Cost of dying revealed after dramatic 10 per cent increase in a year

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THE COST of dying has soared by more than a tenth in just one year to over £8,400, according to an annual report released today.

The rise of 10.6 per cent to £8,427, which includes costs such as probate, headstones and flowers as well as the funeral, has seen the biggest increase in six years at seven times the rate of inflation, the SunLife study found.

One in seven people who have organised a funeral in the past four years said it caused them financial concern, with the average shortfall standing at £2,371. Of this group, 42 per cent used savings or investments to help pay for the funeral, a quarter borrowed money from friends or relatives and 22 per cent put extra debt on a credit card.

The cost of the funeral alone, which accounts for just 43 per cent of the total cost of dying, has risen by 3.9 per cent since last year to £3,590 - 87 per cent higher than in SunLife’s first survey in 2004.

A 39 per cent jump in estate administration fees contributed “significantly” to this year’s rise, with the cost of hiring a professional such as a solicitor now accounting for more than a third of the overall cost.

Total funeral poverty, or the national funeral funding shortfall, now stands at almost £200m, 125 per cent higher than four years ago, according to the report.