More people will die this week than at any other time of the year – with one death every 44 seconds, it has emerged.
Figures from the ONS show the second week in January sees an average of 13,670 deaths – 1,953 every day or 81 per hour – mainly due to cold weather and an increase in bugs and illnesses.
The rest of the year sees an average of 9,756 deaths every week.
And that means scores of families will have to find cash for funerals.
A separate study by SunLife revealed the average basic funeral now costs £4,271, meaning around £58 million could be spent on funerals for loved ones who pass away this week.
In fact, the total cost of funerals in the UK during January could hit more than £229 million.
SunLife marketing director Ian Atkinson said: “This week will see more deaths than any other week in the year, and for those families dealing with bereavement, searching through quotes is probably the last thing on their minds.
“You need to choose a funeral director fairly quickly so they can take away the body, and most people have not thought about which one they would use.
“But with the average funeral now costing £4,271, it is crazy to think we are just paying the bill without thinking about whether the funeral services they are using are right, for them.”
SunLife figures mirror the ONS stats with an average of 9,031 death claims on policies in January – compared to 7,314 each month for the rest of the year.
But research carried out by SunLife found 37 per cent have made no provision for their own funeral, instead leaving loved ones to pick up the bill.
And even of those who did plan for their send off financially, they didn’t leave enough to cover the total bill.
It also emerged that rather than shopping around, most will also just pay the first funeral director they speak to without getting any other quotes.
Just one in five will get more than one price before booking a funeral.
* SunLife has launched its Funeral Planning Mapper, an independent online tool which maps funeral services locations across the UK.