“Cost of Dying” hits all-time high

The “cost of dying” in the UK has reached a record high, forcing some grieving families to sell belongings, tap into savings, or even borrow money, according to a report by insurer SunLife.

Funeral costs increased by 4.7% in a year, with the average basic funeral now at £4,141. The total “cost” of dying, including burial or cremation fees, funeral directors’ costs, a mid-range coffin, one funeral limousine, a doctor and celebrant, and estate administration fees, has risen to £9,658.

The volume of Public health funerals is also increasing. Often referred to as “Pauper’s funerals”, these are arranged by councils for those that pass away without any friends or family that are willing or able to foot the bill. This growth is putting further demand on the already stretched resources of local authorities around the country.

Whilst 70% of people surveyed make provisions for their funeral, only 54% actually leave enough to cover the full cost, leaving families with an average bill of £1,872 to cover the rest.

Notably, 20% of funerals are now no-frills, direct cremations, which cost £1,498 on average in 2023, up from 3% in 2019 (although slightly down on 2022). The rise in popularity in direct cremations isn’t just because of costs, with some attributing the growth to those wanting to emulate David Bowie, who was famously (or infamously) cremated in a basic service away from any family or friends.

Lastly, and perhaps most worrying, last year 3% of those facing significant financial difficulties sought crowdfunding for funeral costs.

Always containing valuable insight, the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024 emphasises the impact on families’ mental and physical well-being of the associated costs of death, all whilst grieving a loved one.

This article was submitted to be published by Anglia Research as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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