death notices - £82

What are the professional fees?

Professional fees for administrating the estate may be necessary if probate is required, however this all depends on whether you decide to do it yourself or use the services of an expert.

For more information look at our guide to probate.

Planning for the future

As funeral prices continue to rise, planning for the future is important if you want to remove the financial pressure from your family. Saving is one solution however other options are available such as funeral plans or over 50 life insurance.  

For more information on what you can do to plan for the future, look at our guide on ‘how to pay for a funeral’.

Funeral Calculator

The funeral calculator is designed to help you understand how much a funeral could cost in years to come. It also highlights the benefit of paying with a prepaid funeral plan versus using your savings.

Just use the sliders below to confirm your current age and an estimate of how long you think you might live and the funeral calculator will do the rest.

Your age:
Your guesstimate of how long you will live:

Average cost of a prepaid funeral plan today is £3,750

The amount £3,750 will have grown to at 1.5% AER in a savings account
Cost of a funeral based on funeral inflation for the last 10 years at 4.7%
The amount you could save your family if you buy a prepaid plan today
According to Sunlife the average cost of a funeral in 2019 was £4,417
Note: Graph visuals are representative. Accurate figures and savings are provided

Frequently asked questions

What is the average cost of a funeral today?

The average cost of a funeral in the UK today is £4,417. Burials are more expensive at £4,975 whereas the average cost of cremation is currently £3,858.

Who is responsible for funeral costs?

The family or the executor of the estate is usually responsible for funeral costs however they are entitled to claim the money back from the deceased’s estate once settled.

Will the bank release funds for a funeral?

The bank will usually release funds for a funeral on receipt of the death certificate and an invoice of funeral prices from the funeral director, however this isn’t guaranteed.

What happens when a family can’t afford a funeral?

If the family can not afford the funeral, the local authority has a legal duty to provide a small, dignified service, known as a Public Health Funeral.

Public Health Funerals are usually cremation with a short service that people can attend. The date and time of the service is chosen by the local authority and there are no extras such as viewing, flowers, cars or notices.

Can I get help with funeral costs?

Help with funeral costs is available through the government’s funeral payment scheme for people on low incomes, claiming certain benefits. It doesn’t cover all costs, however the funeral payment plan can help with cremation or burial fees and provide up to £700 for additional expenses such as the funeral director.

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