Funeral debt reaches all-time high


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Holding hands in front of a coffin

One in 10 people struggle with funeral costs, new research reveals, and take on £1,744 debt on average.

The annual National Funeral Cost Index from Royal London shows that the cost of funerals has risen by 6% over five years, to an average of £3,757 in 2018. The amount of debt people take on to pay for their loved one’s funeral has increased by 34% over that time, to an average of £1,744

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Karen Hitchman revealed how she struggled to pay for funeral costs after both her parents died in a short space of time.

“I didn’t have time to grieve, because I was worried about how I was going to pay for it, where I was going to get the money from,” she said.

“It’s heart-breaking. All you want to do is put your parents to rest. And to beg for money – that wasn’t even enough to cover even a third of the funeral costs – was hard. There was nobody there to help me.”

The research found that of those who struggled to pay for a funeral, three in 10 borrowed money from friends and family, while one in five took on debt. Around one in 10 had to sell belongings to give their loved one a send-off.

Planning ahead to avoid funeral debt

Talking to BBC Breakfast about the findings of the study, Louise Eaton-Terry of Royal London emphasised the importance of planning ahead to make provisions for funeral expenses.

“We all know it’s coming,” she told presenter Steph McGovern. “If you can prepare and, importantly, speak to your family about what your wishes are…then that will set people up best.”

If you’re concerned about how your family would pay for your funeral, should anything happen to you, a funeral plan lets you pay in advance and secure funeral director fees at today’s prices.

A funeral plan not only helps ease the financial stress, it also lets you make important decisions in advance – such as whether you want burial or cremation. When the time comes, your loved ones won’t have to shop around for a funeral director, or worry about what you would have wanted. They’ll know that you’re getting the send-off you planned.

With an Avalon funeral plan, you can pay in one lump sum, or in flexible monthly instalments. Find out more about prepaid funeral plans, or call 0800 014 9112 to speak to one of our friendly advisors.


About the author

With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.