The Dying Matters Coalition commented on a survey carried out by Sun Life Direct Shows Only Half of Us Save for Our Funeral?
Half of UK adults have not made any financial provision for their deaths or even discussed their wishes with loved ones leaving behind sizeable funeral expenses for relatives to cope with. According to figures released by the Dying Matters Coalition and Sun Life Direct 60% of adults have not made a Will including 25% of the over 65s(i). 82% of people do not have a pre-paid funeral plan and 46% have not made any financial provision for their own death.
The Dying Matters Coalition is responding by publishing ‘Put your House in Order’. A leaflet which aims to prompt people to address the problems associated with lack of planning for end of life. Lack of forethought, fear and unwillingness to talk openly about dying and death are blamed for so many people failing to address these issues.
Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition said, ‘We owe it to our loved ones not to leave a mess behind when we die. We owe it to ourselves to arrange our affairs to our own satisfaction and to plan a funeral of our choosing. Our publication ‘Put Your House in Order’ maps out the things we have to do to sort out our affairs – and once done – we can sit back and enjoy life knowing everything is sorted! So to ‘Put Your House in Order,’ make a Will, make a Funeral Plan , decide on organ donation and make sure your loved ones know your wishes.’
The importance of making plans was highlighted in Gerry Robinson’s recent BBC2 programme ‘You can’t take it with you’ where the Dying Matters Coalition’s message was echoed by Brenda, who said after making her will, ‘I felt a great comfort, and I mean that. My house has been put in order’.
Sir Gerry Robinson said ‘You need to make sure you put your house in order before you die. We are often reluctant to face up to our death and address the complications it can involve, such as writing a will. But not writing a will can unwittingly cause a lot of unnecessary hurt to those you love and care about.’
The cost of funerals continues to rise. Statistics recently released by Sun Life Direct show that the total average cost of dying in the UK in 2010 was GBP 6,801, a fall of 4.2% from 2009 due to families cutting back on optional extras such as limousines and flowers, which often mean so much to the bereaved. However, the basic cost of a funeral (GBP 2857) has risen by 4.5%.
Simon Cox, Head of Life Planning at Sun Life Direct said, ‘With the cost of the essential elements of a funeral increasing it is wise to share your funeral preferences and wishes with those close to you and make arrangements to pay for what you want. With plans in place, you can rest easy that when the time comes you will have the funeral you want, with the extras you want, without leaving a financial burden’.
The message to everyone who has not made plans is have the conversation with your loved ones, make plans and make your wishes known. Talking about dying and death does not make it come sooner – instead it puts the subject to bed until it is needed – and we can all rest better for knowing it is done.
(i) NatCen Omnibus Quarter 3 2009 (62% of adults have no will and 25% of over 65s have no will) (ii) BBC2 Sir Gerry Robinson 'Can't Take It with You' Episode 2 'Favouritism' broadcast on Friday 21.01.11. Series Producer, Alfie Lawrie, Executive Producer, Michele Kirland