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We’re encountering this question more regularly when people make or update their Wills.
The simple answer is there’s no legal requirement to hold any form of ceremony when you die. But although it’s very much a personal decision, you may find it’s one that those closest to you find more difficult to accept, seeing a funeral as part of the grieving process or at least an opportunity for family and friends to come together to say goodbye.
Legal requirements when someone dies
See our handy guide and checklists on what to do when someone dies.
Once a death has been registered, legally, the body must be buried or cremated unless the deceased has donated it to medical science in the first instance. Direct cremation is the chosen method in most cases where there’s no funeral, with the ashes returned to the next of kin for disposal.
Following his death in 2016, publicity concerning David Bowie’s choice of direct cremation is seen as a turning point in the practice becoming more acceptable. Your local funeral director will be able to advise on and arrange direct cremation.
How much is direct cremation?
According to research published by Sun Life, the average cost of direct cremation is £1,647, whereas the cost of an average basic funeral is £4,056.
Can you be cremated without a coffin?
For those seeking the ultimate in simplicity, it is theoretically possible to be cremated without a coffin. However, as the law requires a body to remain covered in public, direct cremation invariably involves at least a simple container, possibly of cardboard. A container also makes the job of handling and moving the body easier.