Coffin with flowers on top

Although it’s not the nicest thing to think about, dying is something we should all plan for as none of us know how or when it could happen. If you don’t have end-of-life preparations in place, it puts more pressure on your loved ones if you were to pass. However, with a bit of careful consideration, you can leave them in the best possible financial position if the worst were to happen, as the emotional impact of losing someone is enough to deal with. 

Read on for our guide on end-of-life expenses. 

What contributes to End-of-Life-Expenses?

You can’t predict the exact costs involved with your death, but careful financial planning is a way to protect people close to you. The last thing you want is to leave your nearest and dearest with endless bills to pay whilst they’re grieving. That’s why putting in place processes that would help them if you died could make all the difference. 

There are several factors to consider with end-of-life expenses, including: 

  • Funeral costs 
  • Medical bills 
  • Legal fees 
  • Other smaller expenses such as death certificates or obituaries 

There are also plenty of other things to think about as well as these costs, including the clearing out of belongings, letting friends and family know, arranging care for any pets or dependents – that’s just naming a few. Not only is death expensive, but it comes with a lot of admin work, some of which will also add on extra costs.  

Understanding funeral costs

Funerals are one of the most expensive end-of-life expenses for your loved ones. Plus, in the past years, funeral costs have continuously increased in price. Costs can vary though, depending on your funeral wishes, as these factors play a part: 

  • Choice of funeral service (this might depend on religion/faith)  
  • Church fees and funeral director fees 
  • Venue and catering for mourners after the funeral 
  • Burial or cremation fees 
  • Choice of casket or urn 
  • Price of grave plot 
  • Additional costs to personalise a funeral aligning with loved one’s wishes, for example, flowers, music, number of attendees 
  • Taking care of a grave after the funeral 

All of this adds up quickly and with the cost of funerals rising, it is harder for people to afford them. Not only will your next of kin have to pay for a funeral but they’ll also have to plan it and maybe even think about aftercare if you have a gravestone.  

How much does a funeral cost in the UK?

The cost of a funeral in the UK varies regionally, but for 2023, the average cost across the country was around £4,000. Although it’s a scary thought, putting preparations in place and having all the information you need can make the situation easier. To get more of an idea of how much your funeral might cost, use the Co-op funeral calculator to find out what the price of a send-off near you could add up to.  

Many people aren’t sure what to do when someone dies and there generally isn’t much time to arrange the funeral, let alone get finances in order. This means that a lot of people have to dip into their savings or investments to afford the costs involved. 

Planning for End-of-Life costs

Although it’s a difficult conversation to have, addressing end-of-life planning is essential for families, couples, and even friends. It helps to ensure that your loved ones aren’t burdened with financial stress during a time of loss. End-of-life costs can build up rapidly, leaving families to navigate financial strain alongside their grief. 

Life insurance plays an important role in this planning process. It acts as a financial safety net, as it can help cover end-of-life expenses and help your family financially in your absence. By incorporating life insurance into your financial strategy, you are protecting your loved ones by ensuring they have the necessary funds to manage these unexpected costs, without added financial pressure. 

Taking out a life insurance plan can benefit your family and give you peace of mind going forward, as it typically provides a tax-free cash lump sum to your loved ones after your passing. This can then help cover funeral expenses or settle any other bills. 

Beyond funerals

When we think about end-of-life costs, funerals are the first thing that springs to mind. However, the financial implications of losing a loved one extend far beyond this. Families may face outstanding debts from the deceased, legal fees associated with handling the will and estate, as well as the costs of caring for dependents, whether that’s children or pets.  

Planning for each possible outcome can make all the difference once you’re gone. Outstanding debts and legal fees can quickly become overwhelming, especially if they’re unexpected. Dependants and pets require ongoing care and support, which can quickly add up.  

Incorporating life insurance into your financial plan can provide your family a lifeline in this scenario. It’s about making sure that your loved ones can pay for your funeral, maintain their standard of living, manage any debts or legal fees, or take care of any dependants or pets. By planning ahead, you’re not only covering funeral expenses but you’re protecting your family’s overall well-being and finances after you’re gone. 

How to prepare financially

Putting preparations in place for the worst ensures that your loved ones face fewer problems when you pass away. Here are some steps you can take to help your family should this happen: 

  1. Keep an up to date will:  

Having a regularly updated, current will is vital as it significantly eases the legal and financial processes for your loved ones, ensuring your assets are distributed the way you want them to be. 

  1. Decide and communicate your funeral or grave choices:  

Sharing your funeral or burial choices and the costs involved can lessen the number of difficult decisions made on your behalf. It also ensures that your wishes are respected – if you’ve already made funeral plans, be sure to let your family know. Keeping a written record of your preferences with your will is a good idea. It means you’re aware of the potential costs and if this is something that realistic. 

  1. Life insurance or preplanning:

Having a life insurance plan in place can give your family the financial support they need should you die so it is a good way of protecting them – just make sure they know that you have taken a plan out, so they know how to claim if they need to. 

  1. Be proactive and stay informed:  

Put the time in to understand what happens to your finances if you pass away. To smooth out the admin for your loved ones, looking into how your belongings and finances will be handled without you there is important. This means researching how your savings, investments, bank accounts, properties, and other assets will be dealt with. It could be helpful to pass this knowledge on to those closest to you, as it may be helpful to them if the time comes when they need to apply it.  

Taking these steps not only supports your family but also means you can rest assured that your affairs are in order. It can help your loved ones to go through the grieving process without any additional stress. 

In summary

It’s very important to think about and plan for costs that come up when you or someone close to you passes away, especially considering it could be completely unexpected. These costs aren’t just about the funeral – they could be debts, legal fees, and possibly even looking after dependents or pets.  

The best thing you can do is talk about it with your family and friends, even though it’s not the easiest subject to speak about. Ensure they know what you want to happen when you die. An essential factor to consider is that your will is updated and reflects your current wishes, as this is what your solicitors will follow. 

Another is life insurance as it helps take the strain off your family when you pass away, as it helps take care of some of the costs that come up. If this is something you have in place, remember to let your loved ones know so that they can make the most of it at a time when they might be struggling with your end-of-life expenses. Open communication is key. If this is something you haven’t considered, you can find out more information about Shepherds Friendly’s Over 50s Life Insurance