Are other countries better than the UK at planning funerals?

We all know how important it is to plan for those big life moments yet so many of us are reluctant to even think about planning our funeral. For Brits, it can be quite disconcerting to think about our demise and what’s going to happen once we’ve said our final goodbye and the stats reflect this with just 6% of the British population having a pre-paid funeral plan in place as of 2017. Yet, our European neighbours don’t seem to share this attitude, with many already taking out funeral plans and insurance policies to protect their loved ones after their death, as well as to communicate their wishes. So, are other countries better at planning their funerals?


Danes are renowned for their preference for planning ahead (this was one of the things Helen Russell noted in her popular book ‘The Year of Living Danishly) – in life and death, it seems. And it appears that preparing for the inevitable has its benefits outside of financial security. A Danish study of 202 terminally ill patients found that 73% of those with funeral plans were still alive a year later, compared with 57% of those who hadn’t. This was largely down to the fact that they were more likely to reject high-risk treatments and accept their current situation.


In Spain, the average cost of a funeral is €3,500 (depending on additional factors of course like location, burial vs cremation and more), with the most expensive city to perform a burial being Barcelona. This may be one of the reasons why cremation is so popular in this already fiery country, with over 35% of Spaniards opting for this. Given the rising costs, it’s important to protect the family left behind, something that this nation takes very seriously. Over 20 million Spaniards have death insurance in place to cover the cost of their funeral, with basic packages starting at just €12 per person per month.

The Netherlands

The Dutch are opting to do death as they do life, with a zest for freedom, and around 70% of the population have taken out a pre-paid funeral plan. The country also has strict laws in place to ensure that there is no administrative fuss after the death of a loved one. Your children have a legal right to a percentage of your money and assets, and from a recipient perspective, you have a legal right to reject inheritance, which is useful if you’re set to inherit legacy debt.

The UK situation…

In comparison, Brits are far less likely to think about their final wishes, with just 13% of over 50s having a funeral plan in place. Also, surprising 10million people in the UK have no cash savings which could be particularly problematic for loved ones left behind to shoulder the financial burden. In 2017, an average of £1,680 in funeral debt was taken on by families following a loved one’s funeral and this is an issue which needs to be tackled – and Coles is campaigning for a change in attitude.

It takes just one hour to start planning your funeral, with our pre-paid plans starting from £1,763 and we have a wide range of payment options available. If you’d like to speak to our team about your wishes or to learn more, contact us today on: [email protected]