Guide to Funerals

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ToDo: Put something in here about Wills.


Beyond… offer an online portal to compare funeral director prices and reviews. The service is free to families; the funeral firm is charged a small fee.[1] Beyond also has a useful page of Guides, including one on How to pay for a funeral with no money.CH

  • Mar.12.2018: We're Giving Dignity a Helping Hand. Dignity are generally significantly more expensive - more than double - than the average funeral director. They do not publish their prices transparently online, so we gathered all their paper pricing sheets and uploaded them into our website format for easy comparison. Beyond....


  • Nov.18.2018: Battle lines drawn over ‘illegal’ rise in probate fees. Legal bodies such as the Law Society are preparing a lobbying effort to derail a govt plan to hike probate fees to as much as £6,000. “Our concern is that this rise is not within the powers of the government, because probate has gone from being an administration charge to being one that cross-subsidises other areas of the Ministry of Justice.” Individuals in England and Wales are currently charged £155 to apply for probate via a a solicitor, and £215 to apply directly. The fee is payable only on estates worth £5,000 or more. From April, in a move that has been branded a stealth tax, the fee will be banded according to an estate’s value. There will be no fee for managing an estate worth less than £50,000, but a £6,000 charge will be levied on estates of £2m or more. This is the government’s second attempt to increase probate fees. In 2016, it proposed separate charges that would have increased the maximum cost to £20,000. However, this was stopped after MPs and peers across all parties raised concerns that the government was acting outside its powers. James Coney, The Times.
  • Aug.20.2018: Watford named most expensive place in UK to have a funeral. Company behind survey says average cost of a funeral has risen by 33% in past 2 years. Seven towns and cities have average funeral costs of more than £5,000, according to the survey conducted by the funeral price comparison site Beyond. The UK average is £4,241, up from £3,190 in 2016, it found. After Watford, in Hertfordshire, where funerals cost £5,814 on average, the next most expensive places are London, Redhill and Guildford in Surrey, Liverpool, Newport and Brighton. The cheapest place for funerals is Derby – the only area where the average cost is below £3,000. Funerals can be arranged in Swansea, Stockport and Belfast for an average of £3,100 or less. James Dunn, of Beyond, said: “A lack of transparency in the funeral market is what’s fuelling prices, particularly among the big chains. Death means big business, with half a million Brits dying every year. But a disinclination to shop around is resulting in mourners, who are often vulnerable, paying over the odds.” The Co-op Funeralcare, the UK’s biggest funeral provider, disputed Beyond’s research. It said its own data showed the average funeral cost, including third-party fees, to be about £3,900. A spokesperson said: “Over recent years, we have taken a number of steps to lead the way in tackling funeral affordability. We conduct almost 100,000 funerals every year, and our average funeral cost including third-party fees is significantly lower than the figures quoted. We have also introduced a new lower-priced choice funeral option this year, which is priced at £1,395, including third-party costs.” Dignity, the second-biggest funeral chain in the UK, also owns more than 45 private crematoria. It announced this month it would close about 100 of its 800 funeral parlours over the next 10 years in an effort to reduce costs in a competitive market. A spokesperson said that Dignity had frozen the cost of its full service funerals and cut by 25% the cost of its no-frills service. Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian. See also articles at the bottom of this page.
  • Jun.02.2018: Watchdog investigates the rising cost of death. Two official reviews have begun into Britain’s £2 billion funeral industry amid claims that families are being ripped off by rising costs. Funerals in parts of the country can cost three times more than in the cheapest areas, according to research cited by the Competition & Markets Authority. Prices have risen by 70% in a decade, pushing the poorest families into restrictive pre-paid contracts or “pauper’s funerals” run by councils. The average cost of a funeral was almost £3,800 last year, with extras such as flowers and catering adding another £2,000. The poorest families can spend up to a third of their annual income on a funeral. Dignity, one of Britain’s biggest funeral providers, charged £5,300 for a “traditional” funeral at a branch in Glasgow, more than double what it charged in a village in Cheshire, according to research by the price comparison website Beyond. Another service cost £4,850 at a branch in Newcastle and £3,050 in another branch a ten-minute drive away, Beyond said. The findings were disputed by Dignity. The funeral market is estimated to be worth £2bn a year. The two biggest operators are the Co-op and Dignity, which arrange 28% of funerals. Alex Ralph, Martin Strydom, The Times.
  • Jun.02.2018: Costumes and bright colours are the new black at funerals. Mourners are increasingly ditching black and wearing bright colours and even superhero outfits at funerals. David Collingwood, the so-called King of Funerals at Co-op Funeralcare, said that changing attitudes meant that people “cared less about what Aunty Gladys or the neighbours think” and chose services that best reflected those they had lost. Georgie Keate, The Times.
  • Apr.11.2018: Martin Legacy. Because of my loss, no other parent will have to bear the burden of finding money for their own child's funeral. Carolyn Harris, @CarolynHarris24, Twitter.
  • Apr.01.2018: Children’s burial fees go after outcry. Theresa May has ordered the setting up of a funeral fund after The Sunday Times highlighted a rise in ‘funeral poverty’. Theresa May will scrap burial fees for children in a victory for The Sunday Times’s funeral poverty campaign. Caroline Wheeler, Gabriel Pogrund, The Sunday Times.