Your Thoughts on Funerals

We took to the streets to ask the public about their thoughts on funerals and funeral expenses. Find the results below.

There's never a good time for a death to occur, but being prepared in advance can help to take away some of the associated stress. When we've lost a loved one, the last thing we want to think about is finances and how to afford a funeral. That's why it's important to have a funeral plan in place and let your family know what to expect when the time comes. But despite more than half of us agreeing that funeral plans are an excellent way to prepare for the future, an even smaller amount of us actually have one in place.

We recently conducted research into the way people view funerals and their associated costs. Here's what we learned:

Q1. Do you have a plan in place for your own funeral?
Yes 25%
No 10%
Q2. What is your plan? (Select all that apply)
I have a pre-paid funeral plan to cover for these things 24%
I have written/spoken instructions for my family in the eventuality of my death and savings in place 21.5%
I have life insurance to cover for these things 17%
I have already paid for my own funeral 14%
I have an over 50s plan to cover for these things 13%
I know what type of funeral I want but I haven't planned it 10%
I have specific instructions for my funeral but I haven't saved any money 10%
Other 2%
Q3. What type of funeral do you want?
Cremation 42%
I haven't thought about my own funeral at all 24%
Burial 16%
I don't have a preference 16%
Other 2%
Q4. Why did you choose cremation? (Select all that apply)
I don't want to be buried 43.5%
It's a cheaper option than a burial 33%
I want my ashes to be scattered somewhere I love 32.5%
I want my family to choose what to do with them to remember me 18%
I don't want my family to have to see me being buried 14%
Other 3%
Q5. If you had the choice, where would you like your funeral service if you were to have it in a place of importance instead of a religious site? (Select all that apply)
N/A; I don't have a preference 32%
At a crematorium/cemetery 24%
Countryside/riverside location (vista point) 17%
On a beach 15.5%
A pub/bar 8%
In a park 7.5%
A music venue 6%
A sports venue 5%
Other 3%
Q6. What age do you think people should start planning their funeral?
Under 20 0%
20 – 30 10%
31 – 40 15%
41 – 50 23%
51 – 60 23%
61 – 65 23%
66 or over 6%
Q7. If you could change anything about funerals, what would it be, if anything? (Select all that apply)
The cost 50%
It being so sombre and sad 26%
Having to wear black 23%
The religious side of funerals 22%
The overall fuss of a funeral 21%
N/A; I wouldn't change anything 19%
The music they play 12%
Person walking in front of the funeral car 11%
Curtains being closed at the crematorium 10%
Having to follow behind the hearse 9%
Having a hearse 9%
Other 1%
Q8. What, if anything, describes your perfect funeral?
N/A; I don't have a perfect funeral 22%
A funeral that was more upbeat or colourful celebration of my life 20%
No service or fuss, just the minimum necessary send off 20%
A small service for my close family and friends, with a wake afterwards 17%
An eco-friendly or woodland burial type funeral with an eco-coffin 11%
Traditional funeral with a hearse and a service for all my family and friends 10%
Other 0%
Q9. Where, if anywhere, do/would you keep ashes of a loved one? (Select all that apply)
I have/would scatter them in a place as per the deceased's wishes 31%
I have not/would not keep the ashes 29%
I have/would scattered them in a memorable place 24%
In an urn in my house 15%
In jewellery I have had made 13.5%
I have had/would have a tattoo using a loved ones ashes 7%
In an urn in my garden or outhouse/shed 6%
Other 1%
Q10. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "Funerals in the UK are outdated"
Strongly agree 16%
Somewhat agree 24%
Neither agree nor disagree 40.0%
Somewhat disagree 11%
Strongly disagree 9%
Q11. Have you got savings in place for emergencies?
Yes 50%
No 40%
Prefer not to say 10%
Q12. How much in savings do you have for emergencies?
Up to £5,000 16%
£5,001 - £10,000 36%
£10,001 - £15,000 14%
£15,001 - £20,000 23%
Over £20,000 11%
Q13. The average cost of a funeral in the UK is around £4,200. If a loved one passed away tomorrow, would you be able to afford this?
Yes 47%
No 45%
Prefer not to say 8%
Q14. If you were not able to afford this, how would you get the money to pay for a funeral? (Select all that apply)
Borrow from family and friends 27%
Get a loan 23%
The deceased person's estate would cover the cost 22%
Prefer not to say 17%
Fundraise through GoFundMe or other crowd funding platforms 15%
Sell items I own (car etc) 15%
Use a credit card/s 14%
I'd have to get an emergency payday loan 10%
Other 4%
Q15. Whose job is it to plan for your funeral? (Select all that apply)
It's mine 56%
It's my partners/spouses 23%
Not sure 22%
It's my children's 15%
Other 1%
Q16. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "The Covid-19 pandemic made me think differently about funerals"
Strongly agree 15%
Somewhat agree 22%
Neither agree nor disagree 39%
Somewhat disagree 9%
Strongly disagree 15%
Q17. Do you know what a direct cremation is? (have you heard of direct cremation?)
Yes 40%
No 60%
Q18. A direct cremation is a lower-cost alternative to a traditional funeral. It removes the need for a traditional funeral director and takes away much of the fuss and ceremony but still provides for a cremation. You can choose an unattended cremation or a simple attended service. After reading this, would you consider it?
Yes 36%
Maybe 40
No 21%
I've already paid for my own direct cremation 3%
Q19. Do you know anyone who has had a direct cremation?
Yes 19%
No 81%
Q20. Have you heard of Distinct Cremations?
Yes 17%
No 83%