Losing a loved one is never easy, and the added stress of funeral costs can feel overwhelming. It's an experience which is a lot more common than you'd think.

As the UK's largest direct cremation provider, we understand all too well the financial burdens that can come with saying goodbye to someone dear. In this guide, we'll explore what to do if you find yourself unable to cover the costs of a funeral and offer actionable solutions to help navigate this difficult time.

How much does a funeral cost?

In the UK, funeral costs can vary widely depending on various factors such as location, services chosen, and personal preferences. It's helpful to know the range of costs to expect, so, to make it easier for you, here's the average cost for each funeral option in 2024:

  • Traditional Burial - £5,077 [1]
  • Cremation - £3,795 [1]
  • Direct Cremation - £1,498 [1]

When considering the expenses associated with funerals in the UK, opting for a direct cremation is typically a much more affordable choice, especially when compared to the ever rising costs of traditional funerals. Its cost-effectiveness, flexibility, and simplicity resonate with modern needs and perspectives, contributing to its increasing popularity in the UK.

To give you more insight into what's typically included in the price of a funeral, we've put together a comparison of burials and cremations, taking into account the different processes, features, and more.

[1] Funeral costs by type taken from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs

Ways to make a funeral cheaper

If traditional funeral costs are out of reach, don't worry, there are ways to make the process more affordable - namely, direct cremation.

Direct cremation

Direct cremation is a cost-effective alternative to traditional burial, eliminating the need for expensive services, such as embalming and a casket. Direct cremations prioritise simplicity and affordability, all while honouring your loved one's memory with dignity and respect.

While we can't speak on behalf of all providers, we'd like to offer you an insight into what you can expect from a direct cremation with Distinct Cremations, starting from just £1,199:

  • Collection of your loved one from a hospital or coroner's mortuary on weekdays during office hours.
  • Expert care at our modern, professional mortuary facility.
  • Thoughtful preparation of your loved one for cremation.
  • Assistance with all necessary legal and cremation documentation.
  • Round-the-clock support from our compassionate customer service team.
  • Dignified transportation of your loved one via a private ambulance.
  • Provision of a simple yet respectful coffin.
  • A cremation service conducted with utmost respect and dignity.
  • The scattering of ashes in our serene crematorium remembrance gardens or personal hand-delivery within 14 days.

Direct cremations offer an affordable funeral option that can significantly reduce expenses. At Distinct Cremations, we commit to providing dignified and respectful cremations at a fraction of the cost, ensuring that you can honour your loved one without financial strain.

Explore our direct cremation

What if I have no money to pay for a funeral?

If you find yourself with no money to pay for a funeral, there are a handful of assistance programs available to help.

Funeral expenses payment

In the UK, the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme provides financial assistance to those who cannot afford a funeral. Eligibility criteria apply, so, it's essential to check if you qualify for this support.

If you meet all the eligibility requirements, the Funeral Expenses Payment can assist with important expenses related to:

  • Cremation fees, which also cover the doctor's certificate
  • Travel expenses for funeral arrangements or attendance
  • Transportation costs within the UK if the body needs to be moved over 50 miles
  • Necessary documents like death certificates

Plus, you could receive up to £1,000 for other funeral expenses, such as fees charged by the funeral director, floral arrangements, or the coffin itself.

In Scotland, this same scheme is called a Funeral Support Payment.

Children's Funeral Fund for England

For families in England who have lost a child under the age of 18, the Children's Funeral Fund provides financial support to cover funeral costs. This fund aims to alleviate the financial burden on grieving families during an incredibly difficult time.

The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help pay for the:

  • burial fees
  • cremation fees, including the cost of a doctor’s certificate
  • coffin, shroud, or casket (up to a cost of £300)

Public health funerals

In cases where no family members or friends are able to cover the costs of a funeral, local authorities may arrange a public health funeral. These funerals are conducted with dignity and respect, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity for a dignified farewell.

At Distinct Cremations, we believe that everyone deserves a meaningful farewell, regardless of financial circumstances. Our compassionate team is here to support you every step of the way, providing advice, affordable options and guidance during this challenging time.


Who pays for the funeral?


