Cost of dying goes up and up

Cost of dying goes up and up

Death is something we don’t like to think about too much, but something we should thinking about is how much our funeral is going to cost our family because the cost of dying goes up and up every year.

The cost of a funeral is the fastest rising fixed cost of anything in the UK and rising prices are forcing some families to cut corners when saying goodbye to their loved ones.


The rate of increase not only outstrips rent, food, utilities, insurance and clothing, but it’s also soaring ahead of inflation, wages and pensions.

Figures in the annual SunLife ‘Cost of Dying’ report show the overall cost faced by the family, including the funeral itself, probate, a headstone and flowers, comes to a staggering £8,802 – a rise of 8.3% on the previous year.

Less than half

The basic funeral costs an average of £3,897 – double what it was when SunLife first started to produce their figures 12 years ago – but it makes up less than half of the total cost involved.

There are also regional variations with the average funeral in London costing £5,529, 42% higher than the national average.

Cut back

Costs have risen so high that 1 in 12 people interviewed said they have had to cut back or change some of the ‘send-off’ ideas they had planned for their loved ones:

  • 30% had to cut back on limousines for immediate family
  • 27% on the memorial (headstone, urn, bench etc.)
  • 26% had to make cutbacks to the catering
  • 17% cut back on flowers
  • 15% had to find a cheaper venue.


The report also showed a reluctance to talk about all aspects of death and dying, with the result that many people have to idea of the wishes and preferences of the deceased.

Shockingly, just 1% of those responding to the survey said they fully understood their loved one’s wishes and 22% had no idea at all what the deceased’s preferences were.


SunLife’s Graham Jones said: “We all know that death will eventually come to us all, and therefore, we will all need to pay for a funeral, yet it is something that, as a nation, we are uncomfortable talking about or planning for.

“Unfortunately, this reluctance to talk death is not only causing financial issues, but emotional ones too. Our report shows that just 1% of those organising a funeral knew the preferences of the deceased which means at a difficult time, many of us are forced to make decisions about a loved one’s funeral not knowing if it is what they would have wanted.


“95% of those organising a funeral said it was easier when they knew the preferences of the deceased, yet almost a third of those people still haven’t done anything about their own end of life plans, so it is vital that we change our attitude towards death.

“Talking about it won’t make it happen, but if we don’t, we will end up putting a huge financial and emotional burden on those left behind.”

So what can we do about it?

In pure cost terms there are two easy measures we can take:

  • starting an Over 50s insurance policy for enough money to cover the cost of our own send-off and relieve the financial pressure on our surviving family
  • taking out a funeral plan, which not only pays for the whole thing but also includes a section where you express your own wishes as to how you want things to be done.

Over 50s

Over 50s guaranteed life insurance policies do exactly what it says on the tin.  The policy holder is insured for the whole of their life and the policy pays out on death.

To qualify you must be between 50 and 80, there is no medical required and the payout is tax free when written into trust.

Give us a call on 0800 103 2613 for further details.

Funeral plan

Funeral plans are offered by a number of different organisations and can be paid for as a lump sum or in monthly instalments.

You buy your funeral at today’s price and within the plan you can stipulate things like the type of coffin, the venue for the service, flowers even what hymns you want.

It takes away the financial strain and uncertainty for the family and gives you peace of mind that your personal wishes and preferences will be catered for.