2024 Report byempathy
The Cost of Dying
Loss takes a heavy toll

Loss has a massive impact on individuals, families, and communities, but most of us are not prepared for the challenges it brings. Our annual Cost of Dying report provides insights into the burdens families face after a loved one’s passing. For 2024, we have updated and expanded our data, with a special emphasis on bereaved employees and how companies can best support them.

The average person took 15 months to complete all of the administrative tasks to wrap up their loved one’s affairs, or 18 months if they were executor of the estate.
The average family spent a total of $12,616 on all the expenses related to their loved one’s death. The funeral by itself cost an average of $5,666.
94.5% reported suffering from at least one negative physical or mental symptom after their loss, and 84% said that these symptoms had a harmful effect on their daily life.
How was the experience of closing accounts and paying off debts?

Showing up for others in their time of need

David Kessler, world-renowned grief expert and author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief
Loss impacts mental and physical health, with the stress of hours of administrative work plaguing the bereaved on top of their feelings of grief. This can markedly affect quality of life, particularly for grievers aged 18 to 44.
The immense challenge of going back to work after loss

Loss continues to affect employees for 10 months—well after they have returned to work—and for 19 months if they are the designated executor of the estate.

I had no support from my employer or immediate supervisors, but again I think they were uncomfortable around me because they didn't know what to do. There seemed to also be the expectation that everything could now go on as “normal”.
– Anonymous, age 66, from Wallingford, PA; grieving her husband
Bereavement at work must be addressed

We surveyed 200+ HR professionals from across a range of industries and company sizes, asking them about how their organizations deal with workers who have experienced loss, and how well they understand what bereaved employees are dealing with.

days was the average length of time off offered by companies
noted their company has a bereavement-specific policy
said they know of co-workers who faced a recent loss
Cost of Dying report

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