Funeral costs in the UK

how much are funeral costs

Funeral costs in the UK currently average £4,271, however this average cost depends on whether it’s a cremation or burial funeral. For a cremation, the average funeral cost is currently £3,858 whereas for a burial, the average cost is £4,975.

In this guide we look at what these average funeral costs include, who is responsible for paying them and how much funeral costs are in your area.

How much does a funeral cost in the UK in 2020?

In 2020, the average UK funeral costs almost £4,500; an 130% increase over 15 years. Burials, which account for 23% of funerals remain the most expensive option, having risen by 65% over the last decade. Cremations funeral costs are lower however have also risen by 58% over the same period.

The cost of a funeral doesn’t just depend on whether you choose cremation or burial though. It also depends on where you live, as funerals costs vary by region.

UK funeral costs by region

The cost of a funeral varies throughout the UK. As you may expect, London is the most expensive area when it comes to paying for a funeral however other regions are rising at a faster rate.

According to the Sunlife’s 2020 Cost of Dying report, funeral costs in the South East, Midlands and Wales all increased by over 9% between 2018 and 2019. A huge difference compared to the average national increase of 3.4%.

table of regional costs;

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 is the average funeral cost for a cremation?

The average cost of a cremation funeral in the UK in 2020 is £3,858. This cost includes the funeral director’s fees, cremation fees and third party costs. Direct cremation costs are cheaper, however these don’t include a hearse, limousines or a service, as typically this type of funeral is unattended.    

What is the average funeral cost for a burial?

The average cost of a burial funeral in the UK in 2020 is £4,975. In addition to the funeral director’s fees and third party costs, this average also includes burial fees and the burial plot. However burial plot prices and availability vary hugely depending on where you live.

What are the funeral director costs?

Funeral director’s costs in the UK currently average £2,687. These costs include collection and care of the deceased, administration, viewing, the coffin, hearse, funeral cars for family 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?

Third party funeral costs comprise of those essential services not provided by the funeral director. This includes the cremation or burial fees, the minister or celebrant’s fees which currently average £169 and the doctor’s charges. Doctor’s fees are only required for some cremations but if required, cost around £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.

Can I get help with funeral costs?

Help with funeral costs is available through the government’s funeral payment scheme. This funeral expense payment is for people on low incomes claiming certain benefits. Whilst it doesn’t cover all costs, the funeral payment can help with cremation or burial fees, transportation of the deceased and death certificates.

In addition, the funeral payment also provides up to £1,000 for additional funeral expenses such as the funeral director fees, flowers or the coffin.

Help with funeral costs is also available through the Bereavement Support Payment. This allowance is for bereaved spouses or civil partners under the state pension age. If eligible you receive a one-off bereavement support payment, plus 18 monthly payments, the rates for which depend on whether you have dependent children.  

Funeral costs 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 most expensive part of a funeral?

The most expensive part of a funeral is often the funeral director’s costs. However how expensive a funeral is will also depend on things like the coffin, transportation and burial plot prices.   

Who pays for a funeral if there is no money?

If there is no money to pay for a 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 cremations with a short service for people to 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.

Is the next of kin responsible for funeral costs in the UK?

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.

Do the DWP pay for funerals?

The government’s funeral payment scheme can help people on low incomes claiming certain benefits with funeral expenses.

What is a pauper’s funeral?

A pauper’s funeral is a funeral that is paid for by the local council. Thankfully the term pauper’s funeral is no longer used, having been replaced by the public health funeral.

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