Cost of dying rises

The Cost of dying rises to equal three months worth of the average UK wage. Yet almost half of the population are unprepared.

The cost of dying has risen to the equivalent of three months worth of the average pre-tax British salary, according to figures published this week.

In the UK today, the cost of dying – which include death-related costs such as funerals, probate, headstones and flowers – have increased to an average of £7,248. That represents a rise of 20% since 2007 and over £400 since last year.

However, Sun Life Direct, the insurer which carried out the research, said that a quarter of people have not made any end of life plans. Almost half (44%) expect family and friends to organise and fund their funeral and one in five struggle with funeral costs.

Sun Life Direct said its research shows that funeral costs have increased by 61% over the past seven years, a trend which it believes will continue for “the foreseeable future”.

The figures illustrate confused attitudes around end of life planning but also feeds into a broader concern that society is facing three interrelated “later life issues”, Sun Life Direct said.

First, the UK’s aging baby-boomers means the volume of elderly people living longer will result in a progressive surge in demand on the state over the coming decades. Second, this and other recent reports, highlights that the population faces rising end of life costs and “blurred ideas” as to who is responsible. Third, many people do not provide and plan for the end of their lives.

Over a quarter (26%) of respondents have made absolutely no plans for later life, while 87% of respondents have made no arrangements as to where they will live and how they will be cared for if they are unable to care for themselves in old age.

Simon Cox, head of life planning for Sun Life Direct, said that many people are “sleepwalking into a financial nightmare”, leaving end of life plans to their families, the State or no-one at all.

He added: “As a nation we need a wake-up call. Our research indicates that although there is indeed openness to 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.”