Cost of dying on the rise again

The cost of dying is on the rise again with the average funeral now costing more than £4,400.

Research by insurer Sun Life showed the average rise was 3.4%, but it come parts of the country it was up by more than 9% – up by 24% on five years ago and 62% in the last decade.

Biggest rise

The South East and East of England saw a rise of 9.2%, Wales is up by 9.4%, but the biggest rise was The Midlands at 9.6%.

The most expensive place to die is London with a basic funeral costing £5,963.

These figures are for the basic funeral only. Add in the cost of professional fees, flowers and a memorial, bills have been spiralling to an average £9,493.


The funeral industry is currently the subject of a full investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after listening to fears that funeral directors found it easy to charge grieving families high prices and that those families found it hard to shop around for a better deal.

Sun Life says its basic funeral price includes funeral director’s fees of £2,687, doctor’s fees of £164, clergy and officiate fees of £169 and the cost of the actual burial or cremation.

Associated costs

But it is the costs associated with giving your loved one ‘a good send-off’ which add dramatically to the overall cost – limousines, flowers, venue hire for the wake and catering.

Burials are the most costly option and this has led to a new trend for direct cremations – cremations without a funeral service.

The remains are returned to loved ones at a later date to either keep or scatter and a celebratory farewell party can be held at a later date.


Sun Life said the cost of a direct cremation had fallen by 5% to £1,626 in the last year. Spokesman Ian Atkinson said: “Some people do not like the thought of not having a service in a crematorium, thinking perhaps it is not a proper send-off, but this view is changing more and more.”

According to the report, 70% of people feel the cost of the funeral should be the responsibility of the deceased, but sadly one in eight people end up in financial in difficulty to pay for the passing of a loved one. One in five has had to borrow money from family and friends.


The Funeral Planning Authority has produced some guidelines for how to plan a funeral in advance:

  • Tell your family about a funeral plan, or other financial plans to pay the costs on death
  • Ask questions so you and your family fully understand what is paid for and what is not covered/li>
  • Keep the paperwork with other important documents so it is easy for your family to find
  • Do not pay for a funeral plan in cash as there is less of a record of payment/li>
  • When moving house, inform your funeral plan provider. The cost may be different in the area you move to>