Survey Reveals People Place More Importance on Their Loved ones Funeral Arrangements Than Their Own

Wed Jan 17 2018

September 2017

2/3 of people underestimate the cost of funerals – and only 44% plan to pay or leave money for their own funeral

Survey reveals people place more importance on their loved ones funeral arrangements than they would on their own

2013 saw the end of the State Bereavement grant of €850, meaning that all funeral costs, such as funeral director fees, the coffin, transport, funeral notices and church/service related costs now fall fully to the deceased, their estate or their family. Recent reports have suggested that a basic funeral in Ireland currently costs about €4,000* excluding the plot and headstone, and protection specialist Royal London says that it’s worth giving the eventuality some consideration, in order to avoid any unwelcome financial shocks that might arise when it comes to planning a final farewell.

Royal London commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults throughout the country to ascertain public perception regarding costs involved in funerals, as well as to gain some insight into people’s preferences for their own, or a loved one’s, funeral.

Just 34% of respondents accurately estimated that Irish funeral costs (including the plot and headstone) would be in excess of €5,000, with 31% sharply underestimating costs, stating they were between €1,000 and €3,000.

Speaking of the survey results, Joe Charles, Head of Proposition at Royal London said,

“Most people seem to appreciate that a funeral in Ireland is a costly affair. However, this seems at odds with people’s apparent uncertainty as to who would pay for it when the time comes. We found that 38% are relying on family or next of kin to pay for their funeral, with a further 17% of people having ‘no idea’ of who would foot the bill. The majority of people are simply unaware of all the associated costs involved in planning a funeral – and these can often come as a shock when a loved one dies.”

Royal London report that in addition to the plot, which in Dublin can range in price from around €2,000 up to €16,000*, there are a variety of ancillary costs such as a coffin, a hearse, church related costs, headstones, funeral notices in newspapers, flowers and so on which add to the costs people face.

Joe commented, “A simple affair with no fuss is how the majority (44%) picture their own funeral. However, when it comes to arranging their partner’s funeral, participants seemed to want to go to more effort, with 62% preferring ‘a proper send-off to celebrate their life’ or ‘a modest but respectful and elegant event’.”

Other responses included:

What kind of funeral would you like to have?

  • A simple affair with no fuss  44%
  • A modest but respectful and elegant event   25%
  • A proper send off or wake to celebrate my life  16%
  • I don’t care – I don’t believe it matters in the slightest  15%

What kind of funeral would you have for your partner if they died before you?

  • A modest but respectful and elegant event 33%
  • A simple affair with no fuss  30%
  • A proper send off or wake or wake to celebrate their life  20%
  • Not relevant – no partner   15%
  • It wouldn’t matter at all – they are gone and that’s that   2%

Joe went on to say, “Young adults are on top of the list (25%) across all genders, ages and regions when it comes to wanting to give their partner ‘a proper send off or wake to celebrate their life’.”

If you were to pass away tomorrow, who do you think would pay for your funeral?


  • My family or next of kin would pay  38%
  • It would be paid out of my estate   31%
  • I have no idea how it would be paid for 17%
  • I’ve set money aside 13%
  • My employer would pay for it  1%

Joe commented, “What we found was that across all genders, ages and regions, the 55+ represent the largest group (26%) to have set money aside for their funeral as opposed to only 7% for young adults. Only 24% of older respondents rely on their family to cover those costs whereas that figure reaches 54% for 18-34 year olds. Connaught/Ulster residents top the list (25%) for people who ‘have no idea’ how their funeral will be paid for.”


About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK and Ireland with group funds under management of over €120.7 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.0 million policies and employ 3,449 people (figures quoted are as at 30 June 2017).

Royal London’s Irish office is based at 47- 49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.

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