There have been widespread concerns in the UK for many years about the cost of funerals. The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) review has been delayed during the pandemic and expected controls are not yet in place. 
Despite this, the recent ‘Cost of Dying’ report from SunLife says that funeral costs fell in 2021 for the first time in 18 years. 
Funeral costs vary 
The research found that the average cost of a funeral went down by £128 to around £4,054. However, total costs including professional fees and their send-off are likely to be around £8,864. Many families are still very concerned about how to manage these expenses when a loved one dies. 
Funerals are still a third more expensive than they were a decade ago and, in some regions, the price is still rising. While the average fall in price was 4.3%, in London it went up by 2.3%, making funeral costs in the capital around £5,358. 
Attitudes towards funerals 
In recent years direct cremations have become more popular, but in the last year they have increased significantly by 18%. This has put pressure on many crematoriums to meet the growing demand. 
Restrictions due to coronavirus have forced many to change funeral plans for their loved ones. More than eight in 10 people who organised a funeral in the last 18 months said their plans were affected by the pandemic, including having fewer attendees, smaller venues and less transport. These changes will explain at least part of the fall in costs. 
Traditional and religious funerals are becoming less popular, with a growing preference for services that reflect someone’s personality or which meet their specific wishes. Examples have included pet dogs as guards of honour, popular music included in the service, and alternative choices of transport. 
Continuing concerns about funeral costs 
Price rises above inflation for many years mean that families will continue to struggle to pay for funerals. The research found more than 17% of families have serious financial concerns about paying for a funeral. 
Over a third said they needed to take money from savings or investments to cover the cost, more than a quarter had to borrow money from a friend or relative, and one in five needed to use a credit card. Unexpected losses and family income under pressure during the pandemic have made it even harder to find the money needed for a loved one’s funeral. 
Provision for your funeral in your Will 
If you make provision for your funeral in your Will your executors can claim the cost from your estate. You could put some money in a savings account and, while banks and building societies usually freeze accounts when someone dies, they will often allow their family to access funds before probate has been granted to pay for the funeral. A copy of the death certificate and funeral invoice with your name on it will normally be needed 
Please get in touch if you would like to update your Will or write a new Will which includes your funeral wishes. 
Tagged as: Funeral costs, Wills
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