It’s no secret that the cost of funerals in the UK has been steadily climbing, to the point that many people struggle to find the money to cover the cost of a funeral for a loved one each year.
Aside from adding considerable stress at a time in their lives when they are already coping with grief, this also means that some are unable to give their loved one the kind of funeral they’d like, simply because they do not have the funds available.
The Independent recently revealed that more and more families are turning to crowdfunding to try and raise at least some of the money they need to cover the expense of a funeral.
Figures obtained by the newspaper from crowdfunding platform GoFundMe have revealed that the number of people using the site to help pay for funerals has increased by around one-third in the past year.
Currently, the site is running over 100 campaigns for people who have explicitly stated that they’re unable to afford the funeral of a loved one. The news provider also revealed that separate data from support line Down to Earth, which offers support to those struggling with the cost of a funeral, shows that calls to the helpline have trebled in the last three years.
With the average cost of a funeral in the UK coming in at £4,078, it’s easy to see why it could be a struggle to afford it.
Earlier this year, research showed that the number of public health funerals – also known as pauper’s funerals – in the UK has increased by 12 per cent in the past five years.
Public health funerals are paid for by the government, either when someone has passed away and left no next of kin, or where a family is unable to meet the costs. However, in order to apply for government assistance with funeral expenses you will need to be receiving certain benefits or tax credits.
In total, local authorities around the UK spent £4 million on public health funerals in 2015/16, which represents a 36 per cent climb in the last five years.
Chief executive of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management Julie Dunk told the Independent that the rising cost of funerals has led to more families opting for direct cremation.
“We’ve seen a rise in the number of direct cremations, where there’s a cremation but no funeral service, and then the ashes are given to the family and they can have their own memorial service,” she explained.
Ms Dunk added that there are even some families who are buying a coffin online, collecting their loved one’s body and transporting it to the crematorium themselves in a bid to save costs. Although that might seem like the best approach financially, she noted that “at a time when you’re distressed and grieving, it’s not easy”.
If you’re concerned about the cost of a funeral you have to organise, make sure you explore all of your options. A direct cremation could be the right choice, allowing you to organise a personal memorial at a place that was special to your loved one at a much lower cost than a traditional funeral service.