Funeral costs ‘rocket’ in the South East

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A recent report into funeral costs has found the price in the South East now stands at three times the national rate.

The SunLife Cost of Dying report shows over the past decade it has increased 86 per cent – a 13.9 per cent rise in the last year alone.

It states the average funeral in the South East now costs £4,656.

A SunLife spokeman said: “Many people worry that having a cheaper funeral is disrespectful, but our research shows that the vast majority of us do not want money wasted on a fancy funeral.

“In fact more than one in three people who have recently organised a funeral said they would want their own to be ‘as cheap as possible.’ One in six said they would like a direct cremation and one in 12 said they would prefer a woodland burial just one in 50 said they would want a lavish affair.”

Things you can do to cut the cost include having a direct cremation - where the body is cremated immediately after death, without a funeral service – which costs £1,835 on average, less than half the cost of a standard cremation, £2,194 in the South East and if you go to the North West, a direct cremation is just £1,454 on average, according to the company.

In a statement it added: “You can also cut costs by not having a wake, or holding it at home. You can have a cheaper coffin – prices start from as little as £100 for a cardboard coffin, and embalming the body costs around £100 but is not essential.

“Many people would rather not have flowers at their funeral, which saves around £150 and you can save a lot of money by not having a wake, or holding a gathering at home instead. Those who hold a wake and pay for catering spend £655 on average.”

According to this year’s report, 58 per cent made specific financial provision to pay for their funeral before they died. Of those, 29 per cent had bought a prepaid funeral plan (up from 28 per cent in 2016), 15 per cent had a life insurance plan in place (down from 16 per cent) and 15 per cent had a guaranteed over 50 plan (up from 14 per cent).

Tracey Bleakly, CEO of Hospice UK, which runs the Dying Matters campaign said: “Leaving clear plans and making sure the costs are covered is a gift we can leave behind us, so that those organising the funeral don’t have to worry about planning the perfect day and how to pay for it. It’s still a concern that so many people don’t know the funeral wishes of those close to them, but we hope that everyone will take this opportunity to start discussing what they’d like for their send-off.”

For information about SunLife’s services, include the free funeral calculator, visit www.sunlife.co.uk