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Knowing a little more about paying for a funeral can help to set your mind at ease about what to expect.

Our friendly team can give guidance about how to pay for one of our low cost simple funerals whether you need to arrange a funeral for someone else or want to cover the costs of your own funeral.

The costs involved with paying for a funeral can vary depending on the type of funeral you choose, but the role of a funeral director or funeral provider is to guide you through the process.

Funeral providers will need an upfront payment to collect the deceased and begin the funeral arrangements, but they should give you clear information in advance about the prices of different funeral options and how to pay.

Funeral plans also provide the option to pay for your own funeral in advance. Doing so gives you the certainty that your funeral costs will be covered, relieves the burden of paying from your family and also allows you to choose the type of funeral that you would like.

Average cost of a UK funeral

Before we dive into the best ways to cover the cost of a funeral, it’s helpful to know what costs to expect, depending on what kind of funeral you’d like to arrange for yourself or for your loved one.

When considering the cost of a funeral in the UK, cremation often proves to be far less expensive compared to traditional burial. This helps to explain why cremation now constitutes 73%[1] of all funerals held in the UK, its cost-effectiveness, adaptability, and simplicity better aligning with contemporary requirements and attitudes.

As detailed in the Cost of Dying Report by SunLife, the average costs for each funeral option are as follows:

Traditional Burial Cremation Direct Cremation
Average Cost[2] £5,077 £3,795 £1,498

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

How do you pay for a funeral?

To simplify arrangements, most people prefer the emotional and logistical support of having someone experienced in arranging funerals to help them. This could be either a traditional funeral director or an established funeral provider.

At Distinct Cremations, we provide direct cremations, simple cremations and funeral plans.

Step 1: Choose your Provider

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Once you have chosen a funeral provider to help you with your arrangements, they will let you know the costs of the funeral you would like. You transfer money directly to them.

Step 2: Organise Your Celebrations

Family Of Three Embracing

Your funeral provider will then take care of most third-party costs and logistics on your behalf. This frees up your time for other aspects of the funeral arrangements like organising a wake.

Step 3: Cover the Admin Tasks

Signing papers

Your funeral provider will advise you about any arrangements you need to make and pay for yourself such as registering the death and paying the £11 fee for a death certificate.

It is possible to arrange a funeral without a funeral director and pay the crematorium fees directly or burial costs straight to the burial site.

However, the emotional toll of caring for the deceased before the funeral and transporting them to the funeral means most people prefer having a professional funeral provider to make arrangements on their behalf.

Ways to pay for a funeral

Concern about paying for a funeral is often centred around having the funds available at the time of need to cover the burial or cremation costs. If you're worried arranging a funeral will stretch your finances there may be alternative ways to pay that are better suited to you.

1. Using the funds of the person who has died

Some people choose to cover funeral costs using their personal savings, which can involve setting aside money specifically for this purpose over time. However, if you find yourself in a tough financial spot, you can use the money left behind in the bank account of the deceased to help pay for the funeral costs.

  1. Contact the bank
    When you inform the deceased’s bank of their passing, the bank will typically freeze the account until probate is granted, which is when funds can be distributed to beneficiaries.
  2. Gather relevant documents
    Normally, the executor manages this process. However, if no executor was named, it's still possible to request this payment. Generally, you'll need a copy of the death certificate, a funeral cost invoice in your name, and proof of identity.
  3. Accessing the funds
    Some banks may directly pay funeral expenses up to £5,000 to the funeral director upon presentation of an invoice, so make sure to inquire about this option early on in the process.

Keep in mind that, if you have been given the information to access the deceased person's accounts prior to their death, using these to pay for the funeral can lead to legal issues. It's best to contact the bank to arrange payment through proper channels.

If the deceased had a joint account and the other account holder is alive, they can still access the funds in the account.

2. Claiming the funeral money back from the deceased’s estate

If you're the one handling the arrangements and finances for the funeral, and if you're able to manage it, you can choose to pay for the funeral upfront and then seek reimbursement from the estate later on.

Typically, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the appointed executor, though it could also be undertaken by supportive family members or friends.

Legally, you have the right to reclaim these expenses before the estate's assets are distributed among beneficiaries, but this process may entail a considerable waiting period. You'll likely need to wait until the estate administration nears completion and probate is granted, which can span anywhere from nine to twelve months.

It's important to recognise that, while you're entitled to reimbursement from the estate, funeral costs rank behind secured debts like outstanding mortgages in terms of priority. Therefore, ensuring there's adequate funding in the estate to cover these expenses is crucial. If you find yourself in need of financial support during this interim period, some funeral directors may offer flexibility, allowing delayed payment or instalment plans until estate matters are settled.

