Over 200,000 families fail to plan for funeral costs shock.
Funeral costs shock 200,000 families every year. say Co-op Funeralcare. Surveys reveal that failure to plan for inevitable funerals is costing next of kin dearly. Over 200,000* families being left without any funds to cover their loved one’s funeral in 2015.
Even in cases where financial provision had been made, the YouGov** survey found that 11% hadn’t left sufficient funds to cover the full cost.
As a result of this shortfall, in spite of financial provision having been made, a fifth of families (18%) have had to unexpectedly fund over three quarters of the total funeral cost, equating to over £2,500 on average. With the average funeral now costing over £3,800, the majority of families left to fund any shortfall did this in a range of ways including:
- 54% – accessed savings of family and friends of the person who passed away.
- 10% – took out a personal loan.
- 9% – covered the costs on a credit card.
- 6% – sought assistance via the Government’s Social Fund.
Measures introduced by the Co-op, to tackle the issue of funeral affordability include improvements to Co-op’s most affordable funeral option, reducing 7% on average off the cost. Co-op has also become the first business to sign an enhanced pledge from campaign group Fair Funerals to tackle funeral poverty and increase price transparency, in addition to re-launching its funeral planning range to offer the UK’s most affordable*** national fully-guaranteed funeral plan. (We would add that you should read our review before considering a funeral plan – Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
12% said they weren’t aware of the Government’s support via the Social Fund. Of those that did apply, a third were not eligible for funding. They then had to find alternative means to cover the funeral cost. This is a situation that is set to continue with nearly half of UK adults (48%) yet to consider how their funeral would be paid for.
Amongst the remainder who have made plans, the most popular way to save to cover funeral costs is as follows.
- 44% – in a bank and building society savings account. (Please read the link Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
- 20% – via a pre-paid funeral plan.
- 20% – through other savings and investments. (Please read the link Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
- 16% – via an over 50’s plan. (Please read the link. Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
- 13% – via their life insurance. (Unless written in trust or owned by a partner etc, these will not be released until probate has been granted, which could take months! Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
For those who have taken out a funeral plan, their intention was to ensure that their families had nothing more to pay to cover funeral costs. Highlighting this, 45% said it was very important that their funeral plan was inflation proof and fully protected loved ones against any future rises in costs. In spite of wanting to put arrangements in place, findings show that as many as 96% of those with a funeral plan don’t know whether it will cover the total funeral cost. (We have news – NO normal funeral plan will cover ALL of the costs, they just cover the costs stated in the plan brochure or provide a fund towards those costs with some form of indexation. This is especially important for burial plans. If a plot needs to be bought at the time of death. Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)
Commenting on the findings, Richard Lancaster, Managing Director for Co-op Funeralcare said: “The end of our lives isn’t an easy thing to think about and as a result thousands of families are being left with a legacy of financial as well as emotional grief following a loss.”
“With a range of measures already launched this year, we are focused on playing our part to tackle the issue of funeral affordability both by reducing the cost of a funeral, and also by making it more accessible for families to make plans and budget gradually for funeral costs.”
Stephen Pett of The Prepaid Funeral Review said: “We welcome the Co-op Funeralcare initiative but would ask them to put their own Terms and Conditions of Business on a footing acceptable to anyone who takes the trouble to read them. THAT is treating customers fairly.”
*There were 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2015 according to the ONS. Based on 40% of this figure, 211,862 adults in 2015 were left without financial provision for a funeral in 2015
**You Gov research conducted amongst a sample of 1100 UK adults in May 2016
***According to a comparison of national funeral plan providers, the Simple Funeral plan is the most affordable set plan for both burial and cremation available nationwide and fully covering third party costs. (What they ACTUALLY cover is not ALL third party costs, but all LISTED third party costs. The Co-op Plan would be a good one if the Terms of Business were acceptable. Prepaid Funeral Review Team)