According to the 2011 Annual Cost of Dying Report from Sun Life Direct, the cost of dying (including death-related costs such as funerals, probate, headstones and flowers) has increased to an average of £7,248, representing a dramatic increase of 20% since 2007, and over £400 more than last year. Discretionary funeral costs have increased 6.7% from an average of £1,746 in 2010 to £1,864 in 2011. Estate planning costs have reached a record high at £2,292.

The largest contributing factor to the cost of dying is non-discretionary funeral costs, which have risen by 8.2% since 2010.

A quarter of those surveyed had not made any end of life plans. Many people do not provide and plan for the end of their lives. This includes the organisation of, and payment for, funerals and estate administration as well as the preparation of legal documents such as wills and end of life care.

Simon Cox for Sun Life Direct, comments: "We need to educate the public and especially those on lower incomes who may struggle to meet funeral costs.”

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