A new study from British Seniors Insurance Agency today reveals that many UK adults are failing to prepare adequately for the financial implications associated with their death. The research shows that 23 million Britons, 45% of the population, have made absolutely no provisions at all, and even in the older population, a third of over 50s have no financial provisions in place.

Equally concerning is that only a third of UK adults have a will in place. Amongst the over 50’s this proportion is higher but still worrying with less than half (48%) saying that they currently have a will in place.

In order to pay for their funeral and manage their estate upon death less than a third of UK residents hold savings which could be used in the event of their death.  A meagre one in five of the population has a life insurance policy that would be used to cover the cost with only a quarter of over 50’s saying that they have life cover in place to cover it.

One in ten people surveyed openly admit that they will probably have to rely on friends and relatives to foot the bill of their funeral after they have gone, and a substantial 19% of people don’t know who will foot the bill.

Those best prepared for their death are in the North East where 62% have made arrangements to cover the cost of their death. Across the UK, the East Midlands comes top as the region with the highest proportion (51%) of adults who do not have plans in place for their death.

UK Region Percentage who have not made provisions in the event of their death
East Midlands 51%
Yorks & Humberside, Wales, Northern Ireland 50%
West Midlands 47%
North West, London 45%
East of England, South East, South West 43%
Scotland 42%
North East 38%

Source: Opinium Research data January 2015 15th – 18th January 2016

With nearly one in five UK adults saying that they are not sure how the cost of their death will be handled, it seems that many are failing to prepare adequately for the financial implications of their death, meaning that the burden will more than likely fall on friends and family to cover costs.

This trend is worrying as loved ones are being set up to face financially straining circumstances at what is already a very difficult and emotional time. Two fifths of those who have managed the affairs of a loved one, said that financial worry added to their grief and over half agreed that the process had a direct effect on their emotional wellbeing. Both of these figures are higher amongst 18-34 year olds (59% and 62% respectively), indicating that it is often the younger generation who have to shoulder the burden of unexpected costs and who feel emotional strain the most.

The emotional strain on those left behind is worryingly all too clear with more than a quarter  of UK adults who had to manage the affairs of a loved one saying that they lost sleep as a result of managing the process. More concerning still is that 22% admitted to suffering from stress and 19% had to take extra time off work to deal with the arrangements.

Dave Sutherland, Managing Director of Neilson Financial Services commented: Our research reveals the worrying scale of just how many UK adults are failing to get their financial affairs in order and put provisions in place for their death. The cost of overlooking these matters is clear with the family members and loved ones left behind put under a tremendous amount of pressure. At what is already a difficult time many people are finding that their grief is greatly exacerbated by the fact that they have to cover the costs associated with a death. These strains are clearly evident in the numbers of people who say that they have suffered from stress or loss of sleep.”