cost of dying

Campaign against the cost of dying

We have seen the cost of dying and burials increase significantly in recent years, despite many thousands of families facing hardship during the recession.
 
This has inevitably led to a dramatic increase in the number of so-called “paupers’ funerals”, adding to the financial burden carried by local authorities. Last year, local authorities in England and Wales carried out around 3000 of these funerals.
 
Over the last eight years, the cost of dying has risen by over 70%, with prices currently settling at around £3000. However, financial assistance provided by the government, for those who are unable to afford to bury their loved one, has remained at the same level as it was nine years ago. Currently, almost half of claims made for this assistance are denied, with successful claimants receiving up to a maximum of £1,200 – less than half the money needed for basic funeral costs.
 
Campaigners claim that this financial stress often exacerbates the grief and pressures faced by those left behind, who can then easily find themselves in debt. They are therefore lobbying for amendments to be made to the government grant system, particularly as it has been calculated that within eighteen years, an extra 100,000 deaths per year are likely to take place.

The cost of dying falls

 

First the bad news – recent figures show that the basic cost of a funeral has risen for the ninth year in a row, now coming in at around £3,284.  This figure incorporates burial costs, cremation costs and funeral director fees.
 
The good news however, is that all other costs for funerals, such as the cost of probate services, headstones and flowers, have all fallen, taking the overall cost of dying to just over £7000.
 
Although this is excellent news for cash strapped families who are often left to foot the bill; for many, the need to find several thousand pounds is simply unrealistic and the government’s Social Fund is vital in these circumstances. However, with so many making demands upon this fund, it is debatable whether it will continue to be available without enforcing stricter criteria.
 
So what is the answer? Adults are being advised to take out a funeral plan now, to ensure that money will be available to fund their funeral when the inevitable happens, rather than placing their loved ones under further financial stress. Funeral plans should always be discussed when planning your estate.

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