Do you have to have a funeral?

family gathered at funeral burial

Do I have to have a funeral when I die?

In the UK, you don’t have to have a funeral when you die. In fact, around 2,000 people per year are already choosing to have no funeral service, either to save money or for personal reasons.

The law does say you must arrange a burial or cremation. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a service with mourners, readings or music.

Here are a few options to consider.

A direct cremation (or ‘no funeral cremation’)

A direct cremation is a type of unattended funeral. This means there’s no service and nobody goes to the crematorium, except for the staff.

Many people choose this option to save money or because they simply don’t want a formal funeral. Some opt for an informal memorial service, which takes place after the body has been cremated. This could be at a favourite pub or even the family home.

If you choose to just have a cremation with no funeral service, a funeral director will still usually be involved. They’ll arrange the cremation and return the ashes to the family within a few days.

Can you cremate someone yourself?

The short answer is no. UK law says that cremations must be carried out in licenced crematoriums.

In 2007 this law was challenged. A British Hindu man argued that it should be legal to have a funeral pyre, in line with the religious beliefs of the person who had died. While the Court of Appeal eventually agreed, it pointed out that pyres were impossible under current planning and environmental regulations.

A natural burial

In a natural – or “green” – burial, the body is buried in a meadow or piece of woodland. This type of burial is becoming more popular, in part because it’s better for the environment.

Natural burials allow for more flexibility over timings and the funeral service. If you like, you can have a ‘straight-to-grave’ burial, without a funeral. Or you could choose a simple graveside funeral without much ceremony.

A silent funeral

In a silent funeral, there are no songs, readings or speeches. Instead, people sit or stand in silence to remember the person who died. While silent funerals are traditional in the Quaker faith, you can also have a secular funeral without readings or music. To arrange this, you’ll need to make it clear to the celebrant, or in your final wishes, that this is what you’d like.

Do I have to use a funeral director?

No, you don’t have to use a funeral director. Some people choose to handle the arrangements themselves instead. This approach is sometimes called a “DIY funeral” or “family-led funeral”.

Your responsibilities might include:

It can be a lot of work and organisation to plan a funeral yourself. There are charities and advocacy groups that can help you arrange a “do-it-yourself” funeral. You could start by contacting the Natural Death Centre, a charity that promotes choice and education in funeral planning.

Need more help understanding your options?

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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