The Cheapest and Most Expensive Funerals

close up of Benjamin Franklin on the 100 dollar bill

The cost of a funeral varies extensively depending on location, type of burial, number of people in attendance and any extras the family add to the service or the wake. The cost of dying has regional differences, especially when it comes to buying a burial plot. For example, the most expensive place to be buried is Highgate, London with fees of £18,325 per plot. However, dying in Northern Ireland is much cheaper with burial fees as low as £261 according to a study highlighted by The Guardian.

For bereaved families, planning a funeral can be extremely stressful, and only made worse by the rising costs. However, a funeral can be as extravagant or minimal as the family decide, and there are ways to make the service budget-friendly if needs be. Here are some examples of the cheapest and most expensive funerals.

Expensive and extravagant

Celebrities and individuals of high net worth can often afford lavish funerals. Michael Jackson’s funeral is estimated to have cost over $1 million. Here are some ways the funeral costs can add up:

Gold plated caskets and coffins – If the deceased wants to go out in style, there’s no more extravagant way to do so than being laid to rest in a lavish casket. A classic gold casket costs around £6,000 while the most expensive is £19,999. This casket is made out of solid bronze and each piece is plated with 24 carat gold.

Transport – funeral directors offer a wide range of transport options for the coffin and the close family of the deceased. When it comes to luxury funeral cars and hearses, the most in demand are limos and Bentleys, along with horse drawn carriages for around £2,200.

Of course, the cost of catering for the wake or celebration after the service can also dent the wallet somewhat.

Simple and on a budget

For those that don’t see the point in splashing out on a funeral, here are some of the cheaper options:

Eco-coffins – manufacturers now offer non-traditional eco-friendly and budget-friendly coffins made of materials such as bamboo and wicker. You can buy a simple cardboard coffin for £99!

Alternative burial options – did you know you don’t have to pay to bury someone on your property? If you own a house outright without a mortgage you don’t need permission to bury a relative in the garden. Alternatively choose a natural burial ground rather than a cemetery, where plots are considerably cheaper.

Whether you are looking to arrange a budget funeral or extravagant goodbye, find the right funeral director for you using our search function.

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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