Research conducted by Sunlife suggest that the average cost of dying has risen from £5,858 in 2007 to £9,204 in 2018, with costs expected to rise to £10,441 in 2023. This represents a staggering 57.1% increase in 11 years and 78.2% come 2023.

So what has changed?

Whether it’s burial or a cremation, funeral costs make up the biggest proportion of the cost of dying, accounting for around 46% of the cost of dying. With the average cost of a basic funeral rising from £4,078 in 2017, to an all time high of £4,271 in 2018. This equates to a 4.7% increase in 1 year. The cost of the average funeral plan in 2004 was around £1,920. In 15 years the average cost of a basic funeral has risen by 122.5%, with further increases expected to rise to £5,120 come 2023.

Other costs included are professional fees (to administer the estate) which have fallen slightly by 0.9% compared to 2017, but overall make up around 32% and send off fees (basically those added extras to turn a basic funeral into a send off) accounting for the remaining 22%, with attitudes changing from a traditional funeral, more towards a celebration of life being one of the reasons for the increasing of average send off costs.

What do Funeral Directors say?

As we have shown, funeral costs are one of the fastest rising costs across the Nation. They’ve risen by 4.7% in one year and 122.5% in 15 years. How can we explain this?

Well, the rise in funeral costs does not come down to one reason. There several factors to consider. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why, according to funeral directors.

‘Reasons for rise in cremation costs’

  1. Cuts to Local Authority Budgets – 50%
  2. Rise in fuel prices – 17%
  3. Mercury emissions abatement target (introduced in 2013) – 16%

‘Reasons for rise in burial costs’

  1. Lack of space for new graves – 35%
  2. Reduced Local Authority funding – 25%
  3. Increased investment in cemetery infrastructure – 11%
  4. Reduced number of burials, due to people living longer and more people choosing to be cremated – 5%

‘Expectation V Reality’

This year 6 in 10 families who had arranged funerals, had stated that the cost was in line with their expectations. Meanwhile 1 in 4 families stated that it had cost more than they expected. Of those, 18% had stated that it was a little bit more than expected and the remaining 7% had stated that it was much more than they had expected.

On average, families had to find £2,559 to make up the shortfall to pay for the funeral in 2018. Meaning the average shortfall has risen by 8.6% in 2018, compared to the average shortfall in 2017 of £2,356.


With the rapid rising cost of funerals, there are funeral planning options available in todays market where you have various options available to save your loved ones the financial and emotional drain of arranging your funeral. Contact us for more information.