The cost of dying has risen by more than eight percent in a single year. Paul Hensby questions can you really afford not to plan your funeral in advance?
Research published this week (14 September 2016) shows that the overall annual cost of dying, including the funeral, probate, headstones and flowers, has risen by 8.3 per cent to £8,802. The cost of death is now far more expensive than the cost of living, as it is rising faster than the price of food, accommodation, insurance and utilities.
These increases show the importance of planning for the costs, for instance by taking out a pre-paid funeral plan, and talking to loved ones about your funeral wishes.
The funeral alone - which makes up 44 percent of the cost of dying - has risen by 5.5 percent in a single year. The average funeral in the UK, excluding probate, headstones and flowers now costs £3,897, double the figure in 2004.
London remains the most expensive place to die, with the average funeral costing £5,529. The south-east and eastern England were the next most expensive regions, while Northern Ireland was the cheapest at £3,227.
Forty per cent of people organising a funeral said it cost more than they expected and as a result one in twelve people said they had to cut back or change some of the send-off costs they had planned for their loved one. Savings included reducing the amount spent on limousines for immediate family, the memorial, catering, flowers and the reception venue.
In 2008, the average spent on the reception was £2,097, or almost a third (31 percent) of the total cost of dying. In comparison, the proportion spent on the funeral has gone up from 38 percent of the total cost to 44 percent.
This year, more than three in five people put money aside compared to just more than half of those surveyed in 2009. One in seven people (13 percent) who have organised a funeral in the past four years admitted it caused them financial problems which they solved by selling belongings, using a credit card, taking out a loan or borrowing money from friends or relatives.
The survey also reveals that we are still reluctant to talk about death and dying, and this means that the vast majority of those organising a funeral do not know all the preferences of the deceased, with only one percent of those who had organised a funeral in the past four years fully understanding their loved ones’ funeral wishes.
Only 37 percent knew which funeral director to use, and only just over half knew the deceased’s preference for burial or cremation.
While many said it would have been much easier to organise their loved one’s funeral if they had had a conversation with them about death and dying, 29 percent still haven’t done anything about their own end of life plans.
Final Choices makes it easy, with downloadable funeral wishes and your personal death plan. The research shows clearly why you should use these for yourself and also for ailing loved ones.
My funeral wishes
This fill-out-and-keep downloadable template can help you share your funeral wishes with your nearest and dearest and ensure you have the send off you deserve.
Writing a death plan
A death plan allows you to relieve the burden of decision making from the shoulders of those you love and creates the opportunity for a peaceful end of life.