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Cost of dying soars

A survey has revealed that the cost of dying has risen by 10.6% – seven times the rise in inflation – the biggest jump in six years.

Insurance specialist SunLife’s latest annual Cost Of Dying Report shows the total cost is now £8,427. This includes probate, headstones and flowers, as well as the basic cost of a funeral. However, the cost of the funeral, which accounts for 43% of the total, has also risen at more than twice the rate of inflation to £3,590.

A 39% rise in estate administration costs contributed significantly to the overall increase. The average cost of hiring a solicitor to help manage the affairs of a deceased loved one, now accounts for more than a third of the overall cost.

Unsurprisingly, the number of people who choose to manage their loved ones’ affairs without professional help has increased dramatically, with over half now choosing to do it. Saving money is a key motivation, but other factors, such as a feeling of duty, also influence the decision. 

SunLife puts total funeral poverty at nearly £200m, 125% higher than four years ago. One in seven people who have organised a funeral in the past four years admitted it caused them financial concern, with the average shortfall standing at £2,371. 

Of this group, 42% dug into savings or investments to help pay for the funeral, a quarter borrowed money from friends or relatives and 22% put extra debt on a credit card to deal with the sudden cash outflow.

The organisation’s research estimates funeral costs will continue to rise to £4,489 by 2019. 

The national average cost of dying masks significant variations at a regional level, with averages costs ranging from £10,498 in the London area to £5,893 in Northern Ireland.

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