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Worried you can’t afford a funeral?

Wondering what help there is for relatives who are looking for help with funeral payments?

It’s difficult to know what to do when someone close to you passes away regardless of your circumstances. With the average funeral costing nearly £4,000 many now find themselves in a position where they feel they have nowhere to turn due to such prohibitive costs.

The first thing to note is you are not alone. There is help out there and several options available to you. We’ve put together some brief information below to get you started.

If you need help, we offer a free funeral advice line through Caledonia Funeral Aid. The team provides impartial advice to all bereaved people in Scotland. The advice line is fully-funded so there is no pressure to use us for the funeral. We promise to listen to you and provide the best support we can for your situation. Please do feel free to call 03000 11 33 01

Advice and support for funeral costs in Scotland

Scottish Government Funeral Support Payment



Applicants who are closest to the deceased family member must already be receiving benefits such as universal credit, disability allowance or income support.


The payment has three elements:

  • Burial or cremation costs
  • A flat rate payment towards other expenses for example, funeral director fees, coffin, flowers.
  • Certain transport costs

Find out more

What if I am not on any benefits? Can I get help with funeral costs?

Organisations who can advise you include:

Caledonia Funeral Aid

Our fully funded funeral and bereavement advice team offer free, impartial advice with all things related to funerals and bereavement

For bereavement advice: 03000 11 33 01

Quaker Social Action Down to Earth

A unique service which aims to ensure no one faces unnecessary debt or distress due to high funeral costs.

Citizens Advice Scotland

With offices based across Scotland, Citizens Advice can advise you of any financial help or support available



Council Funeral

Sometimes referred to as a “paupers funeral”

Local authorities have a statutory duty to arrange funerals for people who die within their boundary, where no other suitable arrangements can be made e.g. there are no relatives willing or able to arrange the funeral or where there are insufficient funds. It’s the council’s responsibility to recover the costs of the funeral from the estate of the deceased.

Each local authority has its own way of administering this kind of funeral so what is on offer depends on where you live.

If you are struggling financially but don’t want to relinquish the organisation of the funeral, then please do call Caledonia Funeral Aid and they can explore options.

For bereavement advice: 03000 11 33 01

Alternatives to a “traditional funeral”

Traditional funerals can cost nearly £4,000 and Funeral Directors request a deposit of anything up to £1,200 before they are able to proceed. There are other options available which are much more affordable.

One such option is Direct Cremation which costs a fraction of what a normal funeral costs and allows you to arrange your goodbyes your own way

Caledonia Cremation provide not-for-profit direct cremation, no upselling and we don’t ask for a deposit upfront.

Our costs are fully covered by the Scottish Government’s Funeral Support Payment.


What is Direct Cremation

A direct cremation is a cremation at its quickest and simplest with no funeral service, or ceremony performed beforehand. If you choose to receive the ashes then you can organise your remembrance in your own time, in your own way.

Caledonia Cremation offer not-for-profit direct cremation As a not-for-profit funeral directors set up to fight funeral poverty in Scotland, who offer a high standard of compassionate care plus help with applying for benefits if you qualify.

We believe in being upfront with no upselling, so here are all the prices we charge:*

Price of direct cremation including admin support, care and coffin – £1,145
Return of ashes to anywhere in Scotland – £95
Surcharge for residential/hospice collection – £250

What Caledonia Cremation Offers

What to do when someone dies

Call us to start arrangements for a direct cremation at any time after the death of your loved one. We will give you all the information you need and take care of it for you. You will then be contacted by our specialist adviser who can help you plan a personalised send-off for your loved one.

We know that funeral costs can be a problem. We have no hidden extra charges and you don’t need to pay us before making the arrangements.

When you are ready, we will explain how to register the death and tell you whether you need to contact any other officials.

You won’t ever need to travel to our office, we will come to you when needed wherever you are in mainland Scotland. As we work hard to make things easy for you, we can normally do it over the phone. Please remember that there is no service at the crematorium for a direct cremation.

Many people opt for the ashes to be scattered in the crematorium’s Garden of Remembrance, others would prefer to collect them or have the ashes returned. We will ask you about all your preferences at the right time, you don’t need to know everything just yet. We do charge a little extra to return ashes because we cover such as large geographic area.

There is more detailed information about practicalities on our FAQ page.

You don’t need to make any payments until you have spoken to us or signed a contract. We also don’t need a deposit if you can’t afford it. But if we have asked you to make a payment, you can do so on our payments page.

For those planning their own funeral

We really strongly support people choosing to plan ahead for their own funeral. This is a great step and we are happy to help you with it if you are interested in having a not-for-profit direct cremation with Caledonia Cremation.

We hope to launch pre-pay funeral plans soon. Use the “keep in touch” tab on the right for email updates about this. We do offer a “Registration of Wishes”. This is a formal document with copies kept both with your will (or other documents) and kept by us. It sets out exactly what you want so your family don’t need to worry about it when you are gone.

Unlike pre-pay funerals, in a Registration of Wishes you don’t give us the money though. If you can afford it, you give a £50 donation as we process your Registration of Wishes. This reflects the significant costs of providing Registration Of Wishes and also that we are disadvantaged by doing the right thing for you rather than take your cash.

We do provide an alternate simple payment option for people facing terminal illness, palliative care or similar circumstances – just ask at any time.

Dying outside Scotland or on Scottish Islands

Please note that, with a few exceptions, our service offer is for those who have died in mainland Scotland. However, we have partners in England and Wales, just get in touch by phone to discuss your needs.

Everyone is free to speak to us anytime if unsure.

Our commitment to excellence and dignity means we cannot be certain that we can meet our high standards if dependent on ferries and weather meaning that if on the Scottish Islands you will be better served by a local funeral director.

*Our phone number is either free or the same as a local number, depending on your phone provider. Our staff can call you back if you prefer or you can get in touch by email. We normally answer anytime 24/7, but if you call outside working hours you may be asked to leave a message and someone will get back to you.

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