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A Price on Life

When you are faced with the death of a loved one, the last thing on your mind is how much you will have to spend.
However, research by Mintel, for AXA Sun Life Direct, has revealed the cost of a standard UK funeral has soared, with the average price now £2,549 - up 32.8 per cent since 2004. And when you take into consideration all the other fees and disbursements, the average cost of dying has topped £6,698.
A chunk of this is probate costs - administration of the estate - however there are lots of other outgoings to consider. Flowers, order sheets for the service, a book of remembrance, venue hire, catering, limousine and a funeral notice in the local paper all make the occasion - and the person - a special one to remember.
The research found 77 per cent of all funerals are cremations. Simon Smith, co-author of We Need to Talk About the Funeral, believes the rise in cost is partly down to increasing fees. "Exeter Crematorium fees, for example, have gone up from £420 to £575 in two years," said Simon.

Northern Echo 18 April 2009

The average funeral now tops 6,500.
Polly Weeks
explores the total cost of dying.

"The reason they give for this is because laws are changing in terms of omissions and they have to clean up their act by 2012, which they say is very expensive."
"Doctors' fees have gone up too. It now costs £147 for two doctors to sign the forms for a cremation and a few years ago it was only £108." A burial funeral now averages £4,212 - 50 per cent higher than the national mean.
But how can you put a price on losing a family member or friend? Thankfully, there are ways to save money without compromising the send-off they deserve.
First, work out exactly how you'd like the funeral and what you and your friends can do yourself. For example, is it possible to have the wake at your house and do your own catering?
The research showed 90 per cent of people who recently organised a funeral only got quotes from one funeral director.
But if you have the time, look around and make sure you are getting what you want, within budget.
If you have people attending the funeral who want to be coffin bearers, don't pay the funeral director for this additional cost. You may find you are paying for four professional bearers when family and friends are willing and wanting to do the job themselves. It will also add a personal touch to the funeral.
While the cost of burials range throughout the country, it is worth remembering that if you live in a parish, you have the right to be buried in the local churchyard, which costs just £190. However you will have to have a Christian service alongside it, which may or may not be your preference.
Finally, if you are investing in a funeral plan, make sure you read the small print. Some add a supplement charge if the costs of cremation and burial fees have gone up more than inflation, costs which are out of direct control of the funeral director.

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