Cost of dying rises as funeral costs soar, says Bath University researchers
The cost of dying – as well as the cost of living – has risen by a fifth in just the last four years, according to researchers from a West university.
Increased funeral costs, which now normally easily exceed £3,000 are key to the increase, with the whole package – from service to headstone and a wake – rising by £400 to £7,248 on average.
Researchers from the University of Bath conducted the survey into funeral costs on behalf of assurance company Sun Life Direct, and found the cost of dying was rising faster than the cost of living. Inflation may have topped 4.5 per cent this week, but the rise in costs of funerals is more than five per cent. And, according to sociology lecturer Kate Woodthorpe, who undertook the research at the University of Bath, the number of people dying will rocket in the next 20 years.
“Currently the number of deaths each year is at an all-time low,” she said. “In 2009, 491,348 deaths were registered. It is anticipated, that the number of deaths will rise significantly and by 2030.”
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“This equates to a rise of 17 per cent in the death rate in less than 20 years,” she added.
Last year, the average cost of a cremation in the UK was £2,720, with burials more expensive, at £3,462. Add in the cost of flowers – average cost £144 – catering for the funeral – £319 – and the solicitors to deal with the estate and the will – at £2,292 – the grieving relatives, on average, end up with a bill of more than £7,000.
There was one piece of good news for those with the unfortunate task of planning a funeral – the General Synod, which run the Church of England, recently threw out a proposal to raise the cost of a church funeral service from £102 to £150.