Guide to Third Party Fees

Last updated: 12th January 2022

Third party fees refer to the charges for:

  • Medical Certification Fees
  • Cremation fees
  • Interment fee(for a burial)
  • Officiant Fee (this is the person to conduct the funeral service which could be a Humanist or Religious Minister)

These are additional costs incurred by the Funeral Director in addition to the services that they provide (organising the funeral; collection, care and preparation of the deceased; provision of funeral hearse and bearers etc.)

Medical Certification Fees

In the case of cremation medical certification fees MAY apply (also known as Doctors Fees) in England and Wales only. For deaths where a coroner investigation is required, there are no medical certification fees.

Also, changes to legislation in May 2015 mean there is NOT a charge for a medical certification for any deaths registered in Scotland.

Similar legal changes are being considered for the rest of the UK, however currently If the funeral takes place outside of Scotland, and a coroner is not involved, then if applicable, the medical certification fees of £164 must be paid when arranging the funeral that includes a cremation. Currently the charge is reduced to £82 because of the COVID pandemic.

Some Funeral Plan providers include medical certification fees in the allowance for 3rd party charges whilst others do not. This information is detailed when you compare funeral plans. Please Click Here to compare plans.

The legal change being considered  is to improve the death certification process involving the proposed introduction of medical examiners and reforms to the process of Death Certification in England and Wales. The reforms were expected to be introduced from April 2018, however there has been no announcement for when they will.. Based on current information published on the Department of Health government website the below is expected:

All deaths will be scrutinised in a robust and proportionate way, regardless of whether they are followed by burial or cremation, making the system fairer.

Medical certification and the registration of all deaths not requiring coroner’s post-mortem or inquest will be examined in the same way, including:

  • unified arrangements for burial and cremation
  • a simpler process for arranging funerals
  • removal of any inequalities

All deaths will be scrutinised in a thorough and proportionate way, regardless of whether they are followed by burial or cremation, making the system fairer.

The certified cause of death is explained to relatives. Relatives will also be given an opportunity to discuss any concerns they might have about the care provided to the person who has died and report the death to a coroner.

The Department of Health’s preferred option for England is a nationally-set fee. The consultation documents and assumptions suggest this fee will be between £80 and £100.

For most people, the new system will cost less, but it will introduce this new fee for those who choose burial. The Department of Health states that: Families opting for burial deserve the same degree of safeguard and assurance about the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s death. [hence why the same charge will apply whether the choice of funeral be cremation or burial].

For further information about the proposed introduction of medical examiners and reforms to the process of Death Certification in England and Wales please Click Here.

Pre-Paid Funeral plans do not always include payment of medical certification fees however the funeral plan provider does not always guarantee payment of the entire costs, Funeral Plan Market™ exclusively provide a range of funeral plans from Plan with Grace that guarantee payment of the medical certifcation fees.

Cremation Fees

Cremation fees are the fees charged by the crematorium for a person to be cremated and service time at the crematorium. Should an unattended cremation be required without service time the fee is typically lower.  The Cremation Society reported hat there were 308 crematoriums in the UK in 2020. The cremation fees charged vary by crematorium, a league table fees is published by the Cremation Society here.

The cremation fees charged for an attended cremation usually include the provision of music to be played and many crematoria subscribe to Wesley Media that specialise in providing music for ceremonies. Additional services are also provided included Webcasts however these are usually charged for extra.

Pre-Paid Funeral plans usually include payment of cremation fees however the funeral plan provider does not always guarantee payment of the entire costs, Funeral Plan Market™ exclusively provide a range of funeral plans from Plan with Grace that guarantee payment of the cremation fees.

Interment Fees

Interment fees are also known as burial fees and are the fees charged for the digging of the grave. There are over 12,000 cemeteries in the UK including church yards. The Intermeent fees charged vary cinsiuderable by cemetery from £250 to over £3,000 – interment fees are the highest in the London area.

Many plots can be used for more than 1 person, should a plot be required for additional usage and a gravestone is present this will usually need to moved for the interment to take place, the cost of moving a headstone is not included in the interment fee and is chargeable in addition – the amount charges varies by cemetery.

Funeral plans do not include the burial plot; a contribution to the burial fees is usually included however it is very unusual for payment of interment fees to be guaranteed (due to the considerable variation in price by cemetery).

Officiant Fees

Officiant fees is the payment for a person  to conduct a funeral service which include Celebrants, Humanists, Ministers and Priests. Currently, the typical cost for an Officiant to conduct an attended cremation is £200 - £250.

It is not compulsory to pay for an officiant to conduct a service, for attended cremations a friend or family member(s) can conduct the service themselves if they wish.

Funeral Plan Market™ exclusively provide a range of funeral plans from Plan with Grace that guarantee payment of the cremation fees, all attended cremation plans are available to included an Officiant or for an Officiant not to be included at a reduced price.

Useful to know:

  1. If a cremation or burial is required at the weekend the charge is often higher
  2. Third party fees do NOT include provision for the cost of a death certificate, a death certificate needs to be obtained by a family member/authorised person, when the death is registered and is £11 per copy in England and Wales, the charge in Scotland is £10.
  3. 3rd party costs for persons under 16 are much cheaper; in such circumstances many Funeral Directors provide their services for free.

What does the Funeral Director do in relation to Third Party Fees?

The Funeral Director will make all the necessary arrangements that incur costs for:

  • Cremation / Interment fees
  • Doctors fees (as applicable)
  • Officiant fees

These costs are usually payable by the funeral director who will require payment for them in addition to their own funeral director fees and charges for coffin, transportation etc. When a pre-paid funeral plan is in place the funeral plan provider will pay the funeral director for the third party fees incurred as per the terms of the pre-paid funeral plan purchased.

 

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