The Avalon Leaving Your Legacy Report 2019

Arranging a funeral is a very personal decision and many people have definite ideas about what kind of send-off they want after they're gone.

Avalon's funeral statistics survey, the Leaving Your Legacy report, gives an insight into what Brits want for their final farewell. From the type of music and dress code, to what happens to social media accounts after someone dies, the Leaving Your Legacy report reveals the popular choices and unusual requests that people make for their own funeral.

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Let's talk: Attitudes to talking about funeral wishes

Avalon's 2019 funeral statistics survey found that only 11.5% of people have written down their funeral wishes. Just under a fifth have spoken to a loved one about what type of funeral they’d like in detail.

But most respondents (70%) said they’ve only briefly mentioned what type of funeral they want. Nearly 8% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about their funeral wishes.

Who would you feel comfortable talking to about funeral wishes?


The perfect send-off: What Brits want for their funeral

The majority of people would choose to be cremated (47.1%) rather than buried (23%). 16.8% said they’d want their body to be donated to medical research, while nearly one in 10 want a natural burial, with no grave marker and a biodegradable coffin.


How would you like to be laid to rest?


Would you like a religious or non-religious funeral?

Just under half of people said they don't want a religious funeral, reflecting the recent decline in people identifying as religious in modern Britain. While early 4 in 10 people said they do want a religious funeral to say goodbye, nearly a fifth weren't sure what they wanted for their final farewell.


Nearly a fifth are not sure if they want a religious funeral

That’s reflected in music choice, with 78% saying they wouldn’t choose hymns or religious music for their funeral. Pop music was the top choice (20%), with rock and classical music coming in second and third.

Other suggestions from participants included reggae, ska, heavy metal, electronic dance music or no music at all.


What kind of music do you want playing at your funeral?

The dress code: What to wear to the funeral

Over a third of people still want traditional black funeral attire at their funeral, but bright colours would be the outfit of choice for the majority.

Choosing a specific colour was preferred by one in 10 respondents, while 4.8% wanted mourners to wear sports strips to their funeral. 2% said they’d rather people don fancy dress.

Of those people who chose 'Other', the most common answer was that they didn't mind what mourners wore to their funeral, as long as they were comfortable.

Black funeral clothes

Black funeral attire


Bright funeral clothes


Bright colours


A specific colour


Sports kit

Football kit or sports strip


Fancy dress


Fancy dress


Other type of clothes



The guest list: Who's invited to the funeral?

By far the most popular choice was a funeral with a small service of close family and closest friends (44%), but just under a third said they’d like the service to be widened to all friends and family.

Only 1 in 10 said they’d want a large service with friends, family and acquaintances.

More than 1 in 10 don't want anyone at their funeral

Over 1 in 10 said they do not want any friends and family to attend at all.

Almost a fifth of people from Scotland want a funeral with no attendees (18.8%), closely followed by the East Midlands (18.7%).

People from the North West were least likely to choose a no-fuss, no guests funeral service (6.1%).



40% would consider a green funeral

The future is green

An impressive two fifths said they’d consider going green with an eco-friendly funeral.

One in 10 said they’d consider an electric or low emission hearse to keep their carbon footprint down, and 1 in 10 said they want a natural burial, with no grave marker and a biodegradable coffin.

Is this the start of a green funeral revolution?

Leaving a legacy

We asked people want they most want to be remembered for. The most popular response was ‘Kindness’, with ‘Sense of humour’ and ‘Being a good parent’ coming in second and third.

Men are more than twice as likely (25%) to want to be remembered for their sense of humour as women (11%).

The least popular choices for were career achievements and physical appearance - although men are three times as likely (3%) to say they most want to be remembered for their work life than women (1%).


What do you most want to be remembered for?

Death in the digital age

We’re living our lives more and more online. And now it seems we’re also taking funerals online too.

One in 10 respondents said they’d consider live streaming their funeral service on the internet for mourners who cannot make it to the service. This increases to a quarter of 21-35 year olds.

What do you want to happen to your social media profiles after your death?

When it comes to social media, there’s a big difference in how people want their accounts dealt with after they’re gone. A fifth want them ‘memorialised’ so that friends and family can still visit their pages, while over a quarter want all their accounts completely deleted.

The Avalon Leaving Your Legacy Report 2019 is based on a survey of 2,000 adults living in Britain in 2019, conducted with 3Gem.