The final indignity: postcode lottery of burial costs
Paupers' funerals are making a comeback, and it's hardly surprising given the cost of laying someone to rest. A new study has revealed that the price of a burial plot in the UK now averages £1,841. However, if you want to buy a plot in some parts of the country, you face a horrible final postcode lottery.
Post Office Money Funeral Planning found that the most expensive place to be laid to rest is Birmingham, at an average cost of £2,825. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, is followed by London at £2,617. In fact, London is so overcrowded that some boroughs have a blanket ban on burials
The top ten most expensive places to be buried
At the other end of the spectrum, burials cost £980 in Belfast - 47% less than the UK average.
Even if you opt for the marginally cheaper approach of being cremated and having your ashes interred, it'll set you back £1,148 in Manchester - the priciest place in the country for having your ashes buried.
Nick Kennett, Director of Financial Services at Post Office Money, said: "The variable cost of land across the UK has effectively created a postcode lottery and the results are surprising enough that people may have to pay more than they were initially expecting."
What can you do?
Of course, you can shop around, but price is highly unlikely to be the driving force in the decision-making process. Some 24% of people want to be buried somewhere meaningful to them, while 12% want to be buried in their hometown, 10% want to be near their living family, while others want to be in the same location as deceased loved ones.
To make matters worse, the cost of burial is just a small fraction of the total price of a funeral. The International Longevity Centre says that the average cost of a 'simple funeral' - where families just pay for the basics - has increased 10% in the past 10 years to £3,590. If you want to push the boat out, with things like flowers, a memorial and catering, you're looking at an average of £5,423.
This is a record high for funeral prices, but the organisation warned that this is only likely to increase. The Baby Boomers are turning 70, and so we will start to see a rise in the death rate until it's 20% higher in 20 years' time. Increased demand is going to push up prices - unless we see an equally enormous boom in the number of funeral directors, crematoria, and new graveyards. It estimates that the average funeral will cost £7,000 within ten years.
There's very little you can do about the cost of a funeral, except set aside the money to pay for it yourself - either in savings or in some sort of funeral planning product. At the moment just 30% of people have done this - which could leave 70% of families with a financial headache at a terrible time.
It's also important to let your loves ones know what you want from your funeral and final resting place. The Post Office study found that 27% of people don't care where they are buried (including 32% of men). If you're keen to be buried, your family could theoretically shop around for the right balance of practicality and cost in finding you a burial place. If you're not too worried about how you are laid to rest, you could be cremated for a fraction of the price.
But what do you think? Do you mind what happens after your death? And have you made any plans to ensure your wishes are carried out?
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