The death of a loved one is never easy, and the expense of paying for a funeral can be an unpleasant surprise at a time when you’re likely to be feeling at your most vulnerable.
Last year, the average cost of a funeral fell for the first time since 2004, according to SunLife’s (2022) Cost of Dying Report, largely due to the impact of the pandemic on the size of funerals and an increase in cremation over burials. However, despite this drop, the average cost of a funeral has still risen by 121% over the last 16 years. It is this increase, amongst other reasons, that led to the funeral market coming under scrutiny in recent years, with funerals becoming unaffordable for many.
In 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a review of the pre-paid funeral plan industry, and last year concluded that there are features in this sector which prevent, distort, or restrict competition. It is therefore introducing new protections for consumers at the end of July this year which will mean if a plan provider fails, existing plans can be transferred to a new provider on the same terms as the original contract.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is also banning cold calling and setting new standards on advertising to ensure plans are sold fairly. Commission payments to intermediaries, such as funeral directors, will no longer be permitted either to ensure products represent fair value for consumers.
Here, we will help you understand the rough costs of a funeral, who should pay for it, different payment options, and where to go for help to make sure your loved one gets the send-off they wanted.