According to key findings from the Royal London funeral report, the average funeral cost in 2019 has reached £3,785, with various additional costs depending on the type of service. For the majority of the UK population, this is too high a price to pay, leading to Brits taking on debts of up to £1,990 after paying for the funeral of a loved one.
This average funeral cost also doesn’t consider the expenses outside of the service itself, such as the burial plot costs and estate administration. When factoring these extra charges into the funeral price, the loss of a loved one becomes an incredibly expensive business, with burial fees a key component in rising funeral costs.
As various factors increase modern-day funeral prices, here is a look into the elements that might help to answer the question, why are funerals so expensive?
The funeral director
The largest expense for a standard funeral is the cost of a funeral director. That said, the service provided by a funeral director is an invaluable help at a particularly trying time for the family of a loved one.
The services a funeral director offer vary from one director to another, as do the costs. These services can include organising a location for the funeral, overseeing all of the necessary preparations, taking care of the body of the deceased until the day of the ceremony and helping with the legal paperwork.
Although outsourcing all of these tasks can take a huge weight off your mind, lack of competition (particularly in smaller towns and villages) mean that some funeral directors have a monopoly over the local market. In some cases, this can then lead to some directors charging prices not concurrent with the level of service they provide. This is an important part of choosing your funeral director, ensuring you have one that is suited to your unique circumstances, able to give you the help you need at a price you can pay. Don’t be afraid to enquire with a few directors before deciding, they form an important part of the ceremony plans and they need to be right for you and your family.
Organising the funeral yourself
Hiring a funeral director to organise the service is not a legal requirement. As a result, an affordable option when planning a funeral is to organise it yourself. The services above are important elements of the funeral service, however, there are certain factors that can be bypassed:
- Arrange for friends to act as pallbearers at the service
- Bypass the embalming process and keep your loved one at home
- Purchase the coffin online, a much less expensive option than buying one through the funeral director
- Organise the service itself
It is important to remember that organising a funeral for a loved one is not the right option for everyone. At an emotional time for the family and friends, having a funeral director can ease the strain. However, if you are struggling to cover the costs of a dearly departed’s passing, it is something to consider.
When planning a funeral for a loved one, there can be a temptation to equate the amount we spend on a loved one’s funeral with the affection we had for them. It is almost as though we feel that if we don’t spend the best part of £200 on an elaborate floral arrangement or an abundance of food, that we never really loved the person at all.
Of course, this outlook is not true, but it is an easy mindset to fall into when organising a funeral. When deciding on the extras to include in any funeral, consider the wishes of the deceased themselves. More often than not, a loved one would want to alleviate all unnecessary pressures and money worries for their family and friends.
Have a realistic budget in mind; even if your loved one would have embraced a lavish send-off it is unlikely they would want that to come at the expense of your bank account and your personal wellbeing. Ensure you factor in all the variables and set aside enough money to cover everything, without unnecessary monetary expenditure.
The no-frills alternative
An increasingly popular option nowadays is the dispensation of a funeral service altogether. Instead, people opt for a direct cremation, which simply involves the cremation of the body into a simple urn and the necessary paperwork. As well as being far more affordable than a traditional funeral, it also gives the family the flexibility to hold a wake in their own home (or another location) at a time and date of their choosing. This can be especially attractive when friends and family are scattered far and wide and may find it difficult to come together at short notice.
A funeral can be as expensive or affordable as you choose to make it. Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you have researched all of the options available to you and settle for a service, and funeral director, that’s right for your situation. If you need any advice during the process, feel free to give us a call on 01983 754387 and we’ll be happy to help.