Prepared For Death? Which Countries Are Best At It ?

Prepared For Death? Are people in other countries prepared better for their funerals than the British?

Prepared For Death? Compared to other countries around the world, the number of people that have purchased a funeral plan in Britain is low; just 6% of Britons have pre-paid their funeral.

Women are more likely to buy a funeral plan

Slightly more British women than men have planned ahead for their funeral. More people in Northern Ireland have a plan in place than anywhere else in the UK.

Understandably perhaps, the older people get, the more likely they are to arrange a funeral plan. The average age for people purchasing funeral plans is between 55 and 65. With about 13% of people over 55 having a pre-paid funeral plan. But between the ages of 45 and 54, the percentage of people with a pre-paid funeral plan drops to just 3%.

Which countries are most prepared?


That’s an incredibly low percentage compared with some other countries. In Spain there is a deeply rooted tradition of planning ahead for funeral costs . Almost 20 million Spaniards have insurance that will pay out against their future funeral expenses.

The Netherlands

Dutch people are also very prepared. More than two-thirds of the population will cover at least some of their funeral costs through insurance. Although many people in the country are insufficiently insured according to Dutch website UVWZ.

Whether they have enough funeral insurance cover or not, the people of The Netherlands are world famous for their laid-back attitude to life. That can be a real advantage when it comes to discussing death, dying and funeral planning.

Swedish view on death

In stark contrast to the lack of planning for funeral payments in the UK, every Swede registered on the Swedish population registry pays a burial fee as part of their regular tax. The mandatory burial fee will cover some of the costs associated with their death, covering:

  • A burial plot for 25 years.
  • Burial or cremation.
  • Transport of the coffin.
  • Premises for the safekeeping and viewing of remains.
  • Premises for a funeral ceremony.
  • While the basics are taken care of, discretionary costs associated with a funeral service – coffin, ceremony, flowers– are paid for by the estate.

By law, the funeral wishes of the deceased in Sweden must be followed. Swedes are actively encouraged to consider, and record, their final wishes. Every authorised funeral director in the country supplies “Life Files” available at no charge.

Compare that to the UK where, where a tiny minority of people plan their own send off. This is despite recent research that shows that nine out of 10 British people say the most important consideration when thinking about their own funeral is that their personal wishes are followed.*

Making sure you get the funeral you want is one reason more British people should arrange a funeral plan, but there are also more practical financial reasons.

Can you afford to die?

Research suggests that there are almost 10m people in the UK that don’t have the savings to cover unexpected costs should a loved one die without leaving any provision to pay for their funeral.

With the average UK funeral costing over £4,000 **, a pre-paid funeral plan protects your family from those unexpected expenses. And by fixing funeral director costs at today’s prices, a pre-paid plan protects against future price increases in a way that even Dutch insurance or the Swedish tax systems can’t.

Brought to you by Telegraph Financial Solutions

* ‘Public Attitudes to Funeral Issues, a survey conducted by James Law Research March 2018.

**SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2017.