Funeral costs reach record levels, annual study reveals

The average funeral in the UK now costs a record £9,263, a major study has revealed.

The finding forms part of SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying report, which has recorded the costs and trends associated with funerals since 2004.

According to the report, the average price of a UK funeral – known as the “cost of dying” – has risen to an all-time high of £9,263 – 0.8 per cent higher than in 2019 and 39 per cent higher than a decade ago.

The “cost of dying” figure includes professional fees, the funeral service, and optional extras such as a wake or gathering, catering, car and venue hire, and flowers.

Rising year-on-year, SunLife said the “cost of dying” is now so high because of the basic funeral cost, which encompasses the fees for the cremation or burial, doctor, funeral director, and minister or celebrant.

According to the report, the basic funeral cost – which accounts for 45 per cent of the total “cost of dying” figure – has risen by 128 per cent since 2004, now standing at £4,184.

Individually, the average burial costs £5,033, while the average cremation costs £3,885.

So, with costs reaching record levels, who is paying?

According to the study, 65 per cent of people made provisions specifically to pay for their funeral. However, 66 per cent of those did not put enough aside to cover the whole cost. It means that families are often forced to cover the shortfall by drawing cash from savings or investments, borrowing money from relatives, or taking on credit card debt. Around 14 per cent of those said the costs had caused them “notable financial problems”.

Likewise, one in four people making plans for the future said the costs “took them by surprise”.

With the “costs of dying” expected to continue to increase, funeral costs should form a major part of later life planning.

Our experienced team will help you plan for the future, meaning your family has little to worry about when you’re gone. For expert help and advice, get in touch with Natalie Payne, Senior Associate in our Private Client team at Mackrell.Solicitors.

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Natalie Payne

Natalie Payne

Senior Associate Solicitor, London, Head of Private Client, Wills and Probate Team at Mackrell.Solicitors
Natalie is a Private Client Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors and is based in their London office. Natalie has a very hands on approach with her clients and guides them through every step when looking after their personal affairs and/or those of their friends and family.