Fewer Than 20% Of People Make Plans Before Death: Based on a survey of 1,000 people in the UK who played a significant role in organising a funeral for a family member or close friend in the last 8 – 24 months, Everest found almost two in five (39%) had to use their own money to cover the costs of a funeral as the deceased had not made provisions while alive.
Cost Shocks When Organising a Funeral
More than a quarter (26%) of those who said the deceased had prepared some funding for their own funeral, were not able to access this money when they needed to settle bills and had to cover the costs out of their own pocket until money was released.
More than a third (36%) of respondents found the cost of the funeral to be greater than anticipated. Everest’s data shows that those who pre-arrange their own funeral through a provider (around 15%) reduce the financial impact on their loved ones.
In the UK, the average cost of a basic funeral is around £4,180. For a third (35%) of those polled by Everest, funeral director/ministerial fees were the most expensive element of planning a final farewell.
Lack of funeral services support
Many people said they felt poorly supported throughout the process of funeral planning. Many said dealing with a death was unfamiliar territory. Only half (53%) of those who used a funeral service provider felt that their provider offered enough guidance. They lacked necessary information throughout the planning process. One in six (16%) said they were offered enough support beyond basic logistics. Just one in five were offered out of hours support.
Death and funerals remain taboo topics
For people who have had to recently organise a funeral and carry out the associated paperwork, there is a determination not to put their loved ones through the same experience as a result of their death. 2 in 3 (66%) say they don’t want their funeral to be a burden for their loved ones. And nearly 3 in 5 (57%) don’t want them to deal with financial challenges due to their funeral.
Part of the issue is a void of communication around the subject of death. Despite their often gruelling experience of organising a funeral, fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) have discussed funeral planning with their family and friends. A significant majority bemoan the lack of planning and transparency. 2 in 3 (68%) wish the topic was not such a taboo.
This lack of discussion impacts the time it takes for people to organise funerals and death administration. Half (54%) of the people saw some aspect of their daily lives impacted by the organisation of the funeral. And 2 in 5 (36%) admit that it left little time to grieve properly.
Help When Organising a Funeral
Commenting on the findings, Mark Wood, Chairman of Everest UK, said. “For most of us, organising a funeral will be a source of financial and emotional stress. Planning becomes a full-time job in the weeks between someone’s death and the funeral. People deserve more support. We know that providing price transparency, assistance with funeral service provider selection, and help to organise the whole service is hugely valued. It’s something we are here in the UK to assist with. The practicalities of dealing with death cannot be allowed to crowd out the time to grieve.
“There is also a broader societal issue at play which prevents better preparation for when the inevitable happens. The reluctance to discuss death and funeral arrangements speaks to the ultimate taboo topic – our mortality. However, we know that those who make provisions and discuss their funeral wishes relieve the burden. Especially that on the loved ones they leave behind. It’s time to scrap the euphemisms, look death squarely in the face and plan ahead. If only for the benefit of next of kin.”