The funeral time bomb

Apr 20, 2015 | REPORTS

After decades of the number of deaths in the UK falling, 2015 will mark a “tipping point” where the historic trend starts to reverse: as the oldest of the babyboomer generation move through their later years deaths are predicted to rise by 20%.

This trend reversal will have significant implications for current forecasts of funeral costs and highlights a growing need for families to broach the delicate subject of end of life expenses.

The findings form part of a new report commissioned by mutual, OneFamily, which incorporates Family Investments and Engage Mutual, and undertaken by the  ILC-UK.

The report, “The funeral time bomb” reveals:

  • Funeral costs are already soaring in the UK with the cost of a simple funeral increasing by 80% between 2004 and 2014.
  • With deaths predicted to rise, increasing pressure on funeral services is likely to push prices even higher: ILC-UK predicts that funeral costs could reach or exceed £7,000 by 2020, with the cost of a simple funeral  projected to rise to £5,226 by 2020.
  • Aggregate spending on funerals in the UK could rise to £3.7bn by 2020 (up from £2.8 bn. in 2014).
  • Funeral debt (where money has been borrowed to cover the cost of a funeral) in the UK could reach a quarter of a billion in less than 20 years

The report highlights a growing need for families to come together and plan ahead for funeral expenses as these could have a significant impact on families who are already under financial pressure. At present, 14.5 million families would not be able to pay for a funeral at short notice unless the deceased had taken out some form of funeral  provision, such as life cover, to help towards the costs.Moreover Government Funeral Payments have not kept up with rises in funeral costs and in 2012 the average amount awarded represented just 37% of the costs of a simple funeral.

The report argues that borrowing costs are unaffordable for many and that there is an urgent need for more support and greater pre-planning.