Organising and planning a funeral is a difficult and emotionally challenging time at the best of times, especially if you’re not financially prepared.
We’ve compiled everything you need to know about funerals, including what to expect and how get help with funeral costs, so you can give your loved one the send-off they deserve, in an affordable way.
Average funeral costs
In the UK, the average funeral cost, before flowers and catering, is around £3,757; with a burial costing upwards of £4,267 and a cremation £3,247.
Overall costs are usually based on the fee paid to the funeral director, local authority charges, gravesites, flowers, transport and any venue and food bookings for the wake after the service.
The figure of around £3,757 will vary depending on your location, whether you have a direct cremation (which costs significantly less), or whether you choose to make all the funeral arrangements yourself.
If you add in the other expenses like flowers, catering for the wake and hiring a solicitor to deal with the administration of the estate, the costs rapidly escalate. And if not planned for, can hit hard on our finances.
Who is responsible for paying funeral costs?
Many people nowadays are planning ahead and thinking about the future. In 2018, 62% of people had made plans to pay for their funeral before they passed away. This can be done through savings and investments from the deceased’s estate, from a pre-paid funeral plan, life insurance plan or with over 50s life insurance.
But who pays for a funeral if there is no money? With funerals costing a significant amount and if the deceased has no money set aside, the executor of the estate, friend or their families may have to foot the bill or apply for government or local authority help.
If you receive certain benefits or tax credits and meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased, you may be entitled to some help towards funeral costs.
These can help pay towards burial fees, cremation fees, travel to the funeral, the cost of moving the body, death certificates and other documents. You may also be entitled to up to £700 for any other costs like flowers or the coffin.
If there isn’t enough money left in the estate or if there are sadly no family, friends or executors left to organise a funeral, the local council or hospital can arrange a public health funeral. This is usually a cremation and there will be a short service in which the local authority will organise the time and date.
What if I’m not entitled to government help?
Sadly not everyone will be entitled to help from the government and this can leave families searching for the funds to pay for the funeral. There are a few alternative ways you can raise the money to help give your loved one the send-off they deserve.
Life insurance is a typical way to cover the cost of a funeral. Many people consider setting up a page on sites like GoFundMe or JustGiving to help raise some money by asking friends and family for help. Alternatively, there are many different types of personal and funeral loans available to apply for, which could help you spread the cost over affordable monthly payments.
What if the deceased has served in the forces?
Do veterans get help with funeral costs? In short, yes. If they were a war pensioner and their death was caused by or quickened by an injury they received during service, you are able to make a claim for help with funeral costs through Veterans UK.
The Royal British Legion may also be able to help with some of the costs or they can help you apply for support elsewhere.
Can pensioners get help with funeral costs?
If you claim Pension Credit on top of your state pension, you can apply for something called Funeral Expenses Payment. Your Funeral Expenses Payment will help cover:
- burial fees for a particular plot
- cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
- travel to arrange or go to the funeral
- the cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s being moved more than 50 miles
- death certificates or other documents
- any other funeral expenses (like flowers) up to £700
It’s worth noting that your Funeral Expenses Payment will be deducted from any money left from the deceased’s estate.
Make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality
As a nation, we need to make talking about death and our wishes surrounding it an easier conversation. While it may be tricky to talk about, making sure your executor, family or friends are aware of your last wishes and how these are going to be paid for is essential for your financial health.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.