You may have already decided whether you would like to be buried or cremated, but if you haven't then it's helpful to know the costs associated with both.

What is the average cost of a funeral?

The Sun Life Direct Cost of Dying Report 2014 found that the price of a funeral will cost you as much as 3,590.

If you include the additional costs associated with estate administration and other discretionary funeral costs the cost can rise to as much as 8,427.

To see the Cost of Dying Report 2014 you can visit the Sun Life Direct website.

Burial vs Cremation

You may have a personal preference on whether to be cremated or buried, whichever you choose it's important to consider the cost implication of both.

The cost of a cremation and burial can differ significantly across the UK with the average cost of cremation costing around 500-600 with burials costing considerably more at around 1,500.

Breaking down the costs

If you want to try and reduce the cost of your funeral then choosing a cheaper coffin or urn is worth investigating. You have a number of options available for burial or cremation, including:

Cardboard coffin - starting from around 100

Wicker/willow coffin* - starting from around 125

Biodegradable coffin* - starting from around 350

American casket (coffin with top that can be opened halfway)* - starting from around 700

Urn - starting from around 25

Biodegradable urn - starting from around 40

Casket - starting from around 100

*Burial only

If you are being cremated you will need to work out the overall cost of buying a coffin, urn and a casket if chosen. This is in contrast to a burial when you will only need to buy a coffin from the list.

Burial plot

If you choose to be buried you will need to pay for exclusive rights of burial on a plot of land, this is typically granted for a period of 50-99 years.

You have the option of extending the term, but are never able to purchase a term that exceeds 100 years. Within the granted period, the grave cannot be used without written permission from your next of kin.

The cost of reserving a plot will vary depending on where you live, for example:

To find out how much a burial plot would cost near you visit the DirectGov website.

Essential funeral service fees

Arranging someone to arrange and host your funeral can come with varying costs. We look at a few of the costs associated with funeral planning:

Funeral director - When you pay a funeral director, you are usually paying for the use of a hearse, a limousine, a basic coffin and service at the nearest venue for the funeral. According to figures from the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), a typical cost for this would be 1,515. For further details you can visit the NAFD website.

Minister's fee - The cost of a minister, according to the Church of England, can be as much as 295 (for burial in a churchyard). For all other prices you can visit the Church of England website.

Celebrant - The benefit of using a celebrant is that you can conduct the funeral in any way you wish, without following any formulated guidelines set out by religion. You can find local celebrants on the funeral celebrant's website, with all costs ranging from 150 to 200 which can be paid for via your funeral director.

Doctor's fee - You will need 2 doctors to sign the following forms before a cremation is legal:

  • Form 4 - Certificate of medical attendant (80 fee)
  • Form 5 - Confirmatory medical certificate (80 fee)

Both fees are paid by the funeral director according to the British Medical Association (BMA). For further details you can visit the BMA website.

Flowers - It is not always essential to organise flowers for a funeral, but it continues to be a traditional and beautiful sign of respect to mark the end of a person's life. The cost of flowers can vary depending on where you source them from, with most local and online flower shops able to arrange a funeral sheaf, wreath or casket spray with prices ranging from 35 to 270.

Organist - If you wish to have an organist play at your funeral then the venue you choose may already have a pre-designated organist available. A fee will be determined by the venue administrator, which is typically paid for through the funeral director.

Hosting a wake - Deciding on how much you want to spend on a wake can be difficult, as you tend to cater for as many people who can attend following a funeral. Based on this, the cost could be as small as a box of tea-bags and cakes, or an open bar for a large group.

Press notices - Many local newspapers will charge a nominal fee for announcing a death in the form of an obituary. If you wish to have your obituary announced on a nationwide newspaper such as The Telegraph it will cost you 30.

What can you do to prepare financially for your funeral?

Many common funeral expenses can be reduced to fit your budget, such as the type of coffin you choose, but the bigger expenses such as burial and funeral director fees are always going to cost you in the 1,000s so if you can you need to plan for the cost.

Read our guide on "5 Diverse & Effective Ways to Pay for Your Funeral" for more help, followed by our guide on "How to Prepare Your Finances for Death".

To make sure you anticipate all expenses for your funeral you can read our "Funeral Planning: A Comprehensive Checklist".