What is included in funeral costs?

If you use a funeral director to arrange your service, you can expect funeral costs to involve some or all of the following; fee for their time and service, coffin / casket and or urn, catering, transport – hearse and other vehicles, flowers, fee for Celebrant, Church & Hall hire, placement of Death Notice and or Obituary in Newspaper, burial plot lease and earth removal, pallbearers, Graveside service, Memorial service, Cemetery / Mausoleum costs, headstone and engraving. Note that there may be other costs such as embalming and body moving but may fall under Funeral Director’s fee and items such as Headstone may take up to three months to be put in place.

What are funeral costs?

Every funeral has a different make up, depending on the religion, size of congregation and the amount of services required – main / grave / memorial. There may also be viewing required before the funeral at a Wake, as well as hall hire for a meeting after the funeral. Funeral costs will include anything related to the funeral. Everything from obtaining a Death Certificate to other paperwork through to publishing a Death Notice and Obituary and making phone calls. You may forgo passenger transport costs and prefer people to make their own way to the service. Costs are not standard, you can be as inclusive or elaborate as you feel necessary.

When do you pay funeral costs?

You may not have to pay any money to a Funeral Director before a funeral is arranged or takes place. This will be a financial arrangement between you and the Director. It’s possible you will be asked to pay a percentage beforehand but usually you have 14 to 30 days to settle any funeral costs. If you are having difficulties it is worth noting that some banks will allow money to be withdrawn by an Executor from an account to help pay funeral costs if it is an issue. If the sum in an account is low, Probate is not always necessary.

How to pay for funeral costs with life insurance?

Whether the deceased had a life insurance policy or you as partner had one for them, you cannot rely on life insurance paying the funeral bills in a timely fashion. In straight forward cases, you could probably expect the monies due to arrive within a few weeks of them receiving the Death Certificate – ample time to settle a funeral bill, perhaps sooner. However if there is any question about the death or issues with previous payments the delay could be months or longer.

How to pay for funeral costs with no money

If you are the benefactor or family member responsible for arranging and paying for a funeral, please consider your situation – on benefits, and that of the deceased. You may be able to get financial assistance from other family members, friends, crowd source or receive state aid.

How to estimate funeral costs?

As funerals tend to take place in a single local area, rather than nationwide, it’s quite easy to turn to an online funeral calculator and gauge funeral costs. You may not wish to decide upon the material for a coffin immediately but you can get a good estimate on the cost of a funeral before making a final decision on all you need.

How to compare funeral costs

Strange as it may seem, funeral costs are not the same UK wide. Not even within the same religion. Costs vary due to burial plot availability and the cost of connected local services and supplies. For instance the creation of a coffin or casket may be dearer in a major city than elsewhere. A Celebrant may charge more down South as opposed to up North.

When you compare funeral costs it’s also not easy to do so by location, for instance where a person lives or their family town is where they would usually get buried and most towns do not accept burials where there is no connection to their area. You can compare funeral costs online here, between the same religious venues in a specified area. Savings might be made on the type of coffin chosen and whether transport is required and where you buy flowers.

How to cover funeral costs

At some point in our life we will all experience a death of a relative. Some of the time the responsibility for settling a funeral service payment and all its costs will fall to us to pay. How you cover the funeral costs will suddenly become very important, very quickly. If you have been named as Executor of an Estate and there is value, you can use the proceeds to pay for the funeral. If there is cash in a bank account in the name of the deceased, this could be accessed immediately.

If there are no assets or a property needs to be sold first, you could get a loan against the property yourself or you may need state aid to help pay for the funeral. Even if you are not on benefits, you may qualify for financial assistance. In recent times some people have taken to Crowd-funding websites to fulfil all or part of a funeral payment.

How to avoid funeral costs / how to manage funeral costs

It’s not necessarily avoiding funeral costs but perhaps how best to get what’s required from the funeral service. If you find yourself responsible for organising a funeral and payment there are avenues such as state aid and gaining access to the Estate’s proceeds to pay for a funeral. There is no rule that you have to be lavish when it comes to a funeral service. There is no shame in having a standard coffin, one car to follow a hearse or simply have the bereaved, family and friends congregate outside the Crematorium or Church. Managing funeral costs is a sensible thing to do and the deceased would have probably felt it right to do.

Why are funeral costs rising?

The cost of a funeral has risen far faster than any other fixed service cost in the past decade. It regularly beats inflation and more than keeps up with house price increases, but why? Well just as the UK’s population is increasing, the ground beneath is getting a little crowded.

This means burial plot leases aren’t as widely available but new Cemeteries and Graveyards are brought in to use and the public’s preference for Cremation does alleviate the problem a lot. Other reasons for such increases are local authority fees for investments they make and need to recover, alongside rising living costs for those who provide the services, halls, religious venues and transport.

Are funeral costs vatable?

Yes. There are certain aspects of a funeral that are not VAT rated but this would not usually be a concern of a customer and they would pay VAT as normal. VAT exemption applies between funeral directors and certain industry service providers.

Are funeral costs negotiable / how to negotiate funeral costs?

Please do not feel guilty for thinking you should be able to negotiate funeral fees. The Funeral Director does the sums to make a profit, why shouldn’t you do the same to try to save money. That said, you may find it difficult negotiating fees with a Funeral Director for their services, that doesn’t prevent you comparing Funeral directors in the local though does it?

When it comes to each individual item, you do not have to opt for all services from the same Funeral Home or from the Director at all. You could place an order for flowers yourself, get the coffin or casket from another vendor, shop or have one custom made yourself at a lesser cost. You may also be able to shop around and get separate quotes on burial fees from different Churches and Cemeteries – though may only work out in a large City.

You have the final say on most aspects of the funeral, negotiation on cost simply becomes an art of asking the correct questions at the right places rather than directly to a Funeral Director.

Are prepaid funeral costs tax deductible?

For avoidance purposes, a prepaid funeral is not to be calculated within any Inheritance Tax. Should you have paid out fora Funeral plan already but are to be admitted to long term care, again means testing by a local council will not include this type of cover in any calculations. Good eh?

Are funeral costs tax deductible?

The only way funeral costs can fall under the remit of being tax deductible in any calculation is from the advice stated on the HMRC website. This states that You can deduct funeral expenses from the value of the estate, plus a reasonable amount for mourning expenses. Therefore amounts for a funeral and associated costs can be deducted from the value of an Estate for tax purposes. For real terms values and instance please contact a solicitor as each situation in the eyes of HMRC will be unique.