Funeral poverty, rituals and will writing—all affected by COVID-19

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One in eight families in the UK have been forced into funeral poverty thanks to the high costs associated with funerals, probate and Wills, according to data from Farewill, the Will writer and funeral provider.

Farewill put the typical total cost of dying at more than £10,000. The average UK cremation costs £3,250 and Will writing at £180. Obtaining a grant of probate so the estate can be distributed typically costs more than £800, plus up to 5 percent of the estate’s value.

The article on Yahoo finance said the issues around the costs of dying and the complex processes involved had been “thrown into sharp relief in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic”.

Administrative tasks ‘negatively affected’ by the virus

On their website, Farewill said 94 percent of people who had lost someone to coronavirus thought the administrative tasks necessitated by death had been negatively affected by the crisis. Because of the lockdown, 40 percent of people found it difficult to register the death and 39 percent said they’d found it almost impossible to deal with pensions, tax and probate.

Just over a quarter of responders (27 percent) reported that the companies they needed to speak to were closed, and 24 percent were told they were on hold.

Almost a third (27%) reported that the companies they needed to speak to were closed, and 24% were told services were “on hold.”

‘Difficult’ to write Wills

Farewill also reports that 16 percent of people stating they started to write a Will because they knew someone who had died without one during the pandemic. But people also reported that the process hadn’t been easy. 29 percent said they had struggled to find the technical information needed for filling out inheritance tax forms, and that witnessing Wills had been a problem.

Finders International offers a secure delivery, signatory and witnessing service through a network of mainly ex police officers training in sensitivities including awareness of dementia, etc.

In England and Wales, the law states a Will must be signed with wet ink and be witnessed by two people, but 72 percent of those asked said they were too scared to do this in case they broke social distancing rules, and 39 percent of responders said others had refused to witness their Will for this reason.

In relation to religious funerals, the pandemic has profoundly affected the rituals surrounding death, with 70 percent of people surveyed saying they had needed to think differently about how they say goodbye, and 33 percent admitting they had found bereavement hard because of this.

Farewill said Christians haven’t been able to have large ceremonies in church, while Muslims have had to consider cremation over burial. Jewish people haven’t been able to hold Shiva and Sikhs unable to dress their loved ones in the traditional way.

 

If you would like to contact Finders International, or if you would like to enquire about our new collections and signatory service, then you can telephone us by freephone 0800 085 8796 (UK only) or email [email protected]