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Cost of funerals driving families into debt

A report from the Work and Pensions Committee is urging an overhaul of the funeral support system with even the most basic funeral costs driving families into debt.

The average cost of a funeral in the UK is around £3,700 with funeral directors’ fees rising well above the rate of inflation. The Government has said it is looking to modernise the bereavement benefit system, with the existing means-tested benefit having been frozen at £700 for over a decade.

The report highlighted some “distressing circumstances” including one mother having to freeze her son’s body for months while she saved to pay for his funeral. The present system has been described as “fundamentally flawed” and leading claimants into unforeseen debt, as applicants are required to provide a final bill from the funeral director as part of their claim, meaning the bereaved family must commit to the expense before having any clear idea whether they are eligible for financial assistance.

Tom Curran, Chief Executive at Kings Court Trust said; “Some of the details highlighted in the report are highly concerning, although it is encouraging to see that the Government are looking to overhaul the system. If funeral costs continue to increase at the current rate then ordinary families may face significant debt at a time of great stress. At Kings Court Trust we can provide families with money up front for expenses such as funeral costs, before cash assets in an estate are released. We recover these costs back from the estate at a later date, so the family doesn’t need to worry about covering the expense up front. We believe that it is our duty to help families through this difficult time period by making the process as painless as possible, which in turn can help them to move on.”

Kings Court Trust offers a comprehensive estate administration service for a guaranteed fixed fee.  For more information on our services or if you have any questions relating to the estate administration process, contact our client services team on Freephone 0300 303 9000.