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The Cost of a Funeral

Find out how much a funeral costs in the UK in 2024

Last updated: 26 January 2024

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4,141.*. If someone is buried the average cost of a funeral is approximately £5,077*, whereas a cremation costs approximately £3,795.* These costs will change depending on where you live in the UK, and how big or small of a funeral you are planning.

This guide to the cost of a funeral explains all of the expenses you need to consider when arranging a funeral, how a funeral director can advise you, and where you can find help with funeral costs.

If you are arranging a funeral for a loved one it is very helpful to compare funeral directors to find the right one for you. You can choose from fixed-price funeral packages or arrange a bespoke funeral with individually-priced services and products.

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What are funeral director fees?

Funeral directors charge fees for the services they provide while handling the practicalities of your loved one’s death and arranging their funeral.

Funeral directors support bereaved families by managing the funeral arrangements, including much of the essential paperwork and practical arrangements of collecting and looking after the person who has died. These services can be very helpful and reduce your stress at such an emotionally difficult time.

Many funeral directors provide detailed information about their services and prices on their websites. It can also be helpful to read reviews of funeral directors by other families who have previously used their services, so that you can make an informed decision on the best funeral director for you.

If you are planning to repatriate someone who has died for a funeral overseas the costs can be even more difficult to predict. The procedures, paperwork and costs in the UK and the destination country can vary a lot. This is also true if your loved one died abroad and you would like to bring them home to the UK for their funeral. There are several funeral directors throughout the country that specialise in repatriation.

You can also choose to have your loved one buried at sea, but this is only possible at designated sites and a special licence from the government is required.

What are disbursements?

Disbursements are the costs of a funeral that the funeral director collects on behalf of third-parties, such as florists or celebrants. The funeral director will liaise with these providers to arrange the cremation or burial of your loved one, and everything else you need for a fitting tribute to them. Disbursements are added to the total funeral bill, but your funeral director should provide a clear breakdown of all of these costs before you agree to them.

Common disbursements include:

It is important to remember that there are several costs, such as registering a death and purchasing medical certificates, that are not the responsibility of funeral directors.

What are cremation costs?

The average cost of cremation in 2024, including a basic service, is £1000.48**. This is less expensive than a burial, but the addition of funeral directors’ fees, flowers and other disbursements increases the total of the funeral by several thousand pounds. The specific cost of a cremation depends on whether the crematorium is public or private, and the time and duration of the ceremony.

You can view crematoria throughout the UK on our website. There are additional costs for buying an urn, which our guide to choosing and urn discusses, or other memorial for your loved one, or burying their ashes in a Garden of Remembrance.

There are many other options for preserving ashes, from scattering them at sea or ingraining them in a vinyl record.

Who can help with funeral costs?

Help with funeral costs is available from several sources, such as your loved one’s estate, the government or charities.

Your loved one’s estate

If your loved one had enough funds in their estate, their funeral expenses can be claimed from it during probate. If they died without leaving a will, a bank statement could provide you with information about funeral plans, insurance policies or other assets your loved one may have had.

Banks and building societies will freeze or close individual accounts until the estate has gone through probate and they receive a Letter of Administration to open up access to the funds. Some funeral directors will allow payment to be delayed until your loved one’s assets have been unfrozen, but if not there are a few other options.

Funeral Expenses Payment

You might be eligible for the government’s Funeral Expenses Payment. Eligibility depends on your relationship to the person who has died, your financial resources and whether you receive particular benefits.

The value of your loved one’s estate is considered in the means-test for the Funeral Support Payment.

Benevolent Funds

Depending on your loved one’s occupation, a benevolent fund might be able to help with the cost of their funeral, and provide additional financial and emotional support.

It is possible to arrange a funeral yourself, if you feel comfortable doing so. It can be quite complicated if you have never done it before, so it is a good idea to ask a funeral director for advice before deciding to proceed.

Public Health Funerals

You are not obliged to pay for someone’s funeral, even if you are their next-of-kin. Every local authority has a statutory duty to provide a public health funeral for someone whose closest relatives cannot, or refuse to, pay for it. This might be the case if you are estranged from someone, or did not previously know that you were their next-of-kin.

Which funeral costs are optional extras?

There are a few other costs to consider when you are arranging the funeral for a loved one that are not typically included in a funeral directors fee.

Some funeral directors might include some of these costs, such as use of the Chapel of Rest, in their fees. You can also ask some of the mourners at your loved one’s funeral to be the pallbearers. Your funeral director will discuss all of these options with you sensitively and explain the costs clearly to you.

What is the cost of a funeral for a child?

The fees for the cremation or burial of a child under the age of 18 in England and Wales is now covered by the government. Some local authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland also waive these fees.

*These figures from Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2023.

**These figures are from research by Funeral Guide.

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