The average cost of a funeral continues its decade’s long rise, today coming in at £3,702. What’s more with this figure equating to a 3.9% rise over the past 2 months alone it’s little surprise that today more than one in ten of us struggle to meet such costs, with the average debt being racked up now standing at an imposing £1,318 (Royal Lomond 2015).
Yet we of course want to do the best by our loved ones, and their final journey, and where scrimping upon funeral plans isn't an option it pays to be well informed when it comes to how such costs break down and how, in certain circumstances, we may be able to receive a much needed helping hand.
Organising a funeral: The Fees and Charges
Most people choose to use a funeral director to help with the majority of funeral plans and whilst such a service accounts for, on average, £1,515 (The Guardian 2010) of the total cost of a funeral their responsibilities are far and wide ranging, including:
Helping with the selection of a suitable coffin;
Transporting the deceased to the private chapel of rest;
Taking care of the deceased (such as washing and dressing them for a final visit from friends and family);
The provision of a hearse;
The provision of pallbearers;
Organising the legalities.
You may, however, choose to use additional services from such a company, including:
Arranging an obituary in the press;
Catering arrangements for the wake;
Using the chapel of rest;
Arranging an organist or musician.
How will a funeral director be paid?
Payments are either made up-front, or a deposit is taken with the remainder due following the funeral. However if the funeral is to be paid from the individual’s estate or insurance policy then payment is made in full after the funeral and after the estate has been administrated (this would have been arranged as an agreement previously between the deceased and the funeral director).
Arranging a funeral yourself
You may wish to discuss the potential of arranging certain aspects of the funeral yourself, particularly if you’re struggling with meeting the costs involved. Arranging a funeral yourself could potentially save you upwards of £1,500. For further information on how to arrange a funeral yourself please read our “DIY Funerals” article.
Cremation, Traditional Burial or Green Burials: An overview of costs
Traditional burials garner the highest costs owing to the fees involved with the grave plot (equating to a cost of £1,645 on average); in contrast cremation comes in at an average cost of £683 (BBC 2015).
Green burials can vary as according to the options you choose, of which there are many, ranging from cremated ashes that can be transferred onto a living coral reef on the sea floor, to being buried within a biodegrable urn or coffin (the latter of which would still demand the plot costs, but would likely involve a cheaper, environmentally friendly coffin).
Financial Assistance: Getting help for funeral costs
Luckily there is help out there for those who struggle to meet funeral costs. Quite simply if the deceased has no one who is close to them who can pay for the funeral arrangements then the council will provide a publics welfare funeral. This form of service is, however, extremely basic, and won’t include additions such as flowers, cars or obituaries. It should be noted that such costs will then be attempted to be recovered from the deceased’s estate.