UK: Familes forced to sell personal belongings to cover funeral costs with adverse effects on physical and mental heallth, report reveals

MORE families are experiencing financial challenges when paying for a funeral with some forced to sell personal belongings, leading to adverse impacts on mental and physical health.

The latest Cost of Dying report by UK-based insurer, Sunlife, showed that some families are being forced to dig into their savings and investments, use credit cards or borrow from family and friends to pay for funerals.

Some 18 percent of those interviewed for the report said they had to sell personal belongings while about 9 percent resorted to applying for a subsidy from government or local authority.

Commenting on the findings Diaspora Insurance Channels Director Edwin Tsvere said; “We all know that death is a painful intruder, a pernicious reminder of human mortality. It has no respect for youth, intellect and persons.

“The death of a breadwinner can lead to economic hardships for households if those who die do not have burial or funeral policies. It is important for families to buy funeral insurance covers that provide guaranteed peace of mind.”

He added, “Benjamin Franklin said ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’.

“Households that lose breadwinners may find themselves less able to maintain a stock of productive asserts, to finance schooling, and more broadly to provide adequate nutrition and a healthy environment within which to raise children.”

Diaspora Insurance provides a bespoke funeral cash plan whose key features include, “guaranteed acceptance with no medicals at all, immediate US$/£/€ cash pay-out on proof of death, worldwide cover, and up to US$/£/€20, 000 cover per life”.

Meanwhile, the challenge of finding money to cover funeral costs is also adversely impacting mental and physical health for many.

“Of those who experience notable financial and difficulties when paying for a funeral, over three in four (76%) said it impacted their mental health. And 67% say it impacted their physical health,” reads the SunLife report.

In most cases, family and friends were being forced to step in and help because the deceased would not have “set aside any money for the funeral”.

The Cost of Dying report has been running for some 20 years with the research based on interviews 100 funeral directors across the UK and more than 1,500 individuals who have been involved in organising a funeral.

The latest report shows that the cost of dying for 2023 stood at £9,658, up 5 percent compared to 2022.

The ‘cost of dying’ is the total cost of a deceased person’s send-off, including professional fees for administering the estate, a basic funeral service and optional extras like a party or wake.



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