The annual report is a result of a survey of 1,524 adults in the UK who have been responsible for planning a funeral and administrating an estate in the last 4 years. In addition to this, 100 funeral directors based across 10 regions throughout the UK have also been surveyed.
Funeral Costs – another year, another rise.
The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017 follows in the footsteps of previous annual reports highlighting that funeral costs have continued to rise for the 14th year in a row, albeit at a slightly lower rate.
With an increase of 4.7%, the average cost of a funeral in the UK stands at £4,078.
These funeral costs focus on a combination of cremation and burial funeral services, individually the average costs are:
- £3,596 for a Cremation funeral
- £4,561 for a Burial funeral
When the increase in funeral costs are compared directly with other product and services increases over the last decade, the figures make alarming reading:
- Funeral Costs – 70.6%
- Electricity Bills – 42.2%
- Weekly Wages – 20%
- House Prices – 19.8%
- Petrol Prices – 19.6%
- Bread – 15.7%
A post code lottery.
Funeral costs continue to vary enormously by region, even more so when you factor in whether the funeral service is for a cremation or a burial.
London is the most expensive place when it comes to funeral costs at £5,951, 40% more than the national average of £4,078.00. When you further separate these figures by either cremation or burial, the figures are heavily skewed by the costs of a burial in the London area.
Whilst burial costs in London are a significant 60% over the UK average, funeral costs for a cremation funeral in the same area are only 27.7% greater.
This in part perhaps explains why the percentage of people opting for a cremation funeral compared to burial is ever increasing – now standing at 75%. With such high fees, people’s decisions on which type of funeral they opt for, could be swayed by how much it will cost.
For example, the cost of a burial funeral in the East and West Midlands is 10% over the UK average at £5,022 whereas the cost of a cremation funeral in the same area is almost 10% under the UK average at £3,245. A difference of approximately £2,000 between the two funeral types.
The report shows the ongoing increase in funeral costs but there are two exceptions. Funeral costs for both Northern Ireland and Wales have fallen in the last year, with the former now being the cheapest place to die.
Basic Funeral Costs.
The cost of a basic funeral is calculated by adding together the funeral director’s fee and disbursements /3rd party fees which includes the cremation or burial fee, doctor’s fee and minister or celebrants fee.
The funeral directors fee.
The funeral director’s fee, which usually cover the cost of the coffin, hearse, collection and care of the deceased plus, the funeral director’s professional guidance, make up most of the cost of a basic funeral. This cost has risen, but not by as much as the overall cost of a funeral – it is up 3.3% over the past 12 months from £2,411 to £2,491.
Disbursements/3rd Party Fees.
Cremation and burial fees:
After the funeral director’s fee, the second largest cost is the cremation or burial fee, and the 2017 report shows that both these costs have risen more steeply than the overall cost of a funeral
In 2016, the average UK cremation fee was £733.
This has seen the largest increase of all costs – 7.9% to £791 – while the cost of a burial has risen by 5.6% % from £1,950 to £2,059.
Funeral directors suggest that councils putting up their prices is the main reason for the steep rise in crematorium costs.
This year, doctor’s fees for certification has remained unchanged at £164, but are £0 in Scotland.
The average fee paid for a religious minister or secular service celebrant has increased by 2% from £152 in 2016 to £155.
Funeral costs do not stop at just the funeral director’s fees and disbursements/3rd party costs. There are also other costs to factor, with more personal items such as flowers, notices and the reception, not to mention fees incurred to administer the deceased’s estate.
Although the fees for more personal items and services have dropped slightly, suggesting families are trying to cut costs where possible, the overall cost of these services including the average cost of a funeral has risen to a total cost of dying of £8,905 – a 50% increase in the last 10 years.
Trends & Traditions.
When it comes to the types of services that are popular, traditional services are falling further and further out of favour, with 68% of funeral directors saying they have seen a decrease in the number of religious funerals, and just 11% of those who organised a funeral for a loved one described the tone of the service as ‘religious’.
Eight in ten (82%) of funeral directors said they have seen an increase in the number of funerals that they would describe as a ‘celebration of life’ rather than mourning, and of those who organised a funeral, 31% described the funeral as a celebration of life.
Half of all funerals now include modern songs, music or anthems. There has also been an increase in the number of eco, environmental and woodland funerals; in 2016, just one in 14 (7.2%) funerals were eco, environmental or woodland funerals; this year, the number has increased to one in 11 (9.1%).
This year, 77% of funeral directors said they have access to a woodland burial site, down from 82% last year and 90% in 2015, but up considerably from 60% in 2014. Though it’s not clear why availability has risen and then fallen again, it could show that the increasing popularity of woodland burials is putting pressure on the limited number of sites.
Conclusion: A Prepaid Funeral Plan – a sensible and financially effective way to protect against rising funeral costs.
Considering all the above figures and facts in this report, it is clear again that due to continual rising funeral costs, a sensible strategy for every adult individual, is to secure a Prepaid Funeral Plan.
Far too many individuals do not talk about planning for their own end of life and, in many instances, believe that the methods of putting money aside in a bank account or using investments or purchasing life insurance, will take care of these costs sensibly when the time of need arises.
True they may cover the cost, but these methods do not address the underlying problem of rising funeral costs. These methods will still have to pay out at significantly inflated prices at the actual time of death which could be decades into the future. The cost of this poor planning could be potentially, in the tens of thousands of pounds – and that’s just for a single adult.
A funeral plan will fix and freeze the price at the outset – at today’s prices. What you agree to pay now will not change at all in 10, 20 or 30 years time. With a funeral plan you can also plan and tailor your individual funeral preferences in more detail, ensuring you leave as little uncertainty and stress possible for your family and loved ones, when the time of need arises.