How much does a UK funeral cost in 2023?
UK funeral costs now average £3,953, however funeral prices vary depending on where you live. Ranging from £5,283 in London to £3,317 in Northern Ireland, location will play a part in the price you pay. As will the type of funeral you choose and whether you opt for cremation or burial.
What are the basic costs of a funeral?
The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,953 which includes cremation or burial fees, the funeral director’s services, doctor’s fees and the minister or celebrant.
According SunLife’s cost of dying report 2023, funeral costs have dropped by 2.5% over the last 12 months, however, historically costs have risen above the rate of inflation.
Is it cheaper to be buried or cremated?
Cremation is the more popular and cheapest type of funeral service, accounting for around 75% of funerals. Burials, the most expensive option accounts for the remaining 25%.
Approximately a quarter of cremations are direct cremations, which is a cremation without a funeral service. This low cost funeral option offers a simple fuss free alternative to a traditional cremation at a fraction of the price.
Average cost of cremation and burial funerals
- Burial - £4,794
- Cremation - £3,673
- Direct cremation - £1,511
Breakdown of additional funeral expenses
In addition to basic funeral costs, there are the additional funeral expenses to consider that cover more personal wishes such as the wake, memorial and flowers. Now averaging £2,669 these costs can include:
- Memorial - £1,064
- Limousine hire - £353
- Venue hire £312
- Catering £467
- Order of service - £105
- Flowers - £210
- Death notices - £77
Finally, there are the professional fees for administering the estate which currently average £2,669. This means the total costs of dying in 2023, including average basic funeral costs and additional funeral expenses is £9,200.
10 top tips for saving money on funeral costs
- A prepaid funeral plan could save you money if prices rise as you pay at today's prices
- Cremation tend to be cheaper than burials
- Have the cremation at a cheaper time of day
- Choose a direct cremation with no service to pay for
- Opt for a simple coffin
- Go easy on flowers or dispense with them altogether
- Limit transport to the hearse only
- Don’t have order of service cards
- Shop around and compare prices
- Have the wake at home
Is it best to pay for your funeral in advance?
Whether it is best to pay for your funeral in advance will depend on your personal circumstances. Paying for a funeral can be expensive and may cause some families financial hardship. Arranging and paying for your funeral in advance could remove some of this burden, making life that bit easier. There are several ways this can be achieved; with savings, a prepaid funeral plan, funeral cover or over 50 life insurance.
The following information explains how each option can make paying for your funeral in advance simple, straightforward and stress-free.
Savings or an ISA
Using an ISA or saving money on a monthly basis to pay for a funeral is an option, however you may need to be disciplined as there is always the risk you spend the money on other things. Also, the interest rates on savings accounts are low compared to how much funeral costs have risen, so you would need to keep your pot of cash topped up.
Paying from your estate
If you feel there are sufficient funds in your property, you may prefer your funeral costs to be paid for out of your estate. Your family may need to pay for these services before your estate is settled, so it could be worth taking this into consideration before choosing this option.
Prepaid funeral plans
A prepaid funeral plan lets you arrange and pay for your funeral at today’s prices. The costs are frozen which means they will avoid future inflation, and you can choose the type of funeral you prefer.
As well as removing some of the financial worry of paying for a funeral from your family, a funeral plan could also help relieve the pressure of having to arrange your funeral.
Like prepaid plans, funeral cover gurantees your funeral services in advance, however your family has the option to either use the services in the plan when the time comes, or take a cash sum if they prefer.
Over 50 life insurance
Over 50 life insurance pays out a cash sum when you die that could help with funeral costs, which is why they are often referred to as funeral insurance. Plans start from as little as £3.70 a month which may appeal to those who prefer to keep to a smaller monthly budget.
Help with funeral costs
Help with funeral costs is available through the government with the funeral expenses payment . To apply, you need to be on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits. The money paid out by the funeral payment scheme is insufficient to cover all funeral costs but will help with cremation or burial fees, and possibly some additional fees like the funeral director.
Who pays for a funeral if there is no money?
The family or executor of the will is usually responsible for paying funeral costs, which can be reclaimed from the deceased’s estate where possible. If there is no money to pay for funeral costs, your local authority has a legal duty to provide a public health funeral.
Public health funerals typically consist of a simple cremation, arranged by the local authority that family and friends can attend.