Help with funeral costs
In the UK, the average funeral cost £4,184* in 2020, up 1.7% since 2019. The cost of a funeral can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as where in the country the funeral will take place and the decisions you make when making funeral arrangements.
Who pays for a funeral?
In the UK, there are no laws that state who is legally responsible for paying funeral costs although it is usually planned and paid for by the family and friends of the person who has died. If you have engaged the services of a Funeral Director and entered into a contract with them, you are legally responsible for paying their fees.
Some people also plan ahead to cover their funeral costs ahead of time.
Paying for the funeral with funds from the deceased’s bank account
The person who died may have had the money in their bank account which could cover funeral costs. Some banks will allow access to these funds to cover the cost of the funeral or arrange to pay the funeral director directly from the person’s account on your behalf. As a minimum, you will need a copy of the death certificate and an invoice for the funeral costs with your name on it. The bank or building society may also want proof of your identity.
Prepaid funeral plans
In some cases, your loved may have had a prepaid funeral plan in place to cover their funeral costs. It is important to check their personal papers to see if they had a plan and follow the instructions on it. If you are unable to provide any paperwork, the Funeral Planning Authority can help to trace plans simply by filling out a form on their website.
Not all funeral plans will cover all of the services required, so you may need to pay some of the costs yourself.
Taking the money from the estate at a later date
The costs of the funeral may be covered by the estate of the person who died (the estate is the money and assets that they have left behind).
Whoever pays for the funeral – family, friends or the council – can seek to recover the costs from the estate of the person who died. Sometimes, their estate is not large enough to cover this, however so it is a good idea to check with the administrator of the estate that you’re able to recover the money at a later date if you need to (remember that the estate also needs to cover costs such as debts or mortgage), before offering to pay for the funeral.
How to get help with funeral costs
With the cost of the average funeral in the thousands, it’s no wonder many people do not have the financial provisions to cover the expense of a funeral and will need to find alternative help to cover costs.
If you and your family do not have the provisions to cover the cost of the funeral, and your loved one did not leave the money to pay for it or have a prepaid funeral plan, we've outlined some of the ways you may be able to get help with funeral costs, including government help, charities that may be able to help with funeral costs and crowdfunding for a funeral.
Government help with funeral costs in England, Wales and Scotland
There are two main ways to get government help with funeral costs; the Funeral Expenses Payment and Bereavement Support Payments.
Funeral Expenses Payment
If you’re on a low income and looking at getting help with funeral costs, you may be entitled to government help with funeral costs, including a Funeral Expense Payment. You do not have to repay government funeral payments, but they can be recovered after the funeral if the deceased has any money in their estate.
It is the decision of the Benefits Office as to whether you are entitled for the Funeral Expense Payment.
In Scotland, the Funeral Expenses Payment has been replaced by Funeral Support Payment. Funeral Support Payment is a one-off payment from Social Security Scotland which helps cover the cost of a funeral.
Bereavement Support Payments
If your partner was under state pension age, paid national insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks, and died because of an accident or disease caused by their workplace, you could be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment to help with funeral costs up to the value of £3,500*.
*This is the figure given if the recipients have children. If the recipient is without children, this payment falls to £2,500.
A budgeting loan is an interest-free loan which is available to people who have been on Pension Credits, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance for a minimum of 6 months. These loans are repaid directly from your benefits and are intended for essentials, such as funeral costs. The money must be repaid within 104 weeks.
You can apply online for a budgeting loan (England and Wales only).
Understanding funeral payments and bereavement benefits
Some people may not be eligible for government help with funeral costs and in many cases, if financial aid is provided, it will be far less than the cost of a full funeral. The average amount awarded to help with funeral costs by the Funeral Expenses Payment is around £1000, so families are often left short of the funds needed to afford a traditional funeral. The family are usually left to consider other options to keep costs low.
Charities that help with funeral costs
Depending on how the deceased passed away, there are several charities who may be able to offer financial help with funeral expenses.
Friends of the Elderly can aid in getting help with funeral costs for elderly people who have no family and little savings. Children’s charities such as The Child Funeral Charity, React and Children are Butterflies can help with funeral costs for a child.
The deceased’s nationality may also mean you can help charitable support, such as ScotsCare who offer grants (for many reasons) to Scottish people living in London.
Crowdfunding for funerals
Crowdfunding for funerals is becoming a more common way of families getting help with funeral costs.
To crowdfund for a funeral, you can set up an online profile that friends and family can visit to donate money towards the funeral. If the deceased had no family but a few close friends, they may all wish to contribute to help ensure a fitting send off. Crowdfunding is a great way of bringing friends and family together to do something positive in memory of a loved one.
When all other options have been explored and no solution can be found, your local council may be able to arrange a public health funeral (also referred to as a pauper’s funeral). Because this option is supposed to be a last resort when there is no other alternative, there can be no contributions or part funding from the bereaved.
Choosing a low cost funeral provider
Whether you're receiving help towards funeral costs or funding it yourself, you’ll most likely be looking for a low cost funeral that’s local to you and promises to take care of your loved one to the highest standard.
At Simplicity Cremations, we offer a range of affordable, dignified funerals:
Unattended Funeral from £995
This is a simple and respectful funeral, conducted without any mourners' present.
Intimate Funeral from £1,395
If you’d prefer to witness the committal, this funeral offers a small group of people (up to 12) a short time in the chapel.
Attended Funeral from £1,895
This funeral suits those families looking for something a little closer to a traditional funeral.
Low cost funerals are not about cutting corners. They’re about delivering what is necessary to the highest possible standards. Simplicity Cremations start at £995 and could be the best option if you’re looking to keep funeral costs to a minimum.
Allowing Simplicity Cremations to take care of the practicalities means that you can celebrate your loved one’s life in their own way, without the restrictions of a traditional funeral.
To arrange a funeral with Simplicity call us on today 0800 484 0260.
*SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021