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News Article

Help to cope with funeral costs

Published 26 February 2016 by

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy but as their funeral is your last chance to say goodbye, you’re likely to want this to be a fitting tribute. With the average cost of a funeral rising by almost 4% in the last year to £3,700, would you be able to cope with the cost?

According to the British Seniors Insurance Agency, family and friends in the UK have spent £4.8 billion on funerals over the last five years. To fund this, 2.7 million people have taken out some form of credit including payday loans, credit cards and personal loans.

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The study showed that young mourners were hit the hardest by funeral costs, with four in ten 18-34 year olds using their credit card to pay for a burial or cremation. More than a quarter turned to payday loans.

Over a quarter of Brits have had to use their savings to cover the cost of a funeral, while one in ten have said that they made use of rainy day funds or asked friends to lend them cash. A further four in ten adults believed that there would be enough available in the estate, while a fifth revealed that they didn’t know how they would pay for a family funeral.

Is there help available?

If you’re the next of kin, family member or friend of a person that’s died then you may be responsible for paying for the funeral. If the deceased didn’t have a pre-paid funeral plan or funeral insurance, then you could recover some of the cost from their estate if you’re struggling to cope yourself.

To do this, speak to the deceased person’s bank or building society to see if funds (which will now be frozen) could be released to the executor or administrator, in most cases they should agree to this. If you held a joint account with the person who’s died, you’ll be able to access the whole account as the surviving joint owner.

If you’re on a low income, you may be able to receive benefits to help you pay for the funeral in the form of Funeral Payments. To qualify you must be responsible for the funeral and either be the partner, close relative, friend, or parent of the deceased. Alongside this you (or your partner) must receive one of the following benefits:

• Income Support

• Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)

• Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)

• Pension Credit

• Housing Benefit

•Working Tax Credit (the disability or sever disability element)

• Child Tax Credit (one of the extra elements)

• Universal Credit

You can only apply for Funeral Payment within 3 months of the funeral, and how much you’ll receive will depend on your circumstances. If the deceased had an estate, you’ll usually have to pay back any money you receive. This will include any money or property that they had but won’t count the home occupied by their partner or possessions left to relatives.

To claim a Funeral Payment, complete the form on the website.