How to avoid leaving your family in debt after your funeral


People are finding it hard to fund funerals – and are going into debt to cover the cost.

The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index shows that prices range between £3,036 and £6,516 depending on location.

And the average cost of a funeral has increased to £3,784, up almost 3% in a year.

The study also found the average debt taken on by families who found it hard to pay for a funeral was £1,680 in 2017, with more than one in seven (16%) respondents saying they struggled with costs.

But by planning ahead, organising your finances – and your own pre-paid funeral – you can help your family to sidestep issues over the cost. 

Robert Dawn, 65, from Stapleford, has planned and paid for his funeral in advance. He started things off by making an appointment at The Nottingham’s Stapleford branch, where he has been a saver for 50 years, and they helped put his plan in place.  

He said: “My children don’t have loads of money and have their own young families to look after. I don’t want them spending what they have on me, so it was really important to put the funeral plan in place for when the worst happens. 

“It is dealt with now and they don’t have to do, or worry about, anything from the financial side of things when that day comes – which hopefully won’t be for a very long time.”

John Cutler, relationship manager at The Nottingham’s pre-paid funeral partner Dignity, said: “The reality is that costs are increasing.

“Pre-paid funerals were originally created in response to that. For instance, customers who bought one five years ago will already have saved £700 compared with the average increase.

“If no plans are in place the cost is borne by the next of kin and not that many people have got £3,000-£4,000 lying around not earmarked for anything else.

“Having a pre-paid funeral can also protect the next of kin from spending too much by booking a more expensive funeral than their loved one would have expected.”

A pre-paid funeral will proceed on your own terms, ensuring it’s just how you wanted it.

There are lots of options on the market. Here’s Dignity’s checklist of what you should consider before taking out a plan:
  • What’s actually covered? Does it include funeral director services or minister’s fees?
  • How secure is my money? Will it still be there at the end of my life?
  • What level of service will my loved ones receive? Check feedback and customer review stats. 
  • How flexible is the plan? If I change my mind, can I alter the details?
  • Is the funeral plan guaranteed, even if my local undertaker ceases trading?
You can start making decisions after a conversation with your family, or if you prefer, drop into a branch first for a no-obligation chat with staff.

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