Millions of Brits have run up unexpected debts – covering the cost of a family member’s funeral.

Research polling 4,000 UK adults found 47 per cent have helped pay for a funeral after a family bereavement, setting them back an average of £2,000 – the equivalent of £49billion across the UK.

And for two-fifths of those who have had to lend financial support by paying for funeral costs, it wasn’t something they were prepared for.

As a result, just shy of a fifth have had to expense it to a credit card, while nearly one in 10 have taken out payday loans.

The research, commissioned by British Seniors Insurance Agency as part of their Funeral Costs report (, also found 62 per cent had to dip into their own savings, while more than a tenth had to borrow money from other family and friends.

It also emerged 18 to 24-year-olds are 50 per cent more likely to have to assist with funeral costs for a loved one compared to the over 55s.

Oliver Harcourt, marketing director at British Seniors Insurance Agency, said: “Death isn’t necessarily something we want to talk about.

“It can be uncomfortable and daunting, which may discourage planning ahead.

“Sadly, a lack of planning can result in families being left with an unexpected financial burden when our time comes to pass.

“The British Seniors Funeral Report aims to help educate people on how to better plan ahead, so to ease the impact and stress on loved ones during an already difficult time.”

The study also revealed why adults have had to cover funeral expenses, with more than a fifth saying the deceased didn’t have enough in their savings or any other money set aside.

More than one in 10 said any funds they did have were used to cover other things, while 18 per cent had a funeral plan in place but it didn’t cover everything it needed to.

People have had to support late loved ones by supplying funding for the coffin, securing the burial plot, paying for the funeral and associated venues, as well as flowers and catering.

In spite of this misfortune, more than two-fifths of Brits haven’t set any money aside or taken out life insurance for their own funeral plans.

A fifth confessed they haven’t given it a second thought, and a quarter think they are too young to worry about it.

Although those who have prepared for the future have managed to save up £3,150 for when they pass away.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, also found one in 10 don’t know how much they would need, and 27 per cent worry about the rising cost of funerals.

As many as seven in 10 agree funerals are more expensive now than five years’ ago, and more than a quarter aren’t entirely sure how much funerals typically cost in the first place.

The research also revealed how much the average funeral with a burial service will cost, coming in at an average of £4,359, whereas a cremation is more affordable at £3,674.

However, one in four Brits feel stressed at the thought of paying out for either option.

A further 16 per cent feel helpless or frustrated at the thought of forking out so much money, and just 12 per cent said they feel ‘prepared’.

When it comes to the topic of funerals, 57 per cent have broached the subject – yet three in 10 don’t like talk about their own or other people’s plans.

However, two-fifths want to ensure their family is cared for when they pass away, and more than a third want to protect their family/relatives after they’ve gone.

Oliver Harcourt added: “We know Britons want to leave behind a positive legacy for their loved ones.

“At British Seniors, we want to support people in taking care of those they leave behind, by helping them prepare.”


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