No prizes for guessing that with average house prices at £513,805, almost £240,000 higher than the UK average of £274,000, London is the most expensive place to buy a property in the UK. However in contrast, our capital is also the most costly place to die, with a funeral costing £4,836; nearly 35% above the national average.
Whilst house prices have been soaring by up to 11.7% in the last year, so has the cost of dying, with an uplift of 10.6% in the same period.
On the flip side, the cheapest place to die in the UK is the North West of England with funeral costs averaging £3,028; marginally lower than Northern Ireland at £3,058. Incidentally the latter is also the cheapest place to live as property prices in Northern Ireland have been hit hard over recent years, with the average costing just £143,076.
So why has the cost of dying increased so much?
At £3,590, the average cost of a funeral has been consistently rising at around 7% for the last 10 years; but when you then take into account the so called ‘non-essential’ elements such as flowers, catering and memorials, in addition to the cost of administering the estate, this figure leaps to an eye watering £8,427.
It is no coincidence that the cost of property and dying appear to go hand in hand as they are intrinsically linked; attributed in the main to the correlation between house prices and estate administration. As fees charged by solicitors and banks are usually based on a percentage of the value of the total estate, an increase in property value will inevitably lead to an increase in estate administration and subsequently an increase in the average cost of dying.
So booming property prices unfortunately for some means hefty total cost of dying fees; it all depends on where you live.
Speaking of the escalating costs, Ashley Shepherd, Managing Director at funeral planning specialists Over50choices, said “There needs to be greater transparency; awareness of the fees involved in the process of estate administration and of course the alternatives available, which could include administering the estate yourself or finding a company that will do it for a fixed fee.
Unfortunately, like funeral costs, estate administration is another example of a distress purchase; a service that is obtained at a time of great emotional turmoil which often results in families paying more than they need as they don’t feel inclined to shop around.”
It’s fair to say that a vast majority of us automatically shop around for the best deals when buying something of considerable expense. When it comes to buying a property, we are more than happy to shop around, making every penny count; from buying the property itself, to removal fees and insurances. Yet when it comes to arranging a funeral; those inbuilt instincts appear to completely disappear and we opt for what appears to be the first option available to us.
Of course one answer is to do everything yourself in advance to save your family from having to face the emotional rollercoaster of arranging everything when the time comes. From buying a prepaid funeral plan to fixing your estate administration costs with a prepaid probate service; an information and comparison service like the one provided by Over50choices can help with all pre-planning needs.
It’s certainly got to be an easier way of reducing the cost of dying than relocating to the North West or Northern Ireland!