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Six common funeral myths that could save you money

DO YOU believe these common myths about the cost of funerals?

While a send-off can be expensive, you might be surprised to learn how you and your family could save money.

You might be surprised at how much you could save on funeral costs

You might be surprised at how much you could save on funeral costs

No-one likes to think about their own funeral.

But with even a basic funeral costing £4,056 on average*, there are some expenses that you may choose to skip.

1. MYTH: “The government will pay for the funeral”

A local council may step in to pay for a funeral – but only when someone dies alone, in poverty or unclaimed by family.

Sometimes called a ‘pauper’s funeral’, these Public Health Funerals don’t have a service. The deceased will be laid to rest in an unmarked grave.

So, if you want a funeral with a service, wake or extras like flowers and transport, you’ll need to cover the costs. That’s why it’s best to have a financial plan in place.

2. MYTH: “You must have a funeral service”

Most people would like a service for their own or their loved one’s funeral. But there’s no law that says you het aan.

One option is to have a direct cremation, which is a cremation without a service.

The ashes are returned to loved ones, who can choose to have a send-off separately, at a time that suits them.

Direct cremations weren’t widely advertised until recently.

But thanks to new regulations, funeral directors and crematoriums now have to make their prices clear.

Direct cremations are becoming ever more popular. David Bowie even chose to have one over a traditional funeral.

A funeral service isn't always necessary

A funeral service isn’t always necessary

3. MYTH: “You have to use a funeral director”

There’s no doubt that a funeral director can help during a stressful time. They can make sure everything runs smoothly and support you.

But they can also be expensive – which is why some people choose to arrange the funeral themselves.

Most funeral directors’ fees include the coffin, a hearse, collection and care of the body, plus help with paperwork.

So keep in mind you’ll need to tackle these yourself if you’re not using one.

If you do choose to use a funeral director, try shopping around for quotes until you find one that suits your budget.

  • Try this free tool that records your funeral wishes

4. MYTH: “The body has to be embalmed”

There’s no law that says you must get the deceased embalmed before a funeral.

Embalming preserves the body for a short time.

People choose it because they’d like their loved one to be on view, and so want them to appear as close to life as possible.

But certain religions don’t allow embalming.

It’s also not allowed if you’re having a funeral at a natural burial site, as the embalming fluid could affect the soil.

5. MYTH: “You need a hearse to transport the coffin”

Transporting the coffin in a hearse is a well-established tradition.

But the coffin can be transported in any vehicle that can carry it safely.

According to SunLife’s Cost of Dying report, people have taken coffins to funerals in lots of unusual ways.

One person said the coffin arrived in an “open-top carriage pulled by Hells Angels on massive motorbikes”.

Another took their loved one “in the back of a Ford Transit”. So there are no hard and fast rules.

6. MYTH: “Funeral flowers are a must”

Funeral flowers cost £206 on average*. But you don’t have to spend on them if you don’t want to, or can’t.

In werklikheid, when people were asked how they saved money when organising a funeral, ‘spending less on flowers’ was the top answer (along with choosing a cheaper coffin).

Some people ask their loved ones to donate to their favourite charity instead of buying flowers.

Whether you would like flowers at your funeral or not, there’s no wrong choice.

What matters is that it works for you and your loved ones.

Help your family save on funeral costs

Do you want flowers at your funeral? What about your send-off music?

Perhaps you want to be sent off in style, or just want a simple affair.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to let your family know your wishes.

It could stop them spending money on unnecessary expenses.

SunLife has created a free, simple tool that lets you record your funeral wishes to send to your loved ones.

My Perfect Send-Off only takes a few minutes, and it could save your family time and money.

Let your family know your funeral wishes – it’s free.

*SunLife Cost of Dying report 2022