What is an unattended funeral?

candles burning for remembrance

Can you have a funeral without a service? Yes, you can. It’s called an unattended funeral and it’s becoming more popular in the UK.

What is an unattended funeral?

An unattended funeral is when a person is cremated or buried without having a funeral service. This means there are no family or friends at the funeral. Instead, everything is organised by a funeral director.

Why choose an unattended funeral?

Planning a funeral is a very personal choice. These are some of the most common reasons people choose to have an unattended funeral:

What happens at an unattended funeral?

With an unattended funeral, there’s no service and no mourners. Instead, the funeral director will collect the person who has died and take them to a crematorium or cemetery, depending on what you’ve chosen. The person is then cremated or buried without a service – which means there are no family or friends at the funeral, and no readings or music.

What are the main types of unattended funeral?

How much does an unattended funeral cost?

As you’d expect, an unattended funeral costs less than a traditional funeral. This is because you won’t need to pay for a venue, a hearse or a celebrant.

In the UK, the average price of an unattended cremation in 2021 was £1647. The price of a traditional cremation was £3765 and the cost of a traditional burial was £4927 (SunLife 2022). So it’s clear that an unattended funeral is a good choice if you need to save money.

It’s also worth knowing that prices for an unattended funeral start from around £895. This price will vary based on location, whether you choose a cremation or a burial, and if you have any optional extras such as delivering the ashes after the cremation.

If you’re worried about the cost of the funeral, you could:

Can you prepay for a direct cremation?

Yes, you can choose to pay for a direct cremation or burial before you die. Many funeral directors and direct cremation specialists have a pre-paid funeral plan. You’ll usually find details on their website.

If you choose a pre-paid funeral plan, make sure that family or friends know about it, so that they can use it to pay for the funeral. It also means they can respect your wishes and give you the funeral you want.

Can you go to an unattended funeral?

No, you can’t attend an unattended funeral. This is because there is no service or ceremony to attend. Instead, the person who has died is cremated or buried privately, without any mourners.

However, family or friends sometimes choose to have a celebration of life that’s separate from the funeral. This might be a wake at a local venue, or a more informal get-together for everyone to share their memories. So there may still be an opportunity for you to pay your respects.

 

If you want to organise an unattended funeral, you can find funeral directors in your local area who offer this option by using our funeral director finder. Simply type in your location and then select ‘Unattended Funerals’ as the funeral type.

 

Photo by Eli Solitas on Unsplash

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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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