Funeral costs

Unsurprisingly, funerals are often purchased and arranged quickly.  There’s a lot to be said for being more open in discussing this with relatives: my wife has expressed a liking for a woodland burial, while not having been to a woodland burial I fancy a cremation with minimum fuss, though I suppose the funeral is not for our own benefit!

The list below is intended as a checklist so that if you’re sitting down with a funeral director, piecing together a funeral from scratch, or scoping a pre-payment plan, you can have some confidence that you’ve not missed anything.

Considering my usual “do you think we’re made of money” reputation in my family, here’s a few thoughts.

  • The lowest cost (often under £1000) is to get a Direct Cremation: the body is collected, cremated, paperwork done, etc. without attendance by relatives.  This leaves you to arrange any wake separately.  Some attendees might feel they have missed something important, so this one is worth talking about first.
  • Woodland burials (also called natural burials) can be beautifully poignant and not too expensive: for a start the coffin is often cardboard.  The site might need some checking out in advance and probably requires some travel by attendees.
  • For any funeral, decide what bits really matter to you all (the deceased’s friends and relatives), and then include those parts but not others.  A good eulogy costs nothing but can be the most memorable part for many people.

In this list, some items have costs which have been taken from a variety of websites and might not be available at the typical cost everywhere.  The main problem is that some include several smaller items that I have also listed and costed.  And some items have costs but I’ve not shown them because they’re hard to find or very variable.  So this list is better used as a checklist and a prompt to ask questions about scope and cost.

  • Move body from place of death to mortuary/funeral directors/chapel of rest     500
  • Funeral manager with a package   2400
  • Prepare body
  • Embalm if an open coffin
  • Funeral notice  85
  • Coffin   100-10,000
  • Hearse
  • Family cars   319
  • Bearers/Staff
  • Celebrant    156
  • Thoughtful speeches/eulogies   0
  • Church/Crematorium  service  164
  • Service at graveside  165
  • Order of service
  • Doctor’s certification    164 plus 4+ per copy
  • Direct cremation including doctor’s certification  1000
  • Cremation  760 + any non-resident charges
  • Burial     typically 1850
  • Plot (depending on duration e.g. 75 years)
  • Digging fee
  • Memorial / headstone / plaque    400+  typically 916
  • Plot upkeep
  • Urn   20+
  • Return of ashes 62
  • Attending the scattering of ashes
  • Burial of ashes  140
  • Burial certificate 10
  • Death notice / Obituary  72
  • Flowers   50+     typically 150
  • Venue hire  400
  • Catering  450
  • Legal fees for executorship, trusts, estate agent, etc.
  • Estate administration