The unexpected costs that come with loss

As if losing a loved one isn’t hard enough, you’ve also got to deal with all the expenses that come with it. The hidden costs that arise when someone dies are often overshadowed by grief and the more emotional side of things, such as getting together with friends and family to celebrate their life. But sometimes we forget that a lot of money ends up being spent during the process of losing someone and laying them to rest, and someone’s got to cover the bills. Here are just a few of the unexpected costs that come with death.

The funeral

Okay, so perhaps this one isn’t so unexpected, but chances are that the overall cost of it is. Not many people realise just how expensive a funeral can be – even a casket can set you back a few grand, so it’s worth bearing this in mind during the whole decision process. If your loved one is ill and aware that their time left is limited, it might be worth respectfully having a conversation about what arrangements they’d be happy with at their funeral and look at sites such as Beyond to help you.

The added extras

You’ll be surprised how much the costs add up when you try to make a funeral as ‘traditional’ as you feel it should be. If you want to decorate the coffin, car or ceremony with flowers, they’re not cheap; costing anything from a few hundred pounds upwards. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re going to hold a wake after the funeral, which might entail venue hire and putting on some food and drinks. And what about a lasting memorial of your loved one? A burial plot can cost up to £1,000 and an ash plot is around £500.


It’s not a thought anyone likes to consider, but one that makes you realise the importance of travel insurance. If a family member dies while they’re abroad, the cost of bringing their body back home averages at around £4,000. However, repatriation from certain destinations or places such as China, South America and Japan can be much, much higher, up to a staggering £17,000. Even if someone thinks ‘it’ll never happen to me’, surely avoiding paying the small amount for travel insurance just isn’t worth the risk?

Solicitors’ fees

After someone has passed away, the next of kin will be responsible for sorting out the deceased’s estate. This can be tricky at the best of times, but especially if the person who died never wrote a will. There are a lot of legalities involved in the process, which will often result in the use of a solicitor. Depending on how much inheritance is left behind, some of this can be used to cover the costs, but solicitors aren’t cheap.

Taxes owed

Even if someone has died, the tax that they hadn’t paid before their death has still got to be paid off. You’ll need to figure out exactly how much Income Tax they owe, whether or not they have a tax return to complete and how much, if any, Inheritance Tax needs to be paid. This will all then be deducted from their estate before it’s distributed to any heirs.

Paying off debt

It’s never nice trying to deal with your loved one’s money and debt after they’ve died but, unfortunately, it has to be done. You need to figure out any outstanding debt they may have, be it individual, joint, secured or unsecured. You then need to get in touch with all the creditors to inform them of the death and you should check if there’s insurance to help cover costs. It’s then a case of paying it all off in priority order. You might want to speak to a professional debt advisor if you have any concerns.

Situations such as these help you to realise the importance of things such as health or life insurance, writing a will or even being married to the partner that you’ve spent your whole life with. But don’t forget that you might be entitled to financial help following the death of a loved one, so be sure to explore all your options.

1 Comment

  1. February 13, 2019 / 4:34 pm

    How about going for a less-traditional funeral? No need for an expensive coffin (which will only get buried or burned anyway – a total waste).
    When my father died, we had a cardboard coffin, and decorated it ourselves. So much more personal, as well as being eco-friendly and less expensive.
    Don’t get lured in by funeral directors touting their most expensive wares!

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