A quarter of deaths lead to feuds between family and friends, with 60% fuelled by finances
Funeral plan specialist, Perfect Choice, recently conducted new research which revealed that 27% of deaths in the UK lead to arguments between family and/or friends, with 60% of these rows motivated by disputes over finances. Other causes behind discord surrounding a death included disagreements over funeral arrangements and the division of the deceased’s estate.
We polled 2,117 British adults, all of whom were aged 18 or over and had been to a funeral within the past two years. We asked about their experiences of funerals and any family disagreements surrounding the event.
We first asked whether there had been any arguments or feuds following the death of a friend or family member. 65% said that there weren’t any arguments following a death, 8% said that they weren’t sure as they were not close enough to the family to know, with the remaining 27% stating that there had been arguments or feuds following the death of a family member and/or friend.
We wanted to further understand the most common causes behind these disagreements, so we then asked those who had indicated that a death had resulted in a feud to provide further details. They were asked “What caused the argument or feud among the family members / friends of the deceased?” and were able to select all answers they felt were applicable, which gave us the results below:
1) Financial disagreements – 60%
2) Differing views on funeral arrangements – 51%
3) Division of the deceased’s estate – 41%
4) Existing family/friend issue – 28%
5) Final resting place of coffin/ashes – 21%
We then asked the same respondents to indicate when the disagreements had occurred or come to a pinnacle, with 49% confessing that the tensions had reached their peak during the funeral itself. A further 21% said that the feud began when the will/redistribution of the assets was revealed. Finally, we asked the same group of respondents whether the feuds had subsequently been resolved. Two thirds (67%) stated that yes, the disagreements had been resolved, while the remaining 33% said that they hadn’t.
The death of a family member or friend is always a difficult situation where all those involved will be experiencing raw, heightened emotions that sometimes spill out into situations where they wouldn’t normally. Unfortunately these emotions will often come to a head when it is least appropriate, whether they are existing or new.
We would encourage people who are grieving to be particularly patient and tolerant of everyone involved at such a difficult time, to ensure that nothing escalates where it need not. We also encourage people to be upfront about their funeral wishes and ideally pre-plan their funeral to reduce any potential conflict at the time – this is where a pre-paid funeral plan can come in useful as it allows people to record their wishes and get agreement from their families in advance of a funeral.