What are funeral costs?

Calculating the cost of a funeral is like many things in life. You might choose to pay a lot for a more lavish event and the services needed to stage it, or you might choose something altogether more low-key and basic. Much depends on your means and circumstances, of course.

In the case of funeral costs and what they consist of, there is an especially wide range between the most lavish and the more basic. Added to that is the disconcerting fact that those costs appear to be rising at a rate that is significantly outstripping inflation – according to a report by the BBC on the 4th of October 2015.

A prudent way of keeping control over those rising costs and ensuring that the money you pay continues to cover the funeral arrangements you have chosen is to invest in a prepaid funeral plan.

How do the costs mount up

Depending on the amount you are prepared to pay and the service you require, there are potentially many aspects affecting the cost of a funeral.

An indication of the most basic of those costs might be seen in the amount of government help available to those on low incomes who become responsible for arranging a funeral. Details of the government-funded Funeral Payments – and the bare minimum that these might cover – may be found on the official website.

Such basic assistance, however, is most unlikely to cover all the many other components contributing to the cost of the average funeral. A helpful guide to all the possibilities – and those options with which you might dispense – is published by the Money Advice Service and includes:

  • chapel of rest – an option if you want loved ones to be able to view the deceased;
  • embalmment – again, this is not essential, unless you have opted for family members and friends to view the body;
  • funeral director – funeral directors typically make all the administrative arrangements and deal with all the documentation that is necessary. It is not essential to instruct a funeral director since you might take on the whole task yourself – provided you have the time, inclination and dedication;
  • coffin or casket – the cost of a coffin used in the burial or cremation of the deceased ranges enormously. A simple shroud may prove a much cheaper option;
  • hearse and limousines – prices again range considerably, depending on the class and number of vehicles involved;
  • pall-bearers – if you need to employ people to carry the coffin or perform other tasks at the funeral they obviously need to be paid. An alternative is to arrange help from friends and members of the family;
  • other optional costs – other costs which might be entailed include the flowers, printing of an order of service, notices in local newspapers, and arrangements for a reception or wake;
  • disbursements – there are a number of fees or disbursements that you may also need to pay (or are included in the bill from the funeral directors:
  • these include the fee for the death certificate, cremation or burial fees, and the priest or lay official conducting any funeral service.

It may be clear, therefore, that there is a long list of possible costs which may mount up to a considerable sum. Keeping control of these costs and guarding against future increases may be made easier through the use of a prepaid funeral plan.