More than one in five adults borrow money to cover funeral costs

More than one in five families have to borrow money to cover their loved one’s funeral costs, with some having to spend an average of £1,800 extra on costs, according to new research from SunLife.

SunLife’s Cost of Death report – the longest-running study of funeral prices – found this year that the average cost of a funeral is now estimated at £4,054 – the first drop in costs seen since the start of the research in 2004.

Only 66% of people made at least some provision for their funeral expenses before they died, and 17% of families in 2021 reported notable financial concerns when it came to making up the shortfall.

Of those who had to offset the extra costs, more than half had to borrow money to cover the cost. 27% borrowed from friends and relatives, 22% used credit cards and 10% took out a personal loan.

How people made up funeral costs

  1. Savings and investments – 38%
  2. Borrowed money from a friend or relative – 27%
  3. Credit card -22%
  4. Remuneration of the funeral director in installments -17%
  5. Goods sold -16%
  6. Borrowed money from a loan provider -10%
  7. Apply for a grant from the government or local authority -7%
  8. Other – 3%
  9. I don’t remember – 2%

Even though the price of funerals has fallen since 2020, some 16% of people have sold some of their belongings to cover the costs.

Mark Screeton, CEO of SunLife, said, “It’s important to remember that there are still ways to manage funeral costs, and it’s encouraging to see so many people taking steps to do so. As difficult as it may seem, encouraging conversations and planning the funeral with family members ahead of time will save even more heartache and stress later.

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