Amid soaring inflation, more families are having to turn to the kindness of strangers to shoulder the cost of dying.
When Cerys Defis lost her mom, Tresi Davies, to bowel cancer in August 2021, it fell to her and her brother Aron to pay for the funeral. They couldn’t afford it. 24-year-old Cerys was studying for a master’s degree and caring for her mum. The Carer’s Allowance is no more than £67.25 a week, which hardly left room for her to save for a funeral. Her mum did have savings, but the bank won’t release the money until they have the grant of probate – which Cerys is still going through, over a year later. Their dad was in hospital too, with a spinal infection, so he didn’t have an income either.
A grieving Cerys was hit with a sobering realisation: dying is really expensive. “It’s a bit of a crime, how much a fucking funeral costs. Because why does it cost to die?” she tells Huck. Funeral prices have more than doubled since 2004, and SunLife predicts a basic funeral will cost over £5,000 in 2026. They also found that 113,000, people experienced notable financial concerns when paying for a funeral in 2021, while life insurer Royal London found that people are taking on an average of £1,744 of debt to pay for one.