We’ve said it before…no one likes to consider their own death, or funeral. But, in talking more about death, we can live better. We can have peace of mind that when we do pass away, our plans will be known and help to minimise any stress on our family or loved ones.
Something to consider is the cost. Yes, paying a lifetime of taxes ends with more expense, and death can be costly. That said, more options are arising to help with the increasing cost of funerals.
Costs have soared so much, that in 2018 the Competition and Markets Authority launched an inquiry into the funeral market. The enquiry found that funeral directors’ prices have risen by 68% and fees charged by crematoria were up 84%, over the course of a decade!
According to research by Royal London, the cost of an average cremation using a funeral direct is £3247 and £4267 for a burial. This is before any additional expenses like flowers, food and drinks for a wake or a ceremony, itself.
There is an alternative (and cheaper) option, though. Direct cremation (also known as direct disposal) removes the most expensive part of the traditional funeral process.
What is a direct cremation?
Direct cremation is a disposition option in which the body is cremated in the days immediately following the death, without a funeral service beforehand. The body is collected by a private ambulance and transported to the crematorium where it is held in a simple casket
A funeral director is not required, or an expensive coffin, embalming or a hearse. Direct cremation is the most economic (affordable) option for disposition.
The cremation is not attended by anyone, but the ashes can be returned to family members after, if they wish.
How much does a direct cremation cost?
Prices for a direct cremation typically start at around £1000.
Do check for any hidden costs. These may be in the form of charges for the collection of the body, if it is at home or out of hours. Check the mileage too, as radius for travel may apply.
Finally, you will need to understand what will happen to you or your loved one’s ashes. Most services allow for ashes to be collected from the crematorium free of charge but if you want them delivered there could be an extra fee
If you don’t want the ashes returned there may be an option to have them scattered in a garden of remembrance.
Are direct cremations common?
Direct cremations are growing in popularity in the UK. They are already fairly mainstream in the U.S, where 38% of all cremations are done this way. Direct cremations only account for 4% of cremations in the UK. The Co-op says 1 in 25 of its cremations are now done this way.
Co-op Funeral Care launched its first direct cremation package last year after a successful trial. Kate Ablott, its proposition manager, says: “People were coming into our funeral homes and asking for a direct package. They didn’t always know what it was called but they knew what they wanted.”
However, she stresses that customers aren’t just requesting it because it is the cheapest option. “It’s not about money or emotional distance. It isn’t being done because somebody isn’t loved – it’s very much being done because it is what the deceased wanted,” she adds.
Why people might choose a direct cremation…
People may choose a direct cremation for a variety of reasons, not just the cost. Some prefer a simpler approach and prefer less “fuss” and/or formality. Some people would prefer to spend money (otherwise spent on a funeral) on a later event to celebrate the loved one’s life.
A funeral can be hard for everyone to attend, for example. Some people prefer to hold a gathering when everyone is available, to scatter the ashes.
David Bowie, who died in 2016, famously helped raise awareness of this option when he chose to be secretly cremated without family or friends present after telling loved ones he did not want a funeral service. His ashes were scattered on the Indonesian island of Bali.
How and where do I record my wishes?
It is important your family and loved ones know your wishes in the event of your death. Sometimes, having the ‘conversation’ can be hard and emotional; so, we shy away.
My Last Request gives you the opportunity of recording your exact funeral wishes without the awkwardness of having to discuss it with your family – something we all would probably find difficult to do.
Many families are left with the feeling of “what if” after they have arranged a funeral.
“What if that’s not what they would have wanted?” “What if we made the wrong choice?”