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How we calculate funeral costs

2 min read

Every year, SunLife commissions research into funeral costs with Critical Research, a leading independent market research company.

Working out average funeral costs

The average funeral costs used within our funeral cost calculator are weighted by the percentage of burials and cremations in the UK, and are calculated using non discretionary (basic) and discretionary (additional) funeral costs. For non discretionary costs we use the average funeral costs given to us by funeral directors.

Non discretionary (basic) funeral costs cover the basic elements of a funeral and include:

  1. Professional Services:
    • Collection of the deceased from within 20/25 mile radius
    • All care of the deceased, robe and dressing
    • Necessary arrangements – pre-paying of disbursements and attending to all essential documentation, making/receiving all necessary phone calls
    • Use of the chapel of rest for viewing of deceased during normal working hours
    • Provision of a hearse and one limousine with attendants (one director and four bearers) for deceased and family to and from cemetery/crematoria
    • A mid-range, oak veneer coffin as standard
  2. Clergy or officiates fees to conduct a service. Alternatively the costs of the humanist celebrant if you opt for a non religious service
  3. Doctors fees for certification (not required if you want a burial)
  4. Cost of the cremation or burial

The calculator is intended to give an indication of funeral costs. Non discretionary (additional) funeral costs are the additional items you can choose to personalise a funeral and the costs are obtained through an online consumer survey run every year in May, and published the following January. Please note that a number of these average costs are based on a small sample size and included for completeness, so should be treated with caution.

Additional Cost What does this mean?
Funeral Flowers Floral tributes at the funeral service
Death Notice Notice placed in a newspaper to inform family and friends that someone has passed away
Funeral Notice Notice placed in a newspaper to inform family and friends when the funeral will take place
Additional Limousine A limousine is calculated in the basic funeral costs above, some people require more than one
Order Sheets An order of service for the funeral (often kept as a keepsake)
Memorial This can be a headstone, naming a bench after a loved one to internment of ashes
Catering for wake/funeral Food/drink for the reception following the service
Venue Hire A hall or similar to hold the funeral reception/wake

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