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MfD: Czechs increasingly reluctant to pay their funeral

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Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) – The number of lonely Czechs whose funeral must be paid by the local authority or the state has soared and their number is 11 times higher now than ten years ago, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes on Tuesday.

The cheapest funeral costs roughly 8,000 crowns, MfD writes.

However, even this sum may be too high for many poor Czechs who are not ready to pay for their deceased relatives, it adds.

In addition, since the population is ageing, individualism is on the rise and the family cohesion is weakening, the number of the people who die absolutely lonely, while their relatives are of the view that their burial is not worth the effort, is growing, MfD writes.

Due to this, the number of the deceased whose funeral must be paid by the state or a local authority is surging. This unflattering trend was confirmed in most of the 60 biggest Czech towns, it adds.

The “social funeral,” including the work of civil servants and lawyers, costs around 10,000 crowns, MfD writes.

Five years ago, the town of Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, buried 20 lonely people, but last year, it was 15 more.

“The town authority claims the costs in the inheritance proceedings and if there are no heirs, it demands a compensation from the Regional Development Ministry. Thanks to this, the means are usually returned to it,” town hall spokesman Jan Kopal is quoted as saying.

In Prague, roughly 200 people are buried for public money in a single year.

Smaller regional and district towns paid for the “social funerals” about 250,000 crowns each last year.

A proposed amendment to the funeral law wants to deal with the problem, MfD writes.

Newly it will be only up to the state to pay for a decent burial of every citizen whose relatives will not voluntarily arrange for a funeral, MfD writes.

The red tape associated with this will decrease, too, it adds.

“The deceased persons are mostly without close relatives or they may have them, but since they did not maintain any contact, the latter are reluctant to organise the funeral,” Radek Tulis, spokesman for a town hall, is quoted as saying.

In addition, the habit of the elderly to arrange for the place and way of their funeral in their own right has been weakening in the past years, MfD writes.

“The number of the pensioners living in poverty and seclusion and where the links to relatives are weak has been rising,” sociologist Petr Fric is quoted as saying.

“This is associated with population ageing,” he added.

“The family ties are loosening and when the elderly are unable to share the lives of their children and grandchildren, they are eventually forgotten,” Fric said.

“The family cohesion is weakening and a high divorce rate plays a role, too,” sociologist Jirina Siklova said.

“If people have no real relationship, they ask why they should pay for the funeral of the father who abandoned them in their childhood,” she added.

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