People are opting for holidays over funerals - and we can see why

According to SunLife insurance, average funeral costs hit £4,000 last year and with the cost of living increasing, many people are choosing to leave the money they would be spending on a good send off to their families instead.

" A waste of money”

These days, £4,000 could buy you a small second hand car, it's a contribution towards a housing deposit - or, like one Norfolk couple in the news recently - it's a much-needed holiday for their family.

Janet and Chris Jones from Attleborough were featured in an article recently on the BBC News website (link to:, saying they didn't want to have a funeral as it seemed like a waste of money.

This comes after the news that the average funeral cost in the UK hit £4,056 last year, compared to around £1,647 for direct cremations.

Direct cremations growing in popularity

In fact, according to SunLife insurance which released the figures earlier this year, almost 20% of all funerals are now direct cremations, as opposed to a traditional ceremony.

The cost saving was one of the main reasons behind the Jones' decision to abandon the idea of an expensive funeral. Instead the couple, who had been married for 50 years, wanted their two children to benefit from whatever money they had left, saying they'd prefer their family did something to celebrate their lives in their own way, such as go on holiday or have a drink to celebrate their lives.

And they aren't alone. Donald Peace, who was 72 died suddenly at his daughter Isobel's home on Christmas Day. She said it didn't come as a surprise that her father had expressed a wish to be cremated without a funeral service, as they had already discussed it when he was alive. Isobel told the BBC: ""It felt like the right decision. He lived a quiet life towards the end and he was mindful of money, he wanted it all to go to his children."

Discuss your wishes

It's not just for cost reasons, of course. There are many reasons why people may choose not to go down the route of a traditional funeral. The Eves family told the BBC in the same article that they couldn't stand the thought of their daughter grieving in an empty church or crematorium. Cindy Eve, who is 68, said "my mother died when I was young and the funeral was very traumatic. I don't want my daughter to go through that." Her daughter is comfortable with the plan and Cindy has discussed her wishes with her wider family.

Despite nearly one fifth of funerals being carried out without a traditional service, it may still come as a surprise to your family if you do not talk through your plans. A direct cremation is very impersonal. Often families do not know when cremations take place - firms tend to just send a card afterwards to immediate family with a date the cremation took place and where ashes are scattered.

For those who feel they might want to mark a celebration of life, or say goodbye "properly" may feel this experience falls short - which is why it's so important you talk through your wishes and explain your decisions clearly to your family.

We can help

You might also want to consider writing a letter in your will which re-confirms these wishes, and make sure you have these sorts of discussions when drafting your will or Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).

If you would like some further advice about writing or changing your will or LPA, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Liz Dalgetty

Liz Dalgetty

Consultant Solicitor & Notary Public

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502251

Office: Dorking Office