More than 200,000 families left with no funds to cover funeral costs

Figures from Co-op Funeralcare reveal that a failure to plan ahead for funerals is costing next-of-kin dearly, leaving more than 200,000 families without any funds to cover their loved one’s funeral costs in 2015.

Even in cases where financial provision had been made to cover funeral costs, the survey found that 11% of those who have arranged a funeral for someone said the person who had passed away hadn’t left sufficient funds to cover the full cost. As a result of this shortfall, 18% had to unexpectedly fund more than three-quarters of the total funeral cost, equating to more than £2,500, on average.

With the average funeral now costing more than £3,800, the majority of families left to fund any shortfall had to use savings (54%), take out a loan (10%) or pay on a credit card (9%).

Those who have taken out a funeral plan did so to ensure that their families had nothing more to pay to cover funeral costs. Around 45% said it was very important that their funeral plan was inflation-proof and fully protected loved ones against any future rises in costs. However, 96% of those with a funeral plan don’t know whether it will cover the total funeral cost.

Richard Lancaster, managing director for Co-op Funeralcare, said: “The end of our lives isn’t an easy thing to think about and as a result thousands of families are being left with a legacy of financial as well as emotional grief following a loss.

“With a range of measures already launched this year, we are focused on playing our part to tackle the issue of funeral affordability both by reducing the cost of a funeral, and also by making it more accessible for families to make plans and budget gradually for funeral costs.”