Do you have to have a funeral?


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Whatsapp

Funerals are traditional, but what if you don’t want any fuss after you’ve gone? Here’s everything you need to know about direct cremation and simple funerals.

Funerals can be an important part of grieving for a loved one who has died, but in recent years interest has grown in simple funerals and direct cremation. Musician David Bowie, for example, opted for direct cremation in New York, with no formal funeral service taking place.

Or perhaps you’d rather not have a traditional service so that your loved ones are free to commemorate you however they wish. It’s an opportunity for them to celebrate your life in whatever way they see fit, rather than a formal ceremony with songs and readings.

If you’d prefer to not have a service, it’s important to make plans in advance so that your wishes are followed. You can pre-arrange a direct cremation with a Cremation Only funeral plan.

Do I have to have a funeral?

Legally, there is no requirement for you to have a funeral service. However, when someone dies, their body must be disposed of safely. In most cases, this is through burial or cremation, though there are some alternatives, such as burial at sea.

That means that even if you want no ceremony when you die, your loved ones will still have to make arrangements and pay for burial or cremation services.

If your next of kin cannot afford to pay for a basic burial or cremation, your local council will arrange a Public Health Funeral for you – but they will try to reclaim the costs from your estate. This means that they may claim back the cost of burial and cremation fees from whatever savings, property or belongings you leave behind.

Therefore, even though you do not have to have a funeral, the cost of burial or cremation must be covered. That’s why planning ahead is essential.

What is direct cremation and how do I organise one?

Direct cremation is when a person is cremated without a funeral service. There will be no mourners present, no flowers or hymns. The coffin is usually the most basic type possible. After the cremation, the next of kin can collect the cremation ashes.

Cremation only funerals are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, where the average cost of a funeral is $7,181 (£5,485). In the UK too, where the cost of a funeral is rising year on year, more people are looking for cost-effective, simple funerals.

While direct cremation is the cheapest option, many people find a traditional funeral is an important part of the grieving process. Think carefully about what you want to happen and make sure a direct funeral is the right choice for you.

Can I pre-arrange a direct cremation without a funeral?

You can arrange your own cremation in advance with a pre-paid cremation plan.

If you don’t want a service, you can choose our Build Your Own funeral plan, and select the Cremation Only plan. You’ll be able to secure the funeral director fees at today’s prices for only £1,895, making sure everything is arranged in advance for your loved ones.


About the author

With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.