The emotional and financial price being paid by the bereaved today
Our 2014 Cost of Dying Report reveals the cost of dying is about more than just money, highlighting the emotional as well as financial burden left on many bereaved families across the country.
The upfront costs when we die
There’s no doubt, dying is an expensive business. The average cost of dying – made up of basic funeral costs, professional estate administration and extra touches - now stands at £8,427, up over 10% on last year and a rise seven times the rate of inflation.
With the funeral alone making up over 40% of this figure, it’s a sad reality that more and more of us are struggling to find the money to pay the funeral director’s bill.
The hidden costs we don’t always plan for
Look beyond the one big cost of organising the funeral and you’ll find many other costs that could be passed on to those we leave behind.
If we don’t have plans in place, the person left to handle our affairs can be faced with unexpected bills and a sudden, hefty demand on their time. All this to suddenly contend with on top of trying to cope with their loss and take care of their own lives.
In fact, our research found that 38% of people had to pay for a bill out of their own pockets, with 24% having to pay energy bills from their loved ones’ address and 23% spending over £100 on petrol or public transport – with no guarantee they’ll be reimbursed from the estate. And almost a third of people have had to take at least five days paid or unpaid leave from work to deal with the administration of the estate.
A little understanding can be priceless
Unfortunately, businesses don’t always help to ease a bereaved family’s distress at an emotionally challenging time. Nearly one in five of the people administering an estate agreed they’d experienced distress due to the treatment they’d received from companies whilst taking care of their loved one’s affairs; with almost half feeling companies could do better in this area.
Whilst plenty of businesses are doing a good job, common negative experiences included repeatedly asking for the deceased in correspondence and calls; adopting a ‘debt collecting’ approach and requesting obscure or unclear information.
Here at SunLife we’re committed to improving the experience of bereaved families when dealing with their loved ones affairs and understand it’s often the small changes that make the biggest mark. That’s why we’ve created a straightforward manifesto setting out the simple things that we, and other companies, can do to make a big difference to people at an emotionally draining time:
The difference plans can make
Thinking ahead will also make a big difference. Putting some plans in place while we can, will ease the financial and emotional strain on your nearest and dearest when it matters most.
With a funeral plan you can pay towards your funeral and make some of the arrangements, leaving them with less money to find and a clear idea of what you’d like. Getting your finances in order and making a Will, will also make sorting your affairs far more straightforward and less stressful when the time comes.
And finally, don’t forget to tell the people who need to know what you’ve done. It may not be something you want to do, but the conversation only need happen once and everyone will feel better for knowing.
You can read our funeral planning guide to find out all you need to know about making funeral plans.
You can also read our guide to Wills to find out everything you need to know about making a Will.
SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.