A simples guide

Cost and expenses of paying for a funeral

No one likes to think about what happens after they’re gone. But sometimes it’s just better to get it all out in the open and talk about it – after all, shouldn’t we prepare for it? So rather than beat about the bush, here’s a straightforward guide to the cost of a funeral so you can help your loved ones plan for the future.


So how much is a funeral nowadays?

Funerals aren’t just about saying goodbye, they’re a celebration of life and typically, if you use a funeral director to take care of the fundamentals, it will set you back on average £3,702 according to the Money Advice Service. If we’re being honest, it’s probably a bit more than you were expecting and this is just the basics. Also you need to remember that funeral expenses can vary significantly by location so you could expect to pay up to twice the average in London.

What are the typical expenses for a funeral?

A key factor will be what sort of funeral you decide on having e.g. cremation or burial. Depending on your choice you’ll need to factor in costs for transportation, a ceremony and then a burial or cremation plot. If you simply want to take the stress out of all the arrangements, then you might want to use the services of a funeral director.

Funeral directors can be costly – with a cremation, their fees are usually more than 70% of the total cost and with a burial it’s about 55%. A typical burial using a funeral director will cost you on average £4,100; for a cremation the average is £3,300. This will include care and transportation of the deceased as well as a simple ceremony.

Funerals don’t have to be organised by a funeral director, you can of course plan and organise a funeral independently for a loved one. It does mean you’ll have to consider everything though such as transportation to the crematorium, organising a ceremony as well the dealing with the leasing of the burial plot or crematorium fees.

Can the state help with paying funeral expenses?

In some circumstances they can – the Funeral payment scheme which is a bit like a loan, is available for people who receive certain benefits but it won’t usually cover the cost of the entire funeral. If there’s any money remaining from the deceased’s estate, you’ll usually have to pay the government back for the costs. However, you won’t need to pay it back if only personal possessions remain and if a house left is still occupied by a spouse.

Local councils can sometimes organise public health funerals for those with no family or friends or if there is no money in the deceased’s estate to pay for one.



Can my life insurance pay for my funeral?

It can and it’s a good way of making sure that the burden of cost doesn’t fall on those you leave behind. Life insurance can give your family either a lump sum or monthly payments (depending on your policy) in the event of you passing away. If you organise your life insurance well in advance it doesn’t have to be expensive either because the cost tends to go up the older you get.

There are two main types of life insurance policy – term life insurance and whole of life policies. Term life insurance is usually fixed for an agreed time period such as five, ten or 25 years. If you live long and prosper and survive your policy period, you won’t get a pay-out sadly (but it does mean that you’re still around to celebrate your longevity). A whole of life policy is what it sounds like – it’ll pay out whenever it’s time for you to knock on those pearly gates, you just won’t be able to compare it with us.

There’s also over 50s policies designed to cater for the funeral cover you need.

Ok – I’m interested in term life insurance, what’s next?

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