HM Insights

Rising burden of funeral costs highlight the need to plan for the future by making a Will

A drastic rise in funeral costs has led to a huge increase in loved ones seeking help from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) with financial concerns over the past year.

‘The Cost of Saying Goodbye’, a report recently published by CAS, stated there had been a 35% increase on those seeking funeral help, after local authorities throughout Scotland raised fees for the basic cost of a funeral.

The report highlighted the disparity in costs across the country, with East Dunbartonshire’s total cost of £2,785 at one end of the scale, and the Western Isles costs considerably less at £694. The average cost of burial is now £1,273, and the report indicates that there is no real justification for the ‘postcode lottery’ of a significant variation between the local councils.

Additional costs

‘The Cost of Saying Goodbye’ report doesn’t take into consideration the additional aspects of a funeral, including the cost of a coffin, flowers or services of an undertaker. These further expenses often take the final cost of a funeral into several thousands of pounds; money that many people do not have at their immediate disposal.

Few individuals have the unfortunate task of organising several funerals, therefore most people will be unfamiliar with the process and what a ‘reasonable’ cost should be.

There are, however, alternative methods of payment and many grieving families may find comfort knowing that the deceased’s bank will be willing to meet the debt almost immediately (provided the deceased’s bank account has sufficient funds).

Making a Will – alleviating the burden

The recent rise in funeral costs places an imposing burden on those left behind, particularly at a time when many people are struggling with the cost of living. The recent changes reaffirm the importance of making a Will and planning for the inevitable, in turn reducing financial implications and stress on grieving relatives.