The Soaring Cost Of Dying

Funeral costs have rocketed by a whopping 137 per cent in the North East since 2004 – more than any other UK region.

The 2016 Cost of Dying survey from insurance company SunLife shows that the average price of giving a loved one a send off in the region is now £3,744, up more than two per cent from last year alone.

Older people are more likely to have invested in a funeral plan, which is funded by instalments into a trust fund or an insurance policy that pays out when the person dies.

Yet pre-payment regulator the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) insists there is a growing problem of families being unaware of arrangements made by their deceased relatives.

Talking about death is a taboo subject and dementia sufferers may simply forget the plan they have often regularly paid into for decades.

With rising numbers of people suffering from dementia, more and more families could be forced to pay large sums of money despite pre-paid arrangements being in place.

The Alzheimer’s Society predicts that upwards of a million people will be living with the cruel condition in five years’ time, suggesting problems with forgotten funeral plans could become even worse.

The FPA already deals with eight-to-ten cases of families attempting to trace their relatives’ funeral plans each week. Sadly, they are not always found.

One solution is to keep a copy of the funeral bond or the original documentation with your will. Macks Solicitors are happy to store such documentation alongside your Will in their strong room.

Alternatively, you can include reference to the bond in your Will or leave instructions and/or the documentation with your executors.

In a move to avoid distressing problems, the FPA, which regulates 22 providers, advises notifying loved ones about any policies and keeping paperwork and important documents in an accessible place.

The FPA also suggests not using cash as payment, as this doesn’t leave a record of money being handed over.

Families also are urged to check bank statements for any instalments made to a funeral provider, insurance company or friendly society, such as the Kensington Friendly Collecting Society, a mutual which has operated on Teesside for over a century.

Consumer organisation Which? points out that funeral plans are not always the best option, as insurance policies or savings can be also used to meet burial or cremation costs.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is one way of ensuring your family are able to look after all your financial affairs if you become unable to deal with them yourself.

LPAs can cover either property and financial affairs or health and welfare and allow a trusted loved one to make important decisions on your behalf.

Click here for more information on how Macks’ Wills and Probate specialists can help you draw up an LPA.

Click here to use the FPA’s Trace a Plan service to help families find out whether their deceased loved one had a pre-paid funeral policy in place.


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