Typically, the responsibility of paying for a funeral falls on the deceased's family members. Alternatively, funds to cover funeral expenses can usually be drawn from their estate. However, accessing a person's bank accounts may require some time, and selling property often involves a longer process.

During this interim period, the person arranging the funeral may find themselves needing to cover the costs upfront with their own finances, adding to the emotional and financial strain during this difficult time.

If funds are not available, or it’s looking like it might be difficult to balance the books whilst waiting on money from the estate, there are a number of alternative options to consider.

Ways to pay for a funeral

The worry of affording a funeral often revolves around ensuring you have the necessary funds when the time comes to cover the expenses of burial or cremation.

If the thought of arranging a funeral feels like it might strain your finances, rest assured, there are alternative payment options available that may better suit your situation. Here are the top 3 of 7 ways to pay for a funeral.

Paying upfront

Prepaid funeral plans allow you to pay for your funeral in advance, relieving your loved ones of the financial burden when the time comes. These plans can be tailored to your preferences and budget, providing peace of mind for you and your family.

For example, at Distinct Cremations, we offer 3 affordable funeral plans that can be paid for over monthly instalments of up to 10 years. Spreading out the cost this way breaks it down into small, regular sums that can be factored into your monthly budget.

Paying from the deceased’s bank account

In some cases, funds from the deceased's bank account can be used to cover funeral expenses. However, certain documents may be required to access these funds, such as a death certificate and proof of relationship.

What documents do I need for this?

When accessing funds from the deceased's bank account, you will typically need:

  • proof of your own identity,
  • a death certificate,
  • sufficient proof of your relationship to the deceased,
  • a funeral cost invoice, with your name on it.

Remember, if you've been provided access to the deceased person's bank accounts before their passing, using this information to access the funds without contacting the bank can potentially raise legal concerns. So, it's advisable to contact the bank and arrange payment through the appropriate channels to avoid any complications.

Other helpful resources

Learn more about the process of organising a funeral and how to make paying for a funeral as affordable as possible. If you need to arrange a funeral straight away, give our compassionate team a call on 01543 211997.

The documents you need to arrange a funeral

Woman sitting on sofa smiling while reading documents

In order for a funeral to go ahead, there is some paperwork that needs to be filled out. If you know you will be arranging a funeral in the near future it can be useful to know what to expect.

See more about funeral documents

Arrange a funeral from £1,199


Our helpful and experienced team can help you arrange a respectful funeral without frills at a low cost. Get in touch with us for more information about our funeral services.

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Save money with low cost funerals

Cremation costs

Funeral costs can vary greatly and the choices you make about the type of funeral and what to include can have a big impact on what you pay. These are some ways to minimise the costs.

Reduce funeral costs

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who followed their instinct with Distinct and chose to buy a funeral with us.

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Mark 21 May 2024
Excellent communication, very helpful and we got just what we wanted in a service. Highly recommended and we will use again. Mark Oliver
Anon 2 May 2024
Service very efficient, and comprehensive. Understandably, you "chased me up" when there was a delay in my response to place an order, but this delay was whilst I contacted all those relatives who might have had a view to express.
Anon 24 Apr 2024
I was very happy with the service I received and they are only a phone call away if I or my sons should need advice or help in any way
Wendy 8 Apr 2024
This is a good company, the cremation was dealt with very smoothly without any problems. The staff were very courteous and professional throughout. Everything was explained over the phone and they were very patient answering my questions. The ashes were delivered on time to my door. Highly recommended.
Anon 7 Apr 2024
They gave a superb service, they were very professional from start to finish, but also friendly and empathetic too, at what was a very difficult time for myself and the family
Anon 6 Apr 2024
Dee was lovely and understanding and advice was easy to understand
Anon 5 Apr 2024
Very kind and helpful lady. She talked me through everything that I asked her about.
Anon 1 Apr 2024
From the very first phone call I felt things were going to be handled well. Kindness compassion and helpful ness were shown throughout. I was kept informed about all the details and the person delivering the ashes was so respectful and kind taking the time to ask about my husbands life. This is who will handle my cremation.
Based on 711 reviews
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