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Cost of basic funeral rises to £4,417 but there’s a far cheaper option

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The average cost of a basic funeral has risen by 3.4% over the last year to £4,417, new research shows.

This price includes fees for the cremation or burial, the funeral director, the doctor and the minister or celebrant.

However, for those looking for a more affordable option, the cost of direct cremations fell by 5% to £1,626 in 2019.

A direct cremation is a cremation with no funeral service, where the body goes straight to the crematorium to be cremated and the ashes are given to loved ones, to be kept or scattered.

Despite being considerably cheaper than standard cremations, just 4% of funerals are direct cremations, probably because most people don’t know what they are, according to the annual Cost of Dying report by SunLife.

The study found that 44% of people who had recently organised a funeral were not aware of direct cremations, but once they knew what they were, 19% said they would have considered it for the deceased and 42% said they would consider one for their own funeral.

According to the research, 70% of people think funeral costs are the responsibility of the deceased, yet just 37% of people set aside enough funds to cover their funeral, while 36% leave nothing.

One in eight people paying for a loved one’s funeral said it caused notable financial concerns. Nearly a quarter (22%) were forced to borrow money from friends and family, one in ten had to take out a loan and a quarter paid by credit card.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife, said: “The bereaved sometimes feel they need to spend a lot on the funeral, when actually that may not have been the deceased’s wishes.

“We need to break the taboo surrounding death and start talking about it. By telling our loved ones what type of funeral we want, we can make sure no one spends more than they need to, and everyone gets the perfect send off.”

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