THE cost of dying in North Devon and across the South West has risen remarkably over the last ten years, a new report has revealed.
Sun Life Direct has this week published the findings from its 2013 annual Cost of Dying Report.
In the South West, the cost of dying now stands at £7,245 and the cost of a funeral is now £3,616.
Nationally the cost of dying, including death-related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers in addition to the basic cost of a funeral, has risen above inflation and now stands at £7,622, an increase of 7.1% on 2012.
Specifically, the average cost of a funeral has also continued to rise and now stands at £3,456, a 5.3% increase on 2012.
Burials are significantly more expensive than cremations with the average burial at £3,914, costing almost £1,000 more than the average cremation at £2,998.
Discretionary funeral costs (additional funeral costs beyond the basics such as family flowers, catering, and limos) also recorded a rise.
The average cost of funeral extras in the UK increased by £83 to £2,006 (4.3%), with the cost of a memorial accounting for a large part of this expenditure (43%) at £864.
These rises come as research reveals many continue to struggle with funeral costs.
Almost one in five people who have organised a funeral in the past four years struggled, with the average shortfall rising from £1,246 to £1,277 year on year.
Total funeral poverty, the national funeral funding shortfall, now stands at just over £131 million, over 50% higher than the £85 million figure of three years ago.
The situation is anticipated to worsen over the coming years.
Sun Life Direct research projects that funeral costs will continue to rise significantly, with the average cost expected to be as much as £4,326 in 2018.
Melanie Rees, head of brand at Sun Life Direct, said: “As over 100,000 people struggle to pay for a funeral this year, an important message for everyone should be to do something to prepare, however small.
“The death of a loved one is a difficult time, and is only compounded by financial worries over how to pay for the funeral.
“As funeral poverty has increased 50% in just three years, something must be done as a matter of urgency before more families are unable to give their loved ones the send-off they deserve”.