Funeral costs are rising – who will pay for yours?

User Written by Cindy-Marie Leicester on February 04, 2016.

Funeral costs are rising – who will pay for yours?

Having, sadly, had to arrange a funeral in the UK this year, I was astounded at just how much it cost to be laid to rest in the traditional way (and the dearly departed was a traditional man so there was no question of doing it any other way).

It got me thinking and led me to hunt around Google for some facts on funeral costs. Did you know for example:

• The average funeral in the UK costs £3,702
• This is up 3.9% in one year, compared to annual inflation of just 1%
• Funeral costs have gone up an average of 6.1% per year since 1980, a much bigger hike than for everyday items such as milk, bread and even petrol
• A burial is, on average, more costly than a cremation
• There is a north-south divide when it comes to funeral costs with £4000 difference in cost between western Scotland and Kent.

According to a survey by YouGov, 13% of loved ones struggle to pay for a funeral, which makes it unsurprising that people are looking for ways to cut costs.

First in line for cuts is the cost of a coffin. The average cost of a coffin has actually dropped in 2015 from £1,108 to £989. There are many alternatives on the market now to the traditional wooden cask – cardboard, wicker, bamboo and banana leaf coffins are becoming very popular because they compare favourably on both price and eco credentials. Macabre but useful website Compare the Coffin makes selecting one easy. If cost is your biggest consideration, simple corrugated cardboard is the way to go – a snip at £245. It is worth knowing that even if you use a traditional funeral director there is nothing to stop you sourcing a coffin yourself.

Other people are saving money by eschewing the hearse and using a van or estate car to transport their loved ones directly from a hospital or mortuary to their final resting place, cutting out the need for a funeral director. Similarly, flowers are an area where costs can be cut, or even eliminated altogether.

If you opt for a religious ceremony the minister will charge for his or her time but it is possible for a friend or relative to conduct the ceremony with the help of others to give tributes and choose music.

If you don’t want anyone to be penny pinching over your funeral, however, there is a way to save those you leave behind the expense of your funeral. You can take out a life insurance policy which makes financial provision for the costs which means that you can have as lavish a send-off as you like without causing financial stress for your loved ones. And don’t forget, you can also save them a lot of hassle by ensuring that they have written instructions detailing the funeral arrangements you would like from coffin choice to the music you would like played. There are lots of resources online to help with this such as this worksheet from Share Your Wishes.

Cindy-Marie Leicester

Cindy-Marie Leicester

Posted on February 04, 2016 in Wills & Legacy Planning.