How do people pay for a loved one’s funeral?

For almost 1 in 8 families, finding the money to pay for a loved one’s funeral caused significant financial difficulty.

It’s unsurprising: with funeral prices so high, it means many families struggle to pay towards funeral costs. Many of their loved ones paid towards their funeral costs before they passed away, but their payments did not cover the whole cost - so their families needed to meet the full amount. On average, people had to find £1,981 to make up the cost. This can be incredibly costly for families on low incomes, and those with little savings.

So: how do most people find these funds?

How do people pay for a loved one’s funeral?
Most people turned to their own savings or investments, while others opted for using a credit card, or borrowing money for the funeral from somebody they knew - according to the 2020 SunLife report.

People also opted for paying the funeral director in installments, selling some of their belongings, getting a loan from the bank, applying for a government grant, or paying by other means (unspecified in the report).

Many of these methods can cause huge financial and emotional difficulty for families already grieving - taking money out of savings can cause huge amounts of financial anxiety, and borrowing money from banks can be accompanied by large amounts of interest.

In addition, 9% of these people felt pressure to spend more than they would have liked on the funeral. This is on top of other pressures, such as getting things right in memory of a loved one, pressure from other family members, or pressure to invite people you would not have liked there.

I’m struggling to find funeral funds - what can I do?
If you’re struggling to find the money for a loved one’s funeral, there are a range of options to explore. The government offers different funeral payment schemes for people on low incomes receiving benefits, for people organising a child’s funeral, and bereavement schemes that offer financial aid. There are also a range of charities that can help with funeral costs - such as Friends of the Elderly. You can explore these options on our help with funeral costs page.
For ways to cut down on expenses yourself - such as reducing send-off expenses or planning a lower cost funeral - visit our page on funeral planning on a budget.

Planning for funeral costs
The most effective way to reduce funeral costs is to plan ahead - to create a funeral plan, share this plan with your loved ones, and manage costs by setting up a monthly payment plan. This keeps monthly costs manageable, and helps you plan long-term.

The other important thing is to shop around for different funeral directors. Each will likely charge different amounts, so you’re more likely to find one that suits your budget by comparing packages.

You can do both of these things with The Farewell Guide - create your plan, and receive quotes in less than 48 hours.