Direct Cremation – a personal view

Direct Cremation – a personal view.

A market place that is becoming more and more acceptable to clients and their families is that of Cremation Direct Packages. (click For information on prepaid direct cremation plans.)

In their bluntest form, the deceased is picked up from wherever they pass away and the company will arrange for a cremation to take place. Nothing more.

This is even easier and sometimes cheaper if they pass away in a hospital as the company (usually National) will pick them up directly from the Hospital Mortuary and take them to be cremated with no family or friends in attendance. Where a client passes away at home or in a nursing home etc. where a body cannot be stored then there may (with some firms)  be an extra cost of around £250 as a local Funeral Director may need to arrange collection and storage.

These disposal services are increasingly available as a prepaid or even a monthly paid funeral plan. The prices are usually around half the cost of a normal cremation with a service.  There are some extra costs such as return of ashes etc.

The Crematorium direct services will often be conducted well away from the clients home, for example, one firm’s service is at Croydon Crematorium and the family does not know when it is going to happen.

The cost is not the only element that has seen the rise in these types of funerals. Other reasons include:-

–        Difficulty getting a family together from around the world (A service or family event, party etc. can be arranged much later) and the deceased may even attend as ashes.

–        The client wishes to be sent abroad (much easier to travel as hand luggage than be shipped with a coffin!)

–        The client did not want a formal service or funeral, perhaps believing their body is of no value on death.

–        The client’s family would find it difficult to be in the same room, with many families splitting up a funeral could be a trial too far for spouses, step-families and children.

–        It is fashionable with the likes of David Bowie having a no service cremation, it is increasingly acceptable and possibly even fashionable.

–        No family or very few mourners likely to attend.  This could even be the very elderly who are the last of a family to pass away, ironically as we become more connected through social media etc. we are often more and more disconnected from friends and relatives

–        Religious reasons can sometimes be a factor with a Direct to cremation funeral fitting with religious requirements such as same day (Or very quick) cremation.

–        The method of passing can also mean that a Cremation Direct is right, such as passing away whilst being involved in a crime of some notoriety or some families may decide that a suicide or a person not being discovered for some weeks may be a reason to consider a cremation of this type.

These types of funeral however often need to be sympathetically organised as not all family members are in agreement that this course of action is respectful to those that have passed away and their relatives.

Some people will not have the closure that a funeral can help them with and it is possible that this will have a lasting effect on their lives. I would suggest that this is not organised lightly, but soberly and after much considerate thought to quote the marriage service. I know from my experience writing Wills clients often quip that they want their funeral to be as cheap as possible or stick them in the wheelie bin, well this is not necessarily a trigger to arrange a Cremation Direct Funeral Plan. The family needs to be in agreement as a funeral is usually as much for those left behind as those who have died.

Just remember when the state or local authority organise a funeral for those with no relatives or no money for a funeral, they are afforded a proper funeral with flowers, a coffin, a celebrant and an advertised funeral with a marker for ashes or in some cases a burial. With a Crem Direct often none of these will be present.

As Crematorium Direct Packages grow in popularity there will be some families where this is not the right answer for their loved one. Just one close family member who does not agree with this as the right way to mark a loved one’s passing can lead to family breakdown and possibly a lifetime of grief and heartache, not to mention lawyers sharpening their pencils as they represent children taking on step-parents who arrange a non-funeral for their Mother or Father. Organising the right Funeral plan is not just about price, it is about organising the right funeral for both the client and their family.

Peter Brown

Our comments: we respect Peters views, but these sort of plans do have a place, and with our expertise, we can find the most suitable one in the prepaid direct cremation market – or in the main market where Peter primarily works.