THE cost of dying has risen by more than ten per cent in the
past year, a new report by an insurance and funeral services
company has found.
SunLife's annual report Cost of Dying suggests that the
average cost of a funeral, estate administration, headstone,
probate, and other death-related expenses now totals £8427 - a rise
of 10.6 per cent on the previous year. Inflation last year was 2.5
The firm says that the average funeral now costs £3590, an
increase of 87 per cent since SunLife's first survey ten years ago.
The cost of hiring a solicitor to manage the estate of someone who
has died now accounts for a third of the total cost of dying.
From the start of 2015, a C of E funeral, burial in a
churchyard, and the erection of a wooden cross over the grave will
cost £503. In 2011, this would have cost £319, showing that the
figure has risen by more than 57 per cent in four years.
One in seven people now struggles to afford the funeral they
want to give their loved one, the SunLife report suggests. Many of
them either use up savings, borrow from friends, or add debt to a
credit card to make up any shortfall.
Funeral directors and charities told The Guardian on
Monday that demand for a state-funded public health and
environmental funeral - once called a pauper's funeral - was
increasing year by year, as more and more families found they could
not afford a funeral privately.
Originally, public health funerals were designed for those who
died without any family or savings, but they are increasingly being
used as a last resort by poorer families.
Julie Dunk, of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium
Management, told The Guardian: "More and more now, we are
dealing with cases where there is family - but the family either
can't or won't pay for the funeral. There are some people who are
The charity Down To Earth, part of Quaker Social Action, offers
free advice on funerals. Its manager, Fiona Singleton, said on
Wednesday that they had started a campaign to end "funeral poverty
this year, because we see first-hand the amount of distress it
A funeral poverty officer with Down To Earth, Heather Kennedy,
said: "We think the Government should be doing more to help people
who find themselves in this situation, before an ageing population,
deepening poverty, and spiralling funeral costs make the problem
much, much worse." Down To Earth is planning to ask faith
communities to pressure their local MPs into action over funeral
Some people are resorting to DIY funerals, by buying coffins and
transporting them to a crematorium or graveyard in the back of
their cars or vans. The Natural Death Centre, a charity that
advises people who wish to arrange their own funeral, said that
there had been a dramatic shift in the past two years.
Rosie Inman-Cook, from the Centre, told The Guardian:
"Before, people were interested in green funerals, and sourcing
their own coffins, and how to direct their own funerals. . . Now
the majority of my calls are about the finances."