Understanding the Cost of a Funeral

The Funeral Account

At a difficult time, arranging a funeral can be a trying experience for relatives and friends of the deceased. All the more so when it comes to making decisions about the funeral details themselves and the costs involved.

The cost of a funeral is one of the primary worries for anyone who assumes the responsibility for arranging a funeral. In this context, the specific role of the Funeral Director is to assist you to decide on a funeral which conforms to the wishes of the deceased and needs of the family and which is within the family's financial circumstances.

Members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors are required by the Association's Code of Practice to discuss funeral costs when the funeral arrangements are being made, subject to the family indicating that they would prefer costs not to be discussed at that time.

While arranging a funeral, the person responsible for making the arrangements will be informed about the various costs involved and left free to decide on the arrangements and the costs involved. When the funeral arrangements have been agreed, the Funeral Director will often provide the person responsible with a detailed breakdown of the specific charges making up the total funeral costs.

The cost of a funeral is made up of two types of charges. These charges and what they represent are as follows:

Charges by the Funeral Director

These relate to the services and materials provided by Funeral Directors themselves and include, for example, costs of the coffin, hearse, limousine, habit/shroud and embalming.


These are payments to third parties (e.g. Grave purchase, grave opening, cremation charges, churches, newspaper notices, flowers, organist, soloist) which are included as part of the agreed funeral arrangements and which the Funeral Director pays on behalf of the client family.

It is important to distinguish between these two types of charges. Both are costs covered or paid out by the Funeral Director according to your specific instructions and on your behalf.

However, disbursements are charges payable to third parties for agreed services and very often require immediate settlement by the Funeral Director. Very often, the disbursement element makes up a significant proportion of the overall cost of a funeral. Sometimes families experience difficulty finding the money to pay the funeral account.

Delays can occur for a number of genuine reasons (e.g. Wills, insurance), all of which are understood and appreciated by your local IAFD Funeral Director. If you find that there are difficulties with payment of the funeral account, please talk to your Funeral Director as soon as you can.

The Funeral Director has experienced this situation many times and will be able to help.