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. New research by the 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.