Remember, you're not obligated to cover funeral costs personally. If the estate lacks sufficient funds to cover the costs, you may explore options for assistance from your local council or government to cover some or all of the funeral expenses.

3. Government support

The UK Government offers a financial scheme to help UK citizens pay for the funeral of a loved one called a Funeral Expenses Payment. However, for this particular scheme, you must:

  • already claim benefits or tax credits
  • meet specific rules on your relationship with the deceased
  • arrange the funeral in the UK, European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland

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

Additionally, 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.

It's important to note that this payment typically doesn't cover the entirety of the funeral expenses. The amount you receive depends on your individual circumstances, taking into account any other available funds to cover the costs, such as insurance policies or assets from the deceased person's estate.

This same scheme is known as a Funeral Support Payment in Scotland.

Alternatively, the local council or hospital can arrange a Public Health Funeral, which is usually a cremation, which mourners can attend.

4. Support from charities

Certain charities may offer financial assistance to help families cover funeral expenses, especially if the deceased person belonged to a particular group or community.

Here are some general examples:

Child Funeral Charity

The Child Funeral Charity (CFC) extends support to families in England and Wales who are faced with the heartbreaking task of arranging a funeral for a baby or child aged 16 or under. While many compassionate professionals such as funeral directors, clergy, and celebrants often waive their fees, there are still other funeral-related expenses that can pose significant challenges for grieving parents and families.

The organisation provides financial assistance to help cover these costs, along with offering practical advice and guidance during difficult times.

Friends of the Elderly

Friends of the Elderly accepts applications from older individuals with limited incomes through their 'financial support' grant scheme. This includes assistance with funeral expenses. Their grants for funeral costs are aimed at helping older people who are responsible for the funeral bill of a loved one, offering compassionate support during a challenging time.

5. Funeral plans

Getting a funeral plan allows you to pay for a funeral in advance and, depending on the provider, offers the opportunity to spread the cost over 10 years.

We can’t speak for all providers, but, to give you an idea of what’s included in a direct cremation plan with Distinct Cremations, here’s a brief overview:

  • Collection of the deceased 24/7 from anywhere in the UK mainland
  • Care at our state-of-the-art professional mortuary
  • Preparation of the deceased for cremation
  • Help with all legal and cremation paperwork
  • 24/7 support from our customer service team
  • Transport of the deceased via private ambulance
  • A simple coffin
  • Respectful and dignified cremation
  • Ashes scattered in our crematorium remembrance gardens or personally hand-delivered within 14 days

With Distinct Cremations, you can pay for a direct cremation plan in one single payment or over 12 months. Acceptance is guaranteed if you are over 18, and there are no medical questions or upper age limits. If you are aged between 50 & 74, you can also pay over 5 or 10 years for a lower monthly payment.

Compare funeral plans

6. Over 50s life cover

Over 50s life cover, also known as over 50s life insurance, is tailored for individuals aged 50 and above, as the name implies. There are typically maximum age limits to consider; usually, individuals need to be under 80-85 years old to purchase this cover.

With over 50s life cover, you make monthly payments, and upon your passing, a lump sum of money is provided to your beneficiaries. The payout amount is predetermined when you start the policy and remains fixed throughout. Likewise, the agreed-upon monthly payments do not change over time.

The beneficiaries then have the freedom to put the insurance money towards funeral expenses (although the amount is not guaranteed to cover all funeral costs).

7. Life insurance

When you opt for a life insurance policy, you make monthly payments over a specified duration. If, during this period, you pass away, your spouse, children, or chosen beneficiary will receive a lump sum payout. Your loved ones can then use this lump sum payout to pay for the funeral costs, which can relieve any financial stress at such a difficult time.

You have the flexibility to select the duration of coverage and the size of the payout according to your preferences, which will influence the amount you pay for the policy.

The type of life insurance you choose determines whether your payout amount may grow, diminish, or remain constant over time. It's important to consider these factors carefully to ensure your loved ones are adequately provided for.

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Who pays for a funeral?

The responsibilities of paying for a funeral are often taken on by the deceased person's spouse or children. Sometimes it is another relative or close friend who takes on the organisation and covers the costs.

The person who has taken responsibility for the funeral arrangements can either pay for it themselves, split the cost with other family members or pay and then claim the money back from their loved one's estate.

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Paying for a funeral yourself

If you want to cover your own funeral costs, or you know you’ll be the one paying for the funeral of someone who’s died, you can save up to have the money ready.

Be aware though that the cost of funerals may rise and you may need to top up your savings to make sure you have enough to cover future costs.

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Paying from your loved one's estate

If someone dies, the money to cover the costs of their funeral can be taken out of their estate. Access to a person's bank accounts can take some time though and selling a property will usually take even longer.

