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Rising Cost of Dying Hits £7,622

The cost of dying in the UK has increased by 7.1% from 2012 to reach £7,622 according to Sun Life Direct’s 2013 Cost of Dying Survey.

The seventh annual survey from the life insurer into the cost of dying shows that the rate of increase in death-related costs, including probate, the basic cost of a funeral as well as headstones and flowers, was higher than the rate of inflation, which stood at 2.8% in July 2013.

The basic cost of a funeral, in particular, went up for the 10th year in a row to reach £3,456, or 5.3% more than a year earlier. Funeral costs have soared by a whopping 80% since 2004, when Sun Life Direct carried out its first survey into the cost of dying. The insurer predicts that funeral expenses will likely keep increasing, reaching £4,326 in 2018.

While funeral costs were the element most responsible for the increase, other expenses associated with dying also grew. Sun Life Direct notes that burials are now considerably costlier than cremations, with the average burial costing £3,914, nearly £1,000 more than the average cremation, which was estimated at £2,998.

Sun Life Direct put the increase in funeral costs in recent years primarily down to the spike in disbursement fees, such as cremation and burial fees, which are usually managed by local authorities. Burial and cremation fees have surged by an estimated 69% and 51% respectively since 2007.

Additional funeral expenses such as family flowers and catering have also been on the rise, with people spending an average of £2,006 for such extras, or 4.3% more than in 2012.

Londoners were found to pay the highest total cost, at £9,556, while people living in Wales face the lowest cost of dying, at £6,096.

The figures build on recent research showing that around one in five Britons organising a funeral in the last four years found it difficult to cover the costs.