Survey reveals that 40% of families believe themselves to be incapable of covering funeral costs without getting into debt

A study conducted by Engage Mutual has revealed that some 40% of people surveyed in the UK believe that they would not be able to cope with the costs of their funeral, with one of the biggest fears being the debt that they would incur if they could not gain access to the deceased person’s estate within a week.

Making provisions for the future can be something that many people don’t want to think about. Whilst this is understandable, one of the great tragedies of modern society is not simply having to cope with death and loss of a loved one, but the debt that families can incur arranging for an appropriate funeral, with over three quarters of the 2000 people surveyed by Engage Mutual revealing that they had made no provisions for their own funeral.

It is important to know the specifics of your funeral arrangements, so that your loved ones are protected against debt should the worst happen. Few people in the UK give much thought to the costs associated with funeral expenses, with some overestimating and some underestimating the overall expenditure of a funeral. Today, the average cost of a funeral in the UK stands at £4,650 whilst the cremation costs some £3,239.

However, during their survey Engage Mutual found that more than two thirds of the participants believed costs to be below £4,000, whilst over a half of people priced an average cremation at £3,000 or lower.

Added to this is the issue surrounding probate and litigation. Whilst some believe that they will get access to the assets and estate of the deceased immediately, we stress that this is simply not the case, with the average length of probate cases taking around six months to conclude. Furthermore, more complicated estates (such as those that involve property or inheritance tax) can take a year or longer to resolve, which can leave families stranded who might otherwise have expected to pay funeral costs with ease.

Perhaps even more telling was that the majority of those surveyed (some 56% of total participants) had not drawn up a will – this can lengthen the amount of time spent on probate and litigation further still.

At John G Hogg, the last thing we want to see is families crippled by funeral debt, and our funeral directors can set up an appropriate scheme to ensure that this does not occur should the worst happen.