After-death options were traditionally arranged during face-to-face meetings in funeral directors’ offices.
But with the growth of internet-based companies, it’s now much easier to compare prices and ceremony options.
That means anything from full Victorian-style hearse and limousine affairs to no-frills direct cremations are clearly priced and available at the click of a mouse.
Experienced funeral director Howard Hodgson believes that can only be a good thing for those in the process of grieving who are tasked with arranging a funeral – because embarrassment and shame are more easily avoided.
Mr Hodgson, CEO of Low Cost Funeral, said: “It is quite different to be searching online than it is to be sitting in a funeral director’s office and having to say, ‘I don’t like that, I’m leaving’.
“The vast majority of people would think it’s disrespectful to their relatives to question things and are more likely to believe they should be led by the funeral director.
“In that situation, they are often distressed and don’t want to be seen to be penny-pinching with the funeral arrangements.
“It’s also better to look online because you will come across things that you hadn’t thought about. There are more options for funerals than many people realise.”
The cost of funerals has risen to a record level, with the average bill now standing at £4,184 according to a recent report.
So having a wider choice in a more comfortable environment can help many families make the cost of death more manageable.
Mr Hodgson added: “Most funeral directors are good people and are simply trying to serve customers.
“But the fact remains that you’re not going to get as much choice going into a funeral parlour than you are looking at 10 different websites.”
A fourth generation funeral director himself, with 50 years’ experience serving the bereaved, Mr Hodgson also stressed that the elderly – who are perhaps not as tech savvy – can be most at risk of paying over the odds.
“What I can’t accept is anyone pulling the wool over old people’s eyes by telling them they have to do this or that,” he said.
“They are putting people in fear and not telling them there is something much cheaper.”
Low Cost Funeral has a range of burial and cremation options to suit any budget, with direct cremations starting at just £950.
This is a modern no-frills yet dignified option for those who don’t want a traditional service.
Mr Hodgson said: “It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to arrange a funeral.
“But you need to know what you’re looking for. You then need to take a step back and consider what is truly necessary and what is not.”
Low Cost Funeral is one of the UK’s biggest providers of affordable funerals and direct cremations.
It is part of the Memoria Group which also owns and manages 11 crematoria and memorial parks in locations throughout England and Wales.