Cost of arranging a loved ones funeral tops £3000
The ‘Annual Cost of Dying’ report released earlier today has provoked concern over how many individuals and families can meet the rising costs of arranging a loved ones funeral.
The report has found that funeral costs had again risen, now for the fourth year in succession, with an average funeral costing nearly £3100.
This latest rise in expenses represents a staggering 61% increase in funeral costs in less than eight years – an unfortunate trend that could continue for some time. Except in cases where a pre-paid funeral plan had been purchased, this has resulted in most people having to pay more for a loved ones funeral at a time when the faltering economy is making finances tight.
Those struggling to pay for funerals
The news is of particular worry for individuals and families who would normally struggle to meet the cost of funerals. The Government funded Social Fund Payments Scheme (designed to help those who cannot afford the full cost of a funeral) paid out in only 66% of cases - meaning that one in three people who applied for help received no financial assistance.
For the fortunate 66% of people who did receive a government funded payment, the news was not great. On average each received just £1,217 to help pay for the funeral. Given that the average cost of a funeral (£3,091) was more than £1,870 over this amount, this left many families having to make up a sizeable short fall, further adding to the burden of an already difficult time.
Government help towards funeral costs
The shortfall between the Government contributions and the actual cost of funerals is steadily increasing each year. It is therefore becoming more and more costly for those who struggle the most with funeral costs. Many are taken by surprise at the recent rise in costs.
Regrettably the report also paints a bleak picture for the foreseeable future. Over the next 20 years the number of deaths will rise as a result of the increased births experienced during the baby boom years. By 2030 there will be 80,000 additional funerals each year in the UK.
Solutions to the increase in funeral costs
This gives the Government an unenviable choice of increasing its contribution significantly, or the alternatives of either reducing the amount paid to families or reducing the number of families eligible to receive the funeral fund.
Funeral Plans offered by companies including Golden Charter (the UK's largest independent provider of funeral plans) offer a way to meet future funeral costs by spreading the cost over a period. Many of Golden Charters funeral plans guarantee the funeral directors services, thereby fixing much of the costs at today's prices. Information on funeral plans can be found by clicking here.
The full report was produced by Mintel Research Consultancy, commissioned by Sun Life Direct, part of the AXA Group, which distributes financial services plans on behalf of AXA Wealth Services Ltd. Source: Mintel 2011.