The cost of dying: How prices depend on which area you're in

While the ‘cost of dying’ is said to have reduced in recent years, grieving West Midlands residents still face huge bills to hold funerals for loved ones.

Anyone wishing to bury or cremate relatives in council-owned facilities in the region could find themselves forking out thousands depending on the services they opt for.

So where is the cheapest or most expensive place to die?

According to Sun Life Insurance’s Cost of Dying report 2022, the average price of funerals has decreased since 2020.

But despite this, a basic funeral in the region can still cost an average of £3,942 when other charges are factored in such as use of the chapel, holding a service, memorials and hosting wakes.

Prices of burials and cremations vary for people living in the West Midlands Combined Authority area – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

But for non-residents wishing to be buried or cremated in those areas, fees are often doubled.

Bereaved parents are spared the cost of burying or cremating under 16s, which is covered by the Government’s Children’s Funeral Fund.

Other fees and charges are set for different kinds of memorials, music in the service, wooden caskets for cremated remains and memorial books.

Comparing the seven areas, we have looked at the lowest cost of exclusive rights of burial (an agreement which lasts for 75 years in most authorities and 99 in Sandwell) available for adults, interment fees (for the depth of one coffin) and the price for cremation, based on current fees listed on council websites.

The cost of dying in the West Midlands is currently:

Birmingham:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,247

Interment: £1,054

Cremation: £825

Coventry:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,313

Interment: £1,183

Cremation: £904

Dudley:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,348

Interment: £1,139

Cremation fees: £948

Sandwell:

Exclusive rights of burial: £1,988

Interment: £1,065

Cremation: £775

Solihull:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,400

Interment: £1,000

Cremation: £790

Walsall:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,340

Interment: £1,317

Cremation fees: £905

Wolverhampton:

Exclusive rights of burial: £2,070

Interment: £1,040

Cremation: £920

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