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Cost of a funeral falls for second year in a row

16th January 2023

2 min read

Infographic entitled The cost of dying showing funeral figures from 2021 and 2022, discussed below.

SunLife’s latest Cost of Dying report – the longest-running study into funeral prices – has revealed that the cost of a basic funeral has fallen to £3,953.

This is a decrease of 2.5% from the previous year – the second consecutive drop in price, and still only the second-ever fall since the research began in 2004. However, during this 18-year period, there’s been an astonishing 116% rise in funeral costs.

Mark Screeton, SunLife's CEO, commented:

“It’s surprising to see, at a time when everything else is going up in price, that funeral costs have fallen for a second consecutive year. We’ve never witnessed this trend before in our almost two decades of research.

“With UK inflation hitting its highest rate in 40 years, this feels like a rare piece of financially positive news among all the other gloomy economic headlines.”

But the overall cost of dying – which includes the funeral plus the professional fees and the send-off – has risen by 3.8% to £9,200. This is nearly an all-time high for the cost of dying.

How does the cost break down?

Although the cost of a basic funeral is lower than last year, it’s the other two elements – professional fees and the send-off – that have pushed up the total cost of dying.

Hiring a professional to administer the estate has increased a significant 10.9% since the 2022 report, reaching an average £2,578. And the amount spent on the send-off – that’s optional extras, such as flowers, catering, and limousines – adds a further £2,669, up 7.4%.

Why has the cost of a funeral fallen?

Mark goes on to say:

“The continued fall in funeral costs may, in part, be down to certain trends from the days of lockdown remaining popular, even after the pandemic. Direct cremations, for instance, are a cheaper alternative, and became necessary during COVID-19. Yet we’ve seen their levels relatively unchanged since.

“Recent regulation from the Competition and Markets Authority has also ordered funeral directors to display prices on both their premises and website – which wasn’t required before 2021. Some funeral directors told us that, as a result, they’ve reassessed and reduced their prices.

“All this said, we have seen in an increase in the total cost of dying from last year, suggesting that the fees and extras associated with funerals are moving in line with the rising prices we’re seeing in most other areas of our lives.

“It’s now becoming more necessary than ever to share your final wishes with loved ones so they don’t end up spending more than you’d want them to. Likewise, making some kind of provision for your own funeral can be a big help to your family at what will be a difficult time.”

You can read the full summary webpage and download SunLife's comprehensive 2023 Cost of Dying PDF report at

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