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sunlife 50+

Funeral Bills Getting Very Large – What To Do

January funeral bills could exceed £495million.

Provisions left by the deceased will only cover 70% of their funeral bills.

January typically sees highest death rate in the year with 60,888 deaths registered in January 2015.1

  • Provisions left by the deceased will only cover 70% of their funeral bills.
  • Friends and family are left to pay £2,449 each which could total £150 million.
  • One in seven will be forced into debt as a result of paying for loved ones’ funeral costs.
Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

January is a tough month thanks to almost six weeks between pay days, Christmas to pay for and many of us thinking of booking our summer holiday. Now, new research from SunLife has found it’s also the month with the highest funeral bills of the year. And, because we only make sufficient provision to cover 70% of our own funeral bills, loved ones could be faced with a £150m funeral bill this month putting even more pressure on family finances.

SunLife’s research2 shows that two in five (42%) don’t make any financial provision for their own funeral, and of those that do, only 70% of the total cost is covered, which leaves friends and family are left to pay the shortfall – £2,449 on average – putting one in seven into financial difficulty.

Of those, half have to borrow money- either from friends or relatives (21%), the bank or a loan provider (8%) or via a credit card (21%) – while one in seven (14%) had to sell belongings.

Graham Jones, Commercial Director at SunLife said: “It can cause loved ones a great deal of added stress at a difficult time if no provisions are in place so it’s important to consider making some plans.”

“There are a number of options – the most popular is through savings and investments (60%), while prepaid funeral plans are becoming more popular – 27% had one in place compared to 24% last year while just over a quarter (26%) had a life insurance plan in place.”


1. Deaths registered in England and Wales, ONS

2. SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying 2015 report found the cost of dying is now £8,126, while the cost of a basic funeral is £3,693

£8,126 (cost of dying 2015) x 51,940 (average deaths Jan 2011-2015) = £422,064,440

£8,126 (cost of dying 2015) x 60,888 (deaths in Jan 2015) = £494,775,888

£2,449 (shortfall) X 51,940 (average deaths Jan 2011-2015) = £127,201,060

£2,449 (shortfall) x 60,888 (deaths in Jan 2015) = £149,114,712

Cost of Dying Goes Through The Roof….

Cost of dying rockets in 2014.

Prepaying for a funeral becomes far more attractive as Sun Life report that the cost of dying has risen 7 times more than the cost of living in the 12 months to October 2014.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

So it won’t be long before the cost of new prepaid funeral plans rises to catch up – with some rises already on the cards. So save more by contacting us promptly, even if that means you need to spread the cost.

Cost of dying rises from £7,619 to £8,427 in just 12 months

– that is an extra £807 for the family to find.

The costs other than the funeral itself include probate, headstones and flowers.
The funeral cost (accounting for less than half the total cost of dying) has also risen sharply at more than twice the rate of inflation to £3,590 (a rise of 3.9% since 2013 and a staggering 87% higher than in Sun Life’s first survey in 20043).

Over half “save” with DIY Probate to reduce cost of dying.

More than 50% now choose to carry out the probate / estate administration themselves (and more are using DI Probate help to make it easier.)

DIY funeral planning

A 39% rise in estate administration costs contributed significantly to this year’s total cost of dying increase. The average cost of hiring a professional, such as a solicitor to help manage the affairs of a deceased loved one, now accounts for more than a third of the overall cost. (For those who don’t want to do it themselves, The Probate Department Ltd offers pretty reasonable terms and is happy to let the family help.)

The Report says that 52% are now choosing to the DIY probate route now – kast year it was just 39%!

Too poor to die – the family can’t afford it!

Funeral poverty (the national funeral funding shortfall) now stands at nearly £200 million, 125% higher than four years ago. That will only get worse, unless more people invest in prepaid funeral plans.   Most families could afford to invest in one funeral plan to be used by the first to die, but it is not a standard option (but The Prepaid Funeral Review team can advise.)

Sun Life predicts funeral costs will rise to an estimated £4,489 by 2019.

The national average cost of dying figure masks significant variations at a regional level, with the average cost in the London area now a staggering £10,498. Meanwhile, the least expensive place to die is Northern Ireland where the average cost is £5,893 though the family might complain about the ferry costs (;-))

SunLife’s marketing director David Brooks comments: 
“The death of a loved one is already a very difficult time. Yet financial worries and debt can make the experience of planning a funeral even more distressing.

“All our research shows that planning, however small, really helps and we urge families to break the taboo of talking about death and share their wishes. Not planning properly for your own passing can cause a significant financial burden on the people left behind – increasing the emotional distress even further.”

Dr Kate Woodthorpe, lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bath’s Centre for Death & Society, adds:
”The costs associated with the end of life are rising and it is worrying that people are not prepared for what they may have to face. It is important to remember that at a time of great emotional upheaval, the financial implications of someone dying are not simply about money. They also include questions of who is responsible for the funeral and the estate, and their administration. Putting some plans in place while you are in reasonable health, however informal or formal, big or small, can go a long way to facilitating a smoother passage for those left behind.”

So why not cut the cost of dying by contacting the Prepaid Funeral Review team today?