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Funeral costs can leave afterlife of debt for families

Do you have a plan for when you pass away? It’s probably not something you really want to think about, but failing to plan for the inevitable can lead to some big bills for our families – and even leave them in debt.

The average cost of a funeral in 2014 was £5,423, and the International Longevity Centre think-tank reckons it will rise to around £7,200 in 10 years.

Around 109,000 UK adults borrowed money to pay for a funeral in 2013, with an average bill of £1,305.  

That’s not a legacy anyone would want to leave behind.

Funeral costs easily add up

The costs can easily add up to a hefty sum, and even the basic options don’t come cheap. A simple funeral of burial or cremation, the services of a funeral director and a minister or celebrant can add up to a sizeable £3,590.


Be upfront about what you want before you die – and how to pay for it

None of us know when we’re going to die. But if you want to help your family when you do, it’s worth thinking about what you want for a funeral.

Letting your family know that you’re happy without a solid wood casket or a coach and horses can take the pressure off.

You can even put money away in a specific funeral plan. Here you pay either a lump sum or series of instalments to fund your funeral when you die.


Deal with the debt

If you’ve already had to borrow to pay for a funeral, make sure you have a plan in place to repay the money. If you are struggling, you can use our debt advice locator to find some free, independent advice near you.


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  • Ashley Shepherd / 6 May 2015

    I've read that funeral inflation has averaged 5.85% over the last 10 years, so putting money into your savings account might not be the right thing to do, if you are comparing the two. It's just not the costs to think about either, I know that my parents have taken a plan out because they didn't want to leave the hassle and emotional stress to me and my brothers and they got great satisfaction out of buying a prepaid funeral plan knowing that they don' have to think about it again. They might not be for everyone but for some people whether that's for financial or just saving their family the stress it will be a positive thing to do.

  • petr dzurko / 6 May 2015

    pplease send mi monny sam please im not have naou noffing please send mi 1000 please

  • Mickey / 4 May 2015

    What if they collect my body in a van, dig a hole and put me in it. How much? Very little I expect but the cost rises as someone wants £75 to record the fact that you are dead. Does it really cost this to type out and store? Why are we so insistent on a fancy bit of transport and pretty flowers. They are for the living not the dead. If the living wish to see this then get them to pay for it because when I'm gone I don't reckon I will care if there are flowers and a shiny horse and cart. I'm enjoying my time and money here and pockets in shrouds. Oh and yes, get the cash into an investment/bank account to pay for a funeral it costs £60 online for a legal Will. These pay upfront plans are ok but if you read the small print, they actually want more afterwards and the interest from that £5k you have handed them is gone. in ten years that could have been well over £7k! You will find many online accounts pay far better than a tax free ISA and you may be paying tax on your interest but no ISA will beat the interest of some of the long term accounts or even slightly risky investments.

  • Ray Baldacchino / 3 May 2015

    Why pay into a funeral plan when you can put the money in a savings account, maybe a cash ISA which is tax free, and gain interest which will help cover inflation? If you do, you will also need a will so that your executor can access the money quickly to pay for the funeral.

  • Robert Bluck / 3 May 2015

    Sir-Madam: Soon the cost of a basic funeral will equal that of buying a new car. One's final two-hours should not cost that much! Write complaining to your MP. With enough people doing that the government will analyse this and put a cap on it every year.
    What's needed is for everyone over 60-years-of-age to pay £5.00 per-month to established funeral directors. This will establish a large fund to pay for everyone's funerals. It will also put an end to insurance companies who claim to specialise in these funeral plans, but, in truth, do not pay out anything under certain circumstances.
    The price of a new car equal to a basic funeral is extortion. I believe a sea funeral would cost much less.

  • Ruth / 3 May 2015

    We all have to go but when not prepare causes so much pain to those left that if you plan and organise you get what you want It should be a convesation we have with a partner or a mate to bring joy and laughter not when at the end my parner passed with only weeks to sort out and said he wished he done it sooner

  • George Halbert / 3 May 2015

    Funeral costs should not rise by more than inflation . Golden Charter have just increased their plan by 10%, inflation is zero % . Robbery of the bereaved !,