Millions of Brits are struggling to pay for the funerals of loved ones – and are going into thousands of pounds of debt as a result, according to new research.
One in five people have gone into the red funding a family funeral, relying on credit cards, overdraft facilities and loans.
The average amount adds up to £2,205.59 and takes two and a half years to pay off.
The research of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Funeral Zone, a free online resource that helps the bereaved, also found just six per cent of UK adults have pre-paid plans in place to cover the cost of their own funeral.
Ed Gallois, Funeral Zone co-founder, said: “Sadly, I think we are heading for a perfect storm when it comes to funeral-related debt.
“More people are dying, the cost of funerals is rising, and many families have little in the way of savings.
“As a society we need to be talking more about planning for the inevitable as other European nations do.
“It’s a difficult topic, but the alternative is a generation of families falling into debt.”
Of those polled, half have been forced to dip into their life savings to cover costs.
A third said they have never discussed arrangements for their own funeral with their family – including how it would be paid for.
And around a quarter of people said they have discussed funeral plans with their loved ones “a little.”
Ed Gallois said: “Funerals are an important part of a family’s grieving process, but the stress of financial problems can add to the burden of what is an already difficult time.
“By failing to prepare for the future, Brits could be heading for a crisis that will impact their families in a profound and deeply distressing way.
“Some families may even face the nightmare scenario of having no money to lay their loved one to rest.”
There are 11.4 million people aged 65 or over living in the UK and the number of deaths is predicted to rise over the next few years according to a 2015 study by the International Longevity Centre.