In the meantime, the person organising the funeral will most likely have to pay upfront with their own money.

How it works with Distinct Cremations

Our affordable cremation funerals offer either a direct cremation without mourners present or a simple attended cremation service. They can be paid for either at the time of need or in advance with a funeral plan.

Find our funeral services below or alternatively you can view our CMA standardised price list.

Arrange a funeral

From £1,199

Whether your loved one has died or is near to death, our caring team will support you with the arrangements from collecting and caring for your loved one to completing all paperwork and facilitating the funeral itself.

Set up a funeral plan

From £1,699 or £19.44* per month

Relax knowing that your funeral arrangements are agreed and paid for, protecting you from any future rise in costs.

* Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £2,332.80 and includes administration fees.

Call our compassionate and experienced team on 01543 212000 for more information about our products and services or get a free guide on our website.

Help paying for a funeral

Worried about paying for a funeral? In the instance that you and your family aren't able to pay for your loved one's funeral, government or charity support may be available to you.

Governmental support

You may be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment from the government if you already receive benefits, a Bereavement Support Payment if your partner has died or support from the Children’s Funeral Fund for England for a child's funeral.

Charitable support

Some charities provide support to help with funeral costs or to ease the cost of living for bereaved families. Eligibility is often linked to the profession of the person who has died or a specific illness they suffered from during their life.

Friends of the Elderly offers support and grants for older people experiencing financial hardship.

The Child Funeral Charity and React can help cover funeral and memorial expenses that are not covered by the government for children's funerals.

For those working or who worked in a nursing or caring profession, support may be available from the Royal College of Nursing Foundation or The Care Workers' Charity.

Veterans or members of the armed forces could be eligible for financial support with funeral costs from the British Legion, The Soldiers' Charity, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund or The Royal Navy Benevolent Trust.

RABI is a charity that provides grants to those in the farming community and The Fishermen's Mission offers support to fishermen.

Bereavement support is available for many more industries like the civil service (The Charity For Civil Servants), the transport industry (Transport Benevolent Fund) and drinks hospitality (The Drinks Trust).

Reducing the cost of a funeral

One way to significantly reduce the cost of a funeral, when compared to a traditional funeral, is by opting for a dignified, fuss-free direct cremation plan.

Direct cremation offers families a compassionate and financially manageable option during a difficult time. By bypassing traditional funeral services such as embalming and elaborate ceremonies, direct cremation significantly reduces expenses. This allows families to focus on honouring their loved one's memory in a simpler and more affordable manner.

Plus, without the need for immediate arrangements and ceremonies, families have the flexibility to plan memorial services or celebrations of life at a later time, according to their wishes and financial capabilities.

Unattended Direct Cremation Plan

From £1,699
or £19.44* per month

Celebrate a life without the restrictions of a funeral

  • A simple, dignified and
    affordable option
  • No formal service or
    attendees present
Find out more

Small Attended Cremation Plans

From £2,099
or £25.23** per month

Two simple service options for a family-led send off

  • A 10 minute service for
    up to 8 attendees OR
  • A 20 minute service for up to 20 attendees
Find out more

Simple
Funeral Plan

From £2,999
or £28.45*** per month

A respectful cremation funeral led by a celebrant

  • Unrestricted number
    of attendees
  • A full length service at
    the crematorium
Find out more

* Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £2,332.80 and includes administration fees. ** Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £3,027.60 and includes administration fees. *** Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £4,494.00 and includes administration fees.

For additional pricing information and a full list of our optional extras, please see our price list.

Paying for a funeral in advance

Anxiety you may feel about how you or your family could pay for a funeral in future can be eased by planning ahead. Choosing a no fuss funeral is one way to keep funeral costs low, but you may also like to consider taking out a funeral plan.

A funeral plan, for yourself or someone else, gives you peace of mind that a funeral has been paid for in advance.

Funeral plans

With a funeral plan, the funeral you've chosen will go ahead, regardless of any rising costs in the future. Having a plan in place also makes it clear in advance what type of funeral you would like. Monthly payment options allow you to spread the funeral costs over a longer period of time to make a funeral more affordable.

You can set up a funeral plan for yourself or someone else. We have funeral plans for both our unattended cremation funerals and our personal attended cremation services.

Other useful resources

Learn more about the process of organising a funeral and how to make paying for a funeral as affordable as possible. Or if you need to arrange a funeral straightaway, give our compassionate team a call on 01543 212000.

The documents you need to arrange a funeral

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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

Arrange a Funeral

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.

Arrange a funeral

Save money with low cost funerals

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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.

5/5
Based on 714 reviews Feefo Logo Feefo Gold 2024
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Anon 30 May 2024
first class
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.
5/5
Based on 714 reviews
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