Planning for the future

More than half of us agree we should arrange our own funerals - however 75% of us do NOT have a funeral plan in place.

The Covid pandemic may have brought mortality home to billions of us around the globe, but three quarters of us in the UK still do not have a plan in place for our own funeral – despite 56%^[1]^ of us believing it is our place to plan for the inevitable, according to research by Distinct Cremations.

The research, which highlights Brits’ changing perceptions of funerals, also found that almost 40%^[1]^ of those aged 45+ haven't thought about their own funeral at all.

Interestingly, however, those aged 16-24 are the ones who are most likely to have a plan in place for their funeral; 30.2% of 16-24s say they have a plan – almost double 45-54s (17.7%).

Do you have a plan in place for your own funeral?

Age % answered 'Yes'
16-24 30.2%
25-34 21.4%
35-44 22.8%
45-54 17.7%
55+ 27.7%

40% of people do not have savings in place for emergencies, and 45%^[1]^ of us could not afford to pay for the funeral of a loved one and would need to resort to alternative ways of paying for a funeral, outside of savings, inheritance or pre-paid plans already in place.

Steve Wallis, Managing Director of Distinct Cremations, said, “It’s staggering to think that so many do not have savings in place for an emergency. The death of a loved one is hard enough, without financial pressure adding to the grief. The fact that so many believe it is their responsibility, yet 4 in 10 said they have no savings in place for such emergencies, really highlights the disparity between the present and future.”

23%^[1]^ of the people who couldn’t afford the cost said they would take out a loan, while nearly 15%^[1]^ said they would have to resort to fundraising via a crowdfunding platform.

If you were not able to afford £4,200 to pay for a funeral for a loved one, how would you get the money to pay for a funeral? Tick all that apply

Funding method % answered 'Yes'
Borrow from family and friends 26.8%
Get a loan 23.4%
The deceased person's estate would cover the cost 22.3%
Prefer not to say 16.7%
Fundraise through GoFundMe or other crowd funding platforms 14.8%
Sell items I own (car etc.) 14.7%
Use a credit card/s 14.4%
I'd have to get an emergency payday loan 10.3%
Other, please specify 4.2%

“Crowdfunding is perhaps most well-known for helping small businesses get started, however more and more people have been taking to the platform to fundraise for funerals,” added Steve. “At the moment, there are more than 5,200 separate fundraisers, looking for financial support in the UK alone, which is astonishing.”

The survey of 2,000 Brits also found that 40% of us believe that funerals as we know them are outdated, and unsurprisingly, the biggest thing people would change about funerals is the cost. When it comes to where to host a funeral, instead of a religious site, a crematorium/cemetery (24%), countryside or riverside location (17%) and on a beach (16%) are the top places people would like their send-off to be. Those in Newcastle, on the other hand, are the most likely to want their service at the pub.

Interestingly, over a third^[1]^ of UK adults said that the Covid-19 pandemic had made them think differently about funerals overall. 16–34-year-olds are the most likely to have had their perceptions of funerals changed as a result of the pandemic, however over a fifth (22.5%) of those aged 55+ also agreed with the statement.

One fifth of people agreed that their ideal funeral would be more upbeat or colourful, and nearly 20%^[1]^ said their ideal funeral would be fuss free with the minimal send off.

Steve Wallis, Managing Director of Distinct Cremations, said, “There’s no doubt that the last 18 months brought funerals to the forefront of our minds, with many of us unable to have the big funerals that were planned, or indeed faced with planning a funeral out of the blue. As such, no longer are many people wanting to follow traditions and have big funerals with services afterwards. Instead, people are realising they can have a simple funeral for a fraction of the cost, minimising the impact this has on their friends and family.”

For more information view the comparison of costs of a funeral in the UK and read the full results here.

If you would like to plan ahead and pay for your funeral in advance, you could check our prepaid funeral plans..


  1. Distinct Cremations (2021)