Cost of dying hits £7,622

4 September 2013

The cost of dying has reached an average of £7,622 – 7.1% more than it cost in 2012, according to Sun Life Direct.

The average funeral - including burial or cremation fees, funeral directors' fees etc – now costs £3,456, a 5.3% increase on 2012 and an 80% increase on 2004, when Sun Life began monitoring the costs.

The firm said burial and cremation fees in particular were responsible for much of the cost increases experienced by the bereaved.

Discretionary funeral costs (including the likes of funeral notices, catering, limos etc) have also increased, by £83 to £2,006. Four out of five people buy flowers for a funeral, spending £160 on average, and memorials are the most expensive component with people spending £864 on average.

The research also reveals that almost one in five people (18%) who have organised a funeral in the past four years struggled to afford it. The average shortfall increased from £1,246 in 2012 to £1,277 this year.

Sun Life said total funeral poverty (the national funeral funding shortfall) now stands at just over £131 million, over 50% higher than the £85 million figure of three years ago.

This is likely to worsen, as the firm expects funeral costs to rise "significantly", with the average cost expected to reach £4,326 in 2018.

Melanie Rees, head of brand at Sun Life Direct, said: "As over 100,000 people struggle to pay for a funeral this year, an important message for everyone should be to do something to prepare, however small. The death of a loved one is a difficult time, and is only compounded by financial worries over how to pay for the funeral".

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