Arrange a funeral

When you arrange a burial or a cremation and start talking to funeral directors it is useful to understand the costs involved and how they fit together. There are three types of costs to think about:

  1. Funeral director fees: These are the costs paid to the funeral director for their help with the funeral. These are included in the prices we provide on this website for each funeral director. Click here to be directed to our funeral comparison service

  2. Disbursements: These are unavoidable costs that have to be paid to other people involved in the funeral. This will include costs for medical certificates, crematorium costs and other costs relating to the funeral service not owed to the funeral director. These are described further below.

  3. Discretionary costs: There may be additional costs depending on how you organise your funeral. For instance, flowers for the service and catering for guests afterwards may bring additional expense. We don't offer information on this for the moment, but will hope to in the future.

Disbursements

 

We have provided more information on disbursements below. There is a range of prices, especially for different crematoria across the country, and so we have provided a minimum and maximum price that you should expect to pay. All prices provided are indicative.

First some of the key elements of a typical service: If you require a religious minister or a non-religious celebrant, you will normally have to pay around £195 for their services (some celebrants may charge up to £250). This will apply to both church and crematorium services. In addition to the minister or celebrant you may want music at the service; the cost will vary depending on the musicians, though an organist will typically charge around £50-60. Recorded music at a crematorium will generally be provided free of charge. If you are in a church, there may be a verger, for whom you would have to pay around £25.

 

Cremation Costs

 

Crematorium costs will range from £550-1000 depending on where you are. Funeral directors within an area seem to charge the same rate for the local crematorium and these fees are a normal part of the cost of a cremation. Some crematora will offer a reduced charge for an early morning service, which will range from around £300 to £600, again, depending on location.

It is worth being aware that some Crematoria will charge an extra levy if your service is longer than the specified time they have given you (eg 30mins). These penalty charges can be extremely high.

Generally before a cremation, the deceased will need to be seen by two  doctors, and the fees for them are fixed (as of April 2015) at £82 per doctor, so £164 in total. If a voluntary post mortem has taken place by a doctor within the hospital then, in most cases, only one doctor's fee will be charged (there may be exceptions to this).  If a post mortem is required by and conducted by a coroner there should be no fees payable. Ashes will normally be returned in a plastic urn at no extra charge. If a casket is required, an additional charge of around £100 will be made either by the crematorium or your funeral director.

 

Burial Costs

 

Prices for these range dramatically, depending on whether you already have a grave entitlement available to you. If you do, then a grave digger will need to be employed. Prices for these range from £250 to over £1,000. If you do need to have a grave dug, then it would be worth asking your funeral director for the cost of a double depth grave (if you think it may be required at a later date), as these are often not much more expensive than a single depth. If you do not have a grave entitlement, our research has found that cemetery prices (i.e, the price you pay for the land on which the burial is to take place) vary greatly, from £600 to over £3,000 depending on the area that you are in.

So as you can see, the actual price of the funeral will be considerably higher than the fees charged by the funeral director.

 

Timing Restrictions

 

Where we have shown timing restrictions, these will be based on the simple funeral package shown. They can be set either by the funeral director or crematorium. Broadly speaking, if you come across a timing restriction they fall into the following categories:

  • The funeral will need to be before 10.00/11am or after 3.00pm;

  • Some days such as Monday and Friday may be excluded;

  • The funeral director may give you no choice on date, day or time for the funeral.

The restrictions, normally associated with the simple funeral package, may become more flexible if you purchase a more expensive arrangement.

 

Use of  other private transport as opposed to a hearse

 

There will be times, especially for low cost funeral options, when a hearse is not used. Instead other vehicles such as private ambulances may be provided.