Cost of dying rises yet again


iStock_000016674106XSmallAccording to a new report, the cost of dying, including a funeral, probate fees and other associated costs, has jumped sharply to £7,622; rising to close to £10,000 for people living in London.

The figures come from the latest ‘Cost of Dying Report’ produced by Sun Life Direct and concludes the recent rise in costs is not down to an increase in the fees charged by funeral directors, but higher disbursement fees, such as those charges for burial or cremation.

Sun Life Direct’s report also found:

  • The ‘cost of dying’ rose by 7.1% in the last year, significantly above the current rate of inflation
  • There are large regional differences, with London being the most expensive area to die and Wales the cheapest
  • The average funeral now costs £3,456, up a massive 80% since 2004
  • Burials now cost an average of £3,914, up 69% since 2007
  • Cremations cost less than a burial, at an average of £2,998; a 51% rise since 2007cost_of_dying_press_release_image

Discretionary funeral costs, which include the cost of flowers, catering and transport, also rose over the past year, from an average of £1,923 to just over £2,000. The cost of a memorial accounted for almost half of the increase, the average cost of a headstone, is now £864.

Funeral poverty

The concept of fuel poverty has been well documented over recent years; however it also appears to be spreading to dying.
The Sun Life Direct research concludes that the UK’s funeral funding shortfall now stands at £131 million, up by 50% over the past three years.

Almost one in five people who have arranged a funeral in the past four years have struggled to meet the cost, which are expected to continue to rise. According to the report, the cost of a funeral alone is expected to rise by a further £1,000 over the next five years, whilst other costs will also be affected by inflation.

Melanie Rees, Head of Brand at Sun Life Direct, said: “As over 100,000 people struggle to pay for a funeral this year, an important message for everyone should be to do something to prepare, however small. The death of a loved one is a difficult time, and is only compounded by financial worries over how to pay for the funeral.”

Rees continued: “Drawing on savings can be one way to cover the cost. However, as funeral poverty stands at just over £131 million, savings are clearly not an option for everyone. In old age, savings can deplete; advising people to rely on money they may not even have is irresponsible and more financial options should be available.”

She concluded: “As funeral poverty has increased 50% in just three years, something must be done as a matter of urgency before more families are unable to give their loved ones the send-off they deserve.” (Source: Sun Life Direct)