Dying debts

SunLife has reported that one in ten people are forced into debt to pay for funeral costs.

SunLife’s most recent extensive research consisted of an online survey of 1,504 UK adults who were responsible for planning a funeral and administering an estate within the last four years. A further 118 telephone interviews were conducted with funeral directors from across the ten UK regions.

The study found that:

  • 43% of people make no financial provisions our funeral
  • One in seven relatives face financial issues covering funeral costs
  • Of those, 46% are forced into debt

One in ten people are forced into debt to cover funeral costs of loved ones, according to the research from SunLife.

For 43% of those surveyed, the person they were planning the funeral for had made no financial provisions to pay for their funeral before they died.

Even amongst those whose loved ones had put provisions in place, 16% still had to contribute to meet the full cost.

“With a basic funeral now costing £3,590, many of those left to organise a funeral are struggling to cover the costs.” says Dean Lamble, Managing Director of SunLife.

“Our research found that the average shortfall was £2,371 while one in seven said arranging the funeral caused them ‘notable financial concerns’. Of those, almost half (46%), had to go into debt to cover the cost using credit cards, loans and borrowing from friends or relatives.”

However, SunLife’s research also found that almost a quarter (24%) of those who had made specific financial plans had done so using a pre-paid funeral plan — where you pay for your funeral in advance, so helping to protect against rising funeral prices – an option that is rising in popularity.

For further details on this issue and to find out more about SunLife, contact Rachel Mason at [email protected]

All figures were sourced from SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2014.

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