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Living isn't the only thing getting more expensive in Britain. Dying is too

A man stands sadly by a coffin.
A man stands sadly by a coffin. Copyright Canva Stock Images
Copyright Canva Stock Images
By Haris Malik
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Funeral costs in Britain have risen by a staggering amount in recent years.

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The cost of living isn't the only thing going up and up in the UK. 

Dying is getting more expensive, too. 

Over the last 16 years, the average cost of a funeral has increased by 130%, according to a report by SunLife, a UK-based financial services company.

In 2004, a typical funeral would set you back around £1,920 (€2,170). By 2019, this figure had soared to £4,417 (€5,000).

However, funeral costs can vary drastically depending on location, type and director. 

London, the priciest part of Britain, is unsurprisingly the most expensive place to die. Here funeral costs are around £5,283 (€5,975) - a whopping £2000 (€2,260) more than in Northern Ireland.

So, what do funeral costs actually cover?

A basic funeral package includes things like body collection, funeral services and support for the deceased’s family.

But it doesn't end here - you might have to spend thousands more in additional expenses too.

These costs cover a range of things, from professional services to administering the deceased's estate. 

Families may also personalise a funeral's venue, catering and flowers or opt for extras such as limousines or a wake, which can send costs skyrocketing. 

Additional fees include the purchase of a grave plot or the scattering of ashes. 

According to SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2023, rising professional fees (such as probate) and send-off costs (such as venue hire) have caused the overall cost of dying to increase to £9,200 (€10,400). 

This includes the cost of the funeral director, burial or cremation fees, the coffin or urn, flowers and the order of service.

Many families have been left struggling to cover these costs, with some resorting to loans to pay for their loved one's send-off.

A number of factors are behind the spiking costs, including inflation and changes in funeral industry practices, besides stronger demand for personalised and non-traditional funerals.

Aside from the burial rites, when someone passes away, there are various legal tasks that need to be undertaken, such as registering the deceased, notifying banks and insurance companies and settling the deceased's affairs. 

This can be a time-consuming and complex process, and families may choose to enlist the help of a solicitor to handle these tasks. 

Their fees are also eyewatering. Typically around £1,500 (€1,700) o £3,000 (€3390) for a straightforward estate.

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Additionally, if the deceased's estate is worth more than £325,000, inheritance tax may be payable. 

This tax is currently set at 40% of the value of the estate above the threshold. Families may need to pay this before they can access any money or assets left by the deceased.

As many find it increasingly difficult to live with increased prices, it seems to be equally difficult to bear the expense of dying.

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