How much does a funeral cost in the UK in 2022?

According to the annual Cost of Dying Report by SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK has decreased for the first time in 18 years, with the average ‘cost of dying’ now at £8,864.

Funeral Costs UK 2022

How much does a funeral cost in the UK in 2022?

SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying Report for 2022 shows that the average cost of a UK funeral in 2021 was £4,056, a decrease of £128 since 2020. SunLife say this fall is likely to be a result of the government restrictions seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, the pandemic also meant that 85 per cent of people who organised a funeral in the last 18 months said the type of funeral they were able to have was affected.

To calculate the £4,056 figure, SunLife define basic funeral costs as including:

  • cremation or burial fees
  • doctor fees
  • funeral director fees
  • minister or celebrant fees

Burials are still the most expensive funerals in the UK, costing £4,927 on average but down by 2.1 per cent when compared to last year. Average cremation costs were also down by 3.1 per cent at £3,765. However, direct cremation costs rose by 6 per cent, now costing £1,647 on average.

According to the report, of funerals in 2021:

  • 57% were cremations
  • 25% were burials
  • 18% were direct cremations

While cremation is still the most popular type of funeral, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the popularity of direct cremations rose by 4 per cent in 2021. This is a dramatic increase from 2019, when direct cremations made up just 3 per cent of all funerals.

According to SunLife: “A direct cremation is the most affordable choice for a funeral, because it’s a cremation without a service. The deceased goes straight to the crematorium to be cremated, and you can either keep or scatter the ashes. There are no mourners, and there’s no need to spend money on flowers, limousines, embalming, or any other extras.”

Once again, London is still the most expensive place have a funeral, costing £5,358 on average. Alongside the North East of England, London also saw the biggest rise in cost with prices up by 2.3 per cent from 2020 in both regions. Northern Ireland is again the cheapest place to have a funeral in the UK, with average costs 24.6 per cent below the national average.

What is the cost of dying in the UK in 2022?

The 2022 report shows that the total cost of dying in the UK is £8,864. The cost of dying includes:

  • the funeral
  • professional fees
  • send off fees, such as memorials, deceased estates notices, flowers, catering for the wake etc

The 2021 cost of dying was down 4.3 per cent up from 2020. This is the first time the cost of dying has dropped since 2015.

How did COVID-19 affect funerals in 2021?

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic affected funeral plans in 2021, with 85 per cent on those surveyed saying the funeral they organised was different because of the pandemic.

According to the report, of the people surveyed:

  • 83% said the funeral has fewer attendees
  • 75% said there was no hugging/comforting at the funeral
  • 56% said there was no wake after the funeral
  • 47% said there was no singing at the funeral
  • 14% said the funeral had to take place virtually

Placing a deceased estates notice in The Gazette

If you are an executor of a will, you are responsible for dealing with any claims against the estate. After you receive a grant of probate, the law recommends you place a deceased estates notice in The Gazette and a local newspaper to find creditors who are owed money by the estate.

deceased estates notice is an advertisement placed in The Gazette which contains the details of a deceased person and the executor/administrator, so that anyone or any organisation owed money by the deceased person's estate can come forward.

Placing a deceased estates notice demonstrates that enough effort has been made to find creditors before distributing an estate to its beneficiaries (the people who will inherit the estate). This protects the executor from being personally responsible for money owed to any unidentified creditors.

If you don't place a notice and a creditor comes forward after the estate has been distributed, then you may have to pay the creditor yourself.

How to place a deceased estates notice

  1. Before you begin: make sure you have at least one of the following:
    • grant of probate
    • letter of administration
    • death certificate
  2. Decide which services you want: as well as placing a deceased estates notice, you can also use The Gazette to place an advertisement in a newspaper that is local to the deceased. There is also a forwarding service for deceased estates, which replaces your address with The Gazette's postal box, so all correspondence can be sent on to you while your address stays private. If you do not use the forwarding service, your address will be recorded in the public domain permanently. View The Gazette's price list.
  3. Once you're ready to place a noticeregister or create an account, and then go to 'Place a notice' from the 'My Gazette' dropdown.
  4. Complete the form: select which Gazette edition, then 'Personal Legal' and 'Deceased Estates', and fill out the remaining fields, including uploading the required documentation.
  5. Submit: submit your notice and check out.

Once the deceased estates notice has been placed, creditors have 2 months and 1 day to make a claim against the estate.

Place a deceased estates notice

See also

The duties of an executor: what to do when someone dies

How to pay for a funeral in the UK

How to pay inheritance tax (IHT)

How much are probate fees?

What to do when someone dies abroad

Find out more

SunLife (2022), Cost of Dying Report (SunLife)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 8 February 2022

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.