How To Finance Rising Funeral Costs

Money is the last thing anyone wants to think about when they are organising a funeral. However, there’s no escaping the fact funerals are incredibly expensive and only increasing in cost. According to a report by the CMA or Competition and Markets Authority, there has been an increase each year of funeral costs by 6% over a period of 14 years.

According to the organisation, families have found it hard to find clear information about prices for funeral services online and due to grief and anxiety, have found it hard to shop around. Based on their findings, the CMA is going to launch a full inquiry. If you are wondering how to finance funeral costs, we’re here to help.

Who is Responsible for Paying Funeral Costs?

The answer is different from person to person. For instance, many sort their funeral expenses in advance of their demise, or cover for the likely event in their will. In these situations, it’s the state’s executor who will pay the funeral costs.

However, in the absence of such arrangements, it will generally fall to the next of kin/a relative or even close friend/partner. In that event, it’s possible they could get what they paid back if there is enough in the deceased’s estate to cover it.

What if You Are Unable to Cover Funeral Costs?

There are arrangements in place for situations where the relatives/friends of the deceased can’t afford to pay the costs of the funerals. Mainly because they can’t hold onto bodies for too long after they die due to health and safety violations.

Therefore, the hospital or your local council may be able to arrange what is known as a Public Health Funeral if you die and there’s no money to spend on a funeral or none of your friends or relatives are around to organise it. Though, there will still be additional considerations if you're wanting a celebration of life, such as funeral order of service templates.

Generally, this will be held in a crematorium and family and friends of the deceased can attend. However, they have no say on the date and time as this is arranged by the local authority.

It’s very much a disposal of body type affair, it must be said, as the service is very short and you don’t get nice extras like a mention in the local newspaper obituary column, cars or even flowers.

How to Finance Funeral Costs with Help from the Government?

Don’t dismay if you can’t afford the full costs of a funeral for a loved one, as there is a government scheme that can help. If you are on a low income you may be entitled to a Funeral Expenses Payment, particularly if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

      Universal Credit

      Child Tax Credit

      Working Tax Credits (element covering disability or severe disability)

      Housing Benefit

      Pension Credit

      ESA – Income-Related

      Jobseeker’s Allowance – Income-Based

      Income Support

It’s important to note while it will help to cover some of the costs, it may not cover them all. Therefore, you may find you need to pay at least 1/3 of the funeral costs for a simple service. The scheme can help you afford:

      Burial fees at a specific plot

      Cost of transporting the body domestically, if you are moving it over 50 miles

      Funeral travel expenses

      Doctor’s certificate and cremation fees

      The death certificate and other important documents

      An extra amount as high as £700 to cover other expenses like the cost of hiring a funeral director, the cost of a coffin or the flowers.

Using Funeral Insurance or a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan

Another way people have often pre-arranged their funeral expenses is through funeral insurance or a pre-paid funeral plan.

Funeral insurance pays out a lump sum to cover funeral expenses. You are free to choose the funeral director you prefer, but if the funeral costs more than the lump sum, you must make up the difference.

A pre-paid funeral plan is when the deceased has made arrangements prior to their death with a specific funeral director or company to cover the expenses for the funeral of their choice. If it’s your responsibility to oversee the funeral, you must use the funeral director requested or one from a list of approved names and firms.

Regardless of which arrangement there is in place, there is help and financial support out there to help with the rising costs of funerals.

The infographic below shows the average cost of a funeral across England