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Funeral costs and debt reach record high

Woman struggling with funeral debt and credit card bills

Funeral costs have reached an all-time high, according to new research, and families are borrowing more money to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral.

The newly-published National Funeral Index 2019 found that the price of an average funeral has hit a record £3,785. The total amount of debt taken on to cover these costs has increased by 12% since last year, hitting £1,990 on average.

The report found that more than 1 in 10 people said they’d struggled to pay for a loved one’s funeral. Of those who struggled, over a quarter used credit cards, loans or overdrafts to help with costs, while a fifth had to borrow money from friends and family.

A third of those surveyed said a funeral cost more than they expected. But a quarter of people said they went above and beyond their loved one’s wishes when planning the funeral. More than 1 in 10 of these people said they spent £1,000 more than they had previously discussed with the person who died.

“There’s a lot of pressure on families to give their loved one’s a ‘proper send-off’,” says Susan Stevenson, CEO of Avalon Funeral Plans. “As this report shows, that sometimes means spending much more money than expected. The trend of rising funeral costs continues and as a result we’re seeing more and more debt being taken on by bereaved families.

“That’s why we believe it’s important for everyone to think about funeral arrangements before the time comes. If you talk to your loved ones now about what you want, and make plans to help them with the costs, it really will make things easier for them at a difficult time.”

Avalon’s prepaid funeral plans give you peace of mind by fixing Funeral Director fees at today’s prices and taking care of arrangements in advance. We’re the UK’s most trusted funeral plan provider, working with over 1,800 local, independent Funeral Directors across the UK.

Find out why 70,000 people are glad they planned with us – compare our funeral plans.

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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.