Why More Britons Are Laid to Rest via Pauper’s Funerals

An increasing number of Britons have been laid to rest through so-called pauper’s funeral. This has become an alternative not only for people who have no next of kin but also for families with insufficient resources.

The average price of a traditional funeral in the country costs £3,757, while it can cost £4,267 on average for a proper burial. Even if a funeral costs less than the average amount, it remains a steep price for many families, especially for low-income households that are left with no other option.

An Overview of Pauper’s Funerals

Local councils in the UK pay for pauper’s funerals as per the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. It is the last resort when a person dies in poverty, alone or with no known family members to claim the deceased individual. Otherwise known as public health funerals, nobody can choose the date or time of a pauper’s funeral.

It is not possible to choose a funeral director and the crematorium or cemetery site. In case a family is not willing to cover the expenses, the local council will require a written statement from them. If a family already initiated the process of a funeral service, the local council will then step aside and let them take care of the expenses. Low-income households could apply for a subsidy from the Government’s Social Fund.

It is not surprising then why many have been forced to consider a pauper’s funeral, but there are still ways to avoid it. For instance, prepaid funerals help families to mitigate the cost of a final life expense.

How to Choose a Funeral Plan

open wooden casket

Despite the lack of regulatory oversight from the Financial Conduct Authority, prepaid plans remain a vast industry. In fact, funeral companies have sold 1.5 million plans in the last ten years. A prepaid plan can save you money because the average expenses for burial or even a cremation increase every year, but there are specific nuances that you need to consider before purchasing a plan.

Some families have fallen victim to misleading sales or worse, paying for something that would never be used in the future. You can prevent this from happening by choosing a service provider that is affiliated with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). It might not completely guarantee that your money is safe, but it is better than having no assurance at all.

FPA members adhere to a code of practice, which means that these companies are more aware of a client’s rights when they purchase prepaid funeral packages. The FPA also requires a registered funeral company to keep your money either in a life insurance policy, or an independently managed trust fund. Ask for a copy of the relevant documents for your protection.

In the end, a pauper’s funeral should not be an option when you can start planning today. Prepaid funerals allow people to lock in the price of today’s funeral costs, which your family members will not have to worry about after your death.