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How much does a funeral cost?

On average, the cost for a burial is £4,383 and £3,290 for a cremation. There are lots of things to think about and decide when arranging a funeral. Find out a breakdown of the costs and a few ways to help you plan a good but affordable funeral.

Things to consider

You might be arranging a funeral while coping with grief and feeling you must act quickly, and with little or no recent experience. Some people have strong ideas about what a funeral should be like and what a good send-off should be.

It’s worth considering the following points:

  • Choose a funeral that’s affordable and is right for the person who’s died. It’s unlikely that they would want you to get yourself into debt to pay for the funeral or feel stressed about the finances. It’s not wrong or disrespectful to think about the costs.
  • Get at least two quotes, perhaps from an independent funeral director and one from a chain. Many people choose to use a funeral director and they can give helpful guidance. But be aware that they’re a business and their fees can be the most expensive part of a funeral.
  • More expensive options don’t make a better funeral. As well as the type of funeral and which funeral director you might use, optional extras affect the cost. Words, music and actions can be more meaningful than expensive cars and coffins.
  • If you’re worried about the cost of a funeral, or think that you might struggle to pay for it, read our guide Help paying for a funeral for some advice.
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Average cost of a funeral

Recent figures show that a funeral using a funeral director costs, on average, £3,837*.

This cost can vary quite a bit, depending on location and the funeral arrangements. For example, quotes in London can vary as much as £2,315. But it is possible to have a meaningful funeral for a lot less.

For example, you could have a ‘direct cremation’ – which costs about £1,500 – and then organise a ceremony at home. Or you could even arrange the funeral yourself.

*Source: Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2020.

Type of funeral
Average cost*
Includes

Direct cremation

£1,554

Collecting the deceased, a simple coffin, and returning the ashes.

Cremation using a funeral director

£3,290

Collection and care of the deceased, a basic coffin, hearse and managing a simple service; but doesn’t include an elaborate ceremony. Also includes cremation fees, and fee for cremation certificate from a doctor.

Burial using a funeral director

£4,383

Collection and care of the deceased, a basic coffin, hearse and managing a simple service; but doesn’t include an elaborate ceremony. Also includes cremation fees and minister fees.

 

English region and UK nations
Cost of a simple cremation
Cost of a simple burial

London

£3,272

£7,259

South East England

£3,328

£4,831

South West England

£3,351

£4,857

East of England

£3,351

£4,857

Wales

£3,189

£4,149

West Midlands

£3,363

£4,750

East Midlands

£3,356

£3,744

North West England

£3,159

£4,170

Yorkshire and the Humber

£3,321

£4,112

North East England

£3,261

£4,122

Scotland

£3,160

£4,030

Belfast

£2,863

£3,061

Using a funeral director

A funeral director can help make it easier for you to arrange a funeral, giving you time to grieve.

But this is likely to mean a more expensive funeral.

How much is a funeral director?

The funeral director’s fees can be the most expensive part of a funeral, in many cases making up between 50-66% of the costs.*

If you use a funeral director, they’ll collect, store, prepare and deliver the body to the cemetery or crematorium.

They’ll also ensure the necessary forms for cremation or burial are completed, and some will also arrange a simple ceremony as part of their fee.

They’ll also provide a coffin, hearse and usually a limousine.

But these items can quickly add up, depending on what you pick.

For example, the price of a coffin can be as little as £100 to as much as £10,000.

If price is a concern, ask your local funeral director if they offer a simple funeral or a direct cremation.

*Source: Data in based on the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2018.

How to find a funeral director

It’s important not to choose the first one you find. Call around and get at least two quotes before you decide on one that’s best for you.

It’s also worth considering using a local independent funeral director. They’re usually cheaper than a national chain.

Use these sites to find a local funeral director. Make sure you check more than one site as the prices will vary and none are whole of market, so results vary by sites.

To compare the price of your local funeral directors, you could also use the Funeral Choice website

You can refine the results by changing your search area. The prices shown don’t include the cremation or burial fee.

Third-party costs (disbursement costs)

Third-party costs, also known as ‘disbursement costs’, are the fees you must pay to a third party to either bury or cremate the body.

If you’re using a funeral director, they’re likely to manage this payment for you – but they’ll probably ask for this money up front.

Costs can vary a lot depending on your choices. For example, a cremation is normally cheaper even if you’re using a funeral director.

However, burial costs vary enormously up and down the country – with a new grave costing from just over £550 in Belfast, to over £4,700 in the London and Brighton areas.

Item
Average cost*

Burial fees

£2,076

Cremation fees, medical referee’s certificate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (only applies for cremation), clergy/officiant

£835, £168

The burial fee usually covers the lease of a burial plot, and the digging and filling of the grave.

There’s also a fee to use the crematorium to cremate the body.

Before you decide on a cemetery or crematorium, there are a few things to bear in mind which might affect the final cost:

  • There’s sometimes a big price difference in having a funeral in one crematorium or cemetery to another just a few miles apart. So it’s good idea to check both your local and surrounding areas to compare the cost and find the best one for you.
  • Ask if the cemetery has ‘non-resident charges’. These are extra charges for cremating or burying a person who didn’t live in the district or borough.
  • There’s also usually a separate charge to keep a grave clean and tidy. This is normally paid every year. Before you decide which cemetery to use, check how much this is.
  • Sometimes, there’s a separate charge to use the cemetery or crematorium to conduct the funeral service. Check to see if this is included in the burial or cremation fees.

