28 August 2018

  • 81% of people haven’t saved anything towards a funeral
  • 41% of people haven’t planned financially for later life
  • 4 million people have experienced financial hardship as a result of someone’s death
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Findings of UK’s biggest ever survey into death and bereavement revealed A fear of discussing death is leading to a lack of later life planning across the nation, as two fifths (41%) of people haven’t put any financial plans including wills, funeral plans and lasting power of attorneys in place.*

As a means of understanding the nation’s attitudes and getting to grips with what is putting people off planning ahead, Co-op has launched the biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement.

The survey which received over 30,000 responses, reveals that 18 million people are uncomfortable talking about death, dying and bereavement. As a result, the majority (95%) of people don’t have a funeral plan, three quarters (73%) haven’t written a will and 94% say they have not nominated a lasting power of attorney.

The survey reveals that due to a lack of financial planning for later life, four million people have experienced financial hardship as a result of someone’s death.**

Robert MacLachlan, Managing Director of Co-op Funeralcare and Life Planning, said:

"We see increasingly that a failure to properly deal with death has a knock on impact for the bereaved, affecting mental health and also triggering financial hardship.

“It’s overwhelming that the survey led to 30,000 people sharing their views. Now that we have such a wealth of insight on what stops the nation engaging with death and bereavement, we can start to address these areas and work with others to drive genuine social change.”

For the minority of people who have planned for later life, a quarter (25%) said their age was the reason for doing so, a further quarter (25%) said it was attending someone else’s funeral that made them consider their own mortality and for a fifth (21%) putting a will in place prompted them to think about other plans.

For the fifth (19%) of people who have saved for later life, only one in seven (15%) have saved more than £2,000 and the majority (94%) of people under thirty haven’t saved anything at all.

In response to these findings, Co-op is working with key national UK charities, including British Red Cross, Child Bereavement UK, Cruse Bereavement Care, Dying Matters, Remember a Charity and Sue Ryder to drive social change on how we can approach the subject of death.

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Media contact:

Emily Penkett: Emily.penkett@coop.co.uk / 07738 621201
Sarah Pyatt: Sarah.Pyatt@coop.co.uk / 07850 002312
Lauren Pogson: Lauren.Pogson@coop.co.uk / 07702 505626

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*Co-op’s biggest ever survey into death dying and bereavement was conducted by YouGov from 7th May to 25th June 2018 among over 30,000 UK adults. Further detail on the study can be found in Co-op’s media report

**Population figures calculated by the Co-op, based on YouGov figures.

About the Co-op

The Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-op operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 colleagues and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.

Home to the UK’s leading funeral provider, Co-op Funeralcare conducts almost 100,000 funerals annually across over 1,000 funeral homes. Combined with its leading legal services business, the Co-op is also a national provider of later life products and services ranging from funeral plans, through to wills and probate.