There is no law that says you have to have a funeral, but the law does state that you must “dispose of the body of the person who has died by burial, cremation or any other means” (Births and Deaths Registration). Generally your options are:
- Traditional funeral – cremation/burial
Approximately three quarters of people in the UK opt for a cremation funeral. There are a few legal requirements which need to be adhered to. For most people the practicalities and emotional strain of carrying out a funeral without support is too much, and so a funeral director is appointed.
- Direct Cremation
A direct cremation allows for the separation of the body disposal and the memorial/funeral service. Some people may also opt not to have a memorial. It is generally the lower cost option, but is also often an choice made for reasons beyond the lower cost. The funeral director will arrange the cremation with the crematoria and return the ashes to the family within a few days.
- Natural Burial
A burial can take place at a natural or woodland burial site. This allows far more flexibility over timings and funeral ceremony. Natural burial grounds also provide families and friends with a peaceful location for subsequent visits.
- DIY Funerals
Using a funeral director is not a legal requirement. You may wish to handle the arrangements yourself. You can do everything from collecting the person who has died from the mortuary to taking care of them at home, transporting them to the funeral, and even arranging a burial or cremation. You may come across resistance from professionals who may tell you that you
have to use a funeral director. This simply isn’t true. If you’d like to sort out the funeral yourself, talk to the Natural Death Centre Charity who will be able to provide guidance and advocate on your behalf.