The third-party costs might also include fees for specific services.

For example, doctor’s fees to certify the death, a member of the clergy to perform the funeral service, or an officiant to lead a non-religious service.

If you’re using a funeral director to arrange the funeral, the third-party costs are sometimes included in their funeral package.

Most funeral directors will ask you to pay for the disbursement costs before the funeral.

It’s important to check the quote they give before you agree to use them.

Optional costs

There are many items and services that you can add to a funeral. Each item, however, costs money.

The more you add, the more expensive the funeral becomes.

And you could very easily end up adding an extra £1,976* or more to the final bill.

Think carefully about whether these items and services are needed in the funeral.

If you feel they’re needed, shop around and see if you can get them for less.

Item
Average cost*

Memorial headstone or plaque

£1,016

Catering

£450

Limousine

£336

Venue hire

£282

Flowers

£193

Fee to return the ashes (only applies to direct cremation)

£62

Funeral notice

£86

Death notice or obituary

£75

Order of service sheets

£94

Urn

From £30

Death certificate copies (several copies are needed for probate)

From £11 per copy

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How to reduce the cost of a funeral

There’s no need to feel pressured to spend a lot of money or get yourself into debt, just to show your affection and respect.

You can have a funeral that’s dignified and meaningful without having to spend a huge amount of money.

A cremation usually costs less than a burial. As is arranging the funeral yourself, instead of using a funeral director.

But there are some ways to other reduce the cost of a funeral regardless of these choices:

Shop around

Funeral costs can vary a lot. While you might find it difficult, it’s important to compare prices and services.
Get a quote from more than one funeral director, caterer or florist – so you can compare prices. You can then choose one that fits your budget.

Ask family and friends

Instead of paying for a caterer, for example, ask family and friends to bring food to the wake. You could also ask them to help you check for cheaper options.

Charity collection and memorial

Buying and maintaining a headstone or memorial plaque can be expensive. Instead, you can create an online memorial where family and friends can donate to a charity in memory of the deceased.

Fundraising platforms, such as JustGiving, offer a charity online memorial indefinitely.

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Time of day of a cremation, and who you use

Choosing a cheaper slot, if available, such as an early morning or a weekday slot can also lower the cost. You could also pick a council-run crematorium, which is usually cheaper than a private one. The facilities and decor however might be a bit basic, so you might want to check it out beforehand.

Type of coffin

There’s nothing in the law that states you have to use a coffin. You can use a shroud instead. Don’t feel pressured into picking an expensive coffin or shroud if you’re working with a limited budget.

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Natural burial

You might want to consider a natural burial ground, such as a woodland. These are often much cheaper than a traditional cemetery, which can be very expensive. Traditional cemeteries also charge ‘non-resident’ fees if the person who died didn’t live in the area. To find a natural burial ground, visit the Natural Death Centre website

Body donation

Many people can apply to donate their body to medical schools for training healthcare professionals or for research. But be aware that the body won’t always be accepted as it will depend on the requirements of the individual medical schools, the circumstances of the death and the conditions from which the person has died.

If donation isn’t possible, other funeral arrangements will need to be arranged.

Schools might hold a memorial or funeral service, but there’s often a delay of two to three years before it takes place. Some medical schools will request a contribution towards transporting costs.

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Help paying for a funeral

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What is a ‘direct cremation’ or a ‘cremation without a ceremony’?

Direct cremation is offered by some companies – where the body is collected from a mortuary during normal working hours and cremated at a convenient time.

It’s sometimes known as a ‘cremation without a ceremony’

There’s usually no viewing or ceremony beforehand, or a limousine for the family and mourners.

If you want to have the ashes afterwards, make sure you ask for them. You usually need to collect them, but some might deliver for a charge.

This then leaves you to hold a ceremony, if you want, at a time and place of your choosing.

How much is it?

We suggest a budget of about £1,700.

There are several companies online offering direct cremation for around £1,000.

This price normally includes third-party costs such as doctor’s certification and crematorium fees.

If you’d like to have the ashes returned to you, this can cost an extra £150. And collecting the body outside normal working hours, or from a nursing home or residence, is about an extra £550.

This brings the total cost of a direct cremation to £1,700.

Costs might vary depending on location. So, shop around and check whether the company offers a reasonable price for covering your area.

If you choose to hold a ceremony afterwards, you’ll need to factor in these costs as well.

However, there are a variety of low-cost ways to have a ceremony – such as having it at home.

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How to find one?

You can do an online search for ‘direct cremation’ in your area.

If you’re in England or Wales, you could try these national providers:

Or use these websites below to find a local provider:

Make sure you check more than one site as they’ll show different results.

And be aware that some might not provide direct cremations.

Practical ways to plan for your funeral

You can plan for an affordable meaningful funeral before the day comes. Writing your wishes down and sharing it with those who might organise it can make sure things that matter to you happen. It can also reduce some of the anxiety of organising a funeral – as many decisions will have already been made.

Even if you don’t mind what happens, writing it down can be a big help to your next of kin.

You can write down your wishes and store it with your will, or share it with family or friends.

You can also just include the main information on a piece of paper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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