The cost of dying – Financial Advice with Kevin Clancy
Two separate reviews have been announced into the high cost of funerals. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is reviewing funeral costs “to ensure that people are not getting a bad deal.”
At the same time, the Treasury is investigating pre-paid funeral plans. Consumer groups have complained that people who pay for their funerals in advance could find their relatives face extra costs after they die.
The Treasury is considering a move that would mean tougher regulation of pre-paid funerals and is opening a consultation process.
The CMA said that because of the Treasury’s separate action, it would not examine the pre-paid funerals sector. Instead, it will look into the cost of funerals in general. It wants to ensure that people have clear information on prices and services and get a fair deal on cremation fees.
The average cost of a funeral in 2017 was nearly £3,800, the CMA said. Many plans do not cover costs such as embalming, limousines, a funeral service, a wake, burial plots or memorial stones.
In some cases, families are left having to find an extra £2,000 even though they expect such items to be included.
To buy the parts of a funeral separately, rather than as a plan, these would be the typical costs, although they can vary in different parts of the UK The CMA intends to publish an interim report in six months’ time, with a final report coming six months after that.
The Treasury is considering a suggestion from consumer group Fairer Finance that the Financial Conduct Authority should play a role in regulating pre-paid funeral plans.
At present, regulation largely comes under theFuneral Planning Authority (FPA) which has limited powers to punish abuses.
The FPA said outside regulation would lead to less choice, higher costs and “a less dedicated oversight of the market”, it argued.
“We continue to raise awareness among customers about how important it is to buy a funeral plan from an FPA registered provider. Only these providers will have undergone stringent checks and will be operating to an agreed set of standards, designed to protect the customer,”it said.
Funeral services firm Dignity’s Head of Insight Simon Cox, welcomed the Treasury’s consultation: “It is excellent news that the government has decided to do something about mis-selling in the funeral plan sector.
“Our research has shown that bad practices like persistent and pushy cold-calling are rife among firms that have no oversight from a regulatory body.
Moving deceased to Chapel of Rest £99
Hearse and chauffeur £315
Coffin £275 to £1,500 or more
Minister or officiant fee £148
Funeral directors’ professional fees £1,000 to £1,500
Doctor’s fees (not payable in Scotland) £164
Cremation fee £660
Cremation urn £200
Ash plot £450
Interment fee (grave-digging and backfilling for a single depth grave) £150 to £1,734
Burial plot £280 to £5,000 or more
Headstone £800 to £1,200 or more
Embalming £136 to £165
Limousine and chauffeur £305
Order of service sheets £72
Church service £98 to £149
The cost of a typical Irish wake could be in excess of £2,000