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Cost of dying at unprecedented high in UK: Report | – Times of India

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In the UK, the cost of funerals has reached an unprecedented high, as reported by SunLife, an insurance company. This surge in expenses has led nearly a quarter of the population to choose direct cremations or burials without any formal ceremony. The report also highlighted that in the past year, around 20% of people had to sell personal belongings to afford funeral costs.
The average “cost of dying” in the UK last year was approximately £9,658 ($12,296), marking a £458 increase from 2022 and the highest ever recorded by SunLife. The average funeral cost in 2023 was £4,141, a 4.7% rise from the previous year and a significant jump from £1,835 in 2004. With the increasing prices, more individuals are opting for less expensive funeral options. This trend was observed through interviews with over 1,500 families and 100 funeral directors.
Direct cremations, where the deceased is taken directly to the crematorium without a service, accounted for 20% of funerals last year, up from 3% in 2019. Direct burials, where the deceased is buried without a service, were also noted for the first time in the SunLife report, making up 4% of funerals. The cost of a direct burial averages at £1,657, significantly lower than the £5,077 for a traditional burial.
Regardless of the type of funeral chosen, an increasing number of people are struggling to afford their own funeral costs. About 45% depend on their families to cover some of the expenses. The report also found that the percentage of people selling their belongings to fund funeral costs has risen from 15% to 18% since last year.
Some other highlights:
Regional variations in funeral costs are significant, with Northern Ireland being the most affordable and London the most expensive.
The report observes a shift in funeral choices, with cremations with a service being the most popular at 53%, but direct cremations and burials are also on the rise.
Financial challenges are evident, with 70% of people making provisions for their funeral costs, but only 54% covering the entire cost. Many families face financial concerns, resorting to savings, credit cards, or selling belongings to cover expenses.
The cost-of-living crisis is impacting funeral arrangements and the wellbeing of those organizing them, with 44% affected by the crisis and a significant number reporting mental and physical health impacts.
To manage rising costs, many are cutting back on funeral expenses, with 59% actively reducing costs on aspects like flowers and coffins.
The report also highlights a lack of communication about funeral wishes, with many not knowing their loved ones’ preferences.
This financial strain comes amid the UK experiencing its worst decline in living standards on record. The Office of Management and Budget warned last year that this downturn would persist until at least March 2023. Additionally, the TUC trade union recently cautioned that real wages might not return to their 2008 levels until at least 2028.

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