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Funeral costs on the rise, new study suggests

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

The cost of a basic funeral has increased to more than £6,700 amid extra spending on extras to make a send-off special, a new study suggests.

Different types of hearses, live bands and other special requests are behind the increase, according to financial services firm SunLife.

Its annual survey indicates funerals are now at their most expensive for a decade.

Over the last year, funeral directors have noticed send-offs are becoming more personal, with most saying the rules of tradition are often being replaced by more individual requests, according to the report.

Two-thirds of the 100 funeral directors surveyed said they did something “different or unusual”, including asking for speeches to be light-hearted rather than sombre.

Among the more unusual requests was asking everyone attending a funeral to wear SpongeBob Square Pants T-shirts.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “We have been studying funerals since 2004 and while many are still quite traditional, there are always some great examples of how people make their loved ones’ funerals really personal.

“Perhaps more funerals would be personal if we were better as a nation at talking about death.

“Our report shows less than 1% of people organising a funeral knew all the deceased’s wishes but, when asked, most people know exactly what they want for their own funeral so we really do need to start talking more.”