Funeral Costs Soar by 9%, and are Likely to Increase

The cost of a funeral rose by more than 9% last year in several regions of the UK, at a time when the sector is under regulatory scrutiny over high prices, and a lack of transparency for customers.  

The growing expense of organising a funeral, and affordability problems for lower income groups, has raised concerns amongst consumer campaigners, and competition regulators. 

A technical consultation released on January 24th, proposed excluding all Joint ownership, Personal Injury, Charitable and Vulnerable Beneficiary Trusts.  

It was also suggested excluding Shareholder Protection Policies, Pensions Schemes, Trusts which hold Life Insurance Policies, and Statutory Trusts (such as those arising out of Intestacy).  

However, trusts created as a result of wills, are to remain subject to the new rules. 

The consultation also proposed delaying by a year, the deadline by which Trusts in existence on March 10th have to list on the Trust Registration Service (TRS) – to March 10th 2021 

The annual costs of dying report from the insurance provider, Sunlife, found the average costs of a funeral had risen by over 9% in the Midlands, Wales, and the South East and East of England. 

The findings came as the competition and markets authority conducted an investigation into the funeral market, following fourteen years of the above inflation price rises in the sector.  

The CMA has also highlighted the costs of Crematoria Services, where the largest private operators had bumped up prices by between 6 and 8 percent a year, for the previous 8 years. 

The National Association of Funeral Directors have counted this by saying, most funeral directors have held or even reduced, their professional fees in recent years. The Sunlife report also indicates that the overall cost of a funeral has risen due to families choosing more elaborate and personalised funeral options, which naturally adds to the costs. 

In November, the day before Parliament was dissolved, The Department for Work and Pensions announced it was raising the funeral expenses payment from £700 to £1000their first since 2003.  

This means tested expense is offered to those on certain state benefits. It covers expenses, such as directors’ fees, flowers and the coffin, as well as a separate amount to help with burial fees, cremation fees, travel, death certificates and documents. Many more families are now opting to have a funeral plan paid for during their lifetime to cover the funeral costs. 

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