New research by Royal London reveals the cost of an average, basic funeral in the UK has increased by 3.9%. This is higher than annual UK inflation of 1% (as measured by RPI). The average funeral is now £3,702 – up £140 from £3,562 in 2014.
The new Index reveals the cost of a funeral continues to be a postcode lottery. Funerals range from £2,976, for a cremation in Greenock, to £7,216 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent – a difference of £4,240.
Cruse Bereavement Care Chief Executive Debbie Kerslake spoke about the issue on Radio 5 Live on Sunday morning (4 October 2015). You can listen to the programme again here.
Debbie gave the following advice to those looking for an affordable, meaningful funeral, based on work by Quaker Social Action
- Talk about it now: Discuss your funeral wishes with family and friends
- Don’t feel rushed into making funeral arrangements when someone dies. Take time to make the right decisions.
- Shop around. People often say this is very difficult at such a time and we understand this but costs do vary. Get itemised quotes.
- Ask about a ‘simple funeral’. Most funeral directors will provide a simple funeral package and will be understanding of difficulties people may experience with costs.
- Find out if you are eligible for financial help. Call the Department of Work and Pensions Bereavement Line 0345 606 0265 or Citizens Advice.
- Make the choices right for you. There is no legal requirement to hire a funeral director, hold a ceremony, have flowers etc.
- Think about cremation or burial. Burial is often more expensive.
- Make it meaningful. It is the words and the sentiment of a funeral that people remember not the lavish expense
- Consider credit carefully. Some funeral directors will negotiate a payment plan. Be clear about terms, conditions and final costs.
- If no-one can pay: Ask about a simple, dignified funeral paid for by the hospital or council.