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funeral costs doubled header

Funeral costs have more than doubled in the last 10 years

Recent reports into the price of funerals have shown that the average cost of a funeral in the UK has more than doubled since 2004. The result of such a big price rise over the course of 12 years has forced some grieving families to cut corners on funerals for their loved ones.

The report entitled ‘the cost of dying’ put together by insurance company SunLife has found that the typical funeral cost in the UK has increased to £3,897, a 5.5% price rise over the last 12 months. The publication of SunLife’s insightful report has coincided with a parliamentary debate on funeral poverty which took place earlier this month.

The report states that the cost of dying was rising even faster than the cost of living, outstripping inflation, wages and pensions in particular. The current typical funeral cost of £3,897 is an increase of 103% on the typical cost in 2004, when the insurers first started tracking funeral prices. If costs had risen in line with the cost of living, it is estimated it should be around £2,540 now.

London is the most expensive place to live in the UK and there is no surprise that it is also the most expensive place to die. Average funeral costs in the capital come in at around £5,529 currently, which is £1,632 higher than the current UK average cost.

However, these figures only take into account the actual funeral costs including car hire, undertaker services etc. If you take into account the additional costs associated with dying including probate and headstones etc., the figure reaches £8,802. That is an 8.3% rise in costs over the last year alone.

Due to these high prices, the life insurance provider found that 38% of people who have organised a funeral in the last year found the cost was a lot more than they had expected.

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One in 12 of those surveyed said that they had cut back or changed some of their send-off plans due to the high costs. Scaling back on what was planned for the funeral by cutting down on catering and limousines for immediate family or finding a cheaper venue to hold the ceremony or wake.

While one in seven found organising a family funeral to be financially challenging, putting some into debt. Around 10% sold belongings to cover the costs, 24% put the cost on their credit card, 10% took out a loan and 18% borrowed money from friends or relatives.

One other solution, that some are making use of, is crowd funding. Fundraising sites such as JustGiving reported the number of people using their site to pay for a funeral has grown over 300% since 2015.

As a result of this report and the shockingly high figures, SunLife has launched a calculator to help everyone plan for the costs of their funeral. We don’t talk about death and funerals much in this country but the financial trouble it causes so many relatives means that we should focus on this issue a lot more.

Writing a will, planning your funeral, assessing the costs of your funeral and taking out life insurance are all things everyone should do to help lessen the burden for your friends and family members after you are gone.

If you need some advice about planning for the cost of your funeral, you should get in touch with an independent financial advisor (IFA). 

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