Cost of Dying Report: Sun Life Direct’s 5th annual survey
Cost of dying has increased to £7,248, equal to 3 months average salary
1 in 4 people have made NO end of life plans – not even a Will!
Many think they have a plan, and actually they have just told someone their wishes!
Nearly hald of us don’t bother about funeral costs because they are happy for family and friend to pay for and organise it
Sun Life, experts in the cost of dying has researched funeral and other end of life costs for 8 and 5 years respectively, have published its 5th Cost of Dying Report.
In the UK today, the cost of dying (and death-related things e.g. probate, headstones, flowers) has grown to an average cost of £7,248. This is a massive a dramatic increase of 20% since 2007 and is an increase in excess of £400 since last year.
Funerals costs have risen 61% in just 7 years.
Sun Life thinks funeral cost inflation will continue to rise faster than the Retail Price Index .
Their report also says that the increase has been met with surprise and of some concern by those who will end up having responsibility for making the final arrangements for friends and relatives.
Over half of respondents said that the end of life cost was much more than they had anticipated. Just 7% felt that the cost was lower than they had expected.
Despite continually increasing costs, a large proportion of us are not making realistic end of life plans. These include not only funerals and probate but also wills and Lasting Power of Attorney’s and long-term care. Many folks final wishes are therefore not fulfilled and often this lack of planning results inn confusion and upset for those left behind. We are dependent on our families in our final years – and may families just cannot afford it.
44% confirmed that they had given no thought to how their funeral bills would be paid. They simply expected family and friends to cough up and to organise. Apart from writing a Last Will, telling those close to them is the most usual way to “plan” for end of their live.
Sun Life highlights confusion around end of life issues.
But there is a broader concern; we are facing 3 major and related issues.
1) The ageing baby-boomers meaning more elderly people surviving far longer will create a progressing increase in demand on state services every year.
2) This and other recent reports (Dilnot https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/carecommission/files/2011/07/Fairer-Care-Funding-Report.pdf) highlight that we face increasing end of life costs and have fuzzy ideas as to whom this burden should fall on.
3) Sun Life Direct research demonstrates that few people provide and plan for the end of their own lives. Funerals – both organisation and payment – probate as well as Wills, Trusts and Lasting Power of Attorney’s and finally long-term care.
Simon Cox of Sun Life, comments:
“People are sleepwalking into a financial nightmare, leaving their end of life plans to either their families, the State or no-one at all. As a nation we need a wake-up call. Our research indicates that although there is some openness in talking about death, action is still greatly lacking. Steps need to be taken to avert the sort of distress and concern experienced by the nearly one in five (100,000 people) who struggle with funeral costs.”
Dr Kate Woodthorpe, lecturer in Sociology, University of Bath, concludes:
“A key concern for society is whether the current infrastructure established to support people at the end of their life is fit for purpose today. Currently the number of deaths each year in England and Wales is at an all time low, with 491,348 deaths registered in 2009. It is anticipated that the number of deaths will rise significantly and by 2030 there will be an additional 80,000 people dying a year. http://pmj.sagepub.com/content/22/1/33.abstract This equates to a rise of 17% in the death rate in less than 20 years.
“At the same time, people are living longer and as a result are using more resources, both their own and the State’s. Costs for social care are rising, living standard expectations are high, and there remains an expectation that wealth is passed down the generations. The relationship between the public, commercial and voluntary sectors in the resourcing and provision of care, information, advice, support and services in old age and in planning for death is open to debate.”