Steep hikes in funeral fees mean bereaved families are being forced deeper into debt. Recession-battered Brits are struggling to pay undertaking costs, having to deal with debt collectors and even delaying burials until funds are available.
In many cases, funeral directors ask for funds up front to cover third party costs such as crematorium, or burial charges, flowers and doctor’s fees.
Lee Parkin from Kensington Financial Management Consultants says: “They say nothing is certain but death and taxes, but the unexpected high cost of funerals often comes as a nasty blow to the bereaved. Most people do not plan for deaths and the sudden expense is forcing people further into debt. Funerals are one of those things that nobody wants to prepare for and as a result put little or no money aside for them. People are struggling through the recession and many are faced with redundancy, leaving them juggling their finances - yet they still would like to commemorate the loss of their loved ones without cutting corners. We encourage relatives and friends to check exactly what is provided in funeral packages before they book. It is an expense most people make under distressed circumstances and so they are less concerned about comparing prices but there are different price tags available, depending on financial circumstances. It is worth getting two or three quotes from local or independent funeral directors, as there are some cost savings to be made. Although planning your own funeral might seem morbid, setting aside funds for the inevitable may be a wise idea. Ringing round yourself to get the most cost-effective deal, means you can have the funeral you want, without leaving loved ones in debt. Some companies offer pre-paid funerals, with costs starting at around £2,500 including burial or cremation (such as Co-op Funeralcare), but beware as spreading the payments can incur interest rates of up to 25 per cent.”