Direct cremation explained

  • Simple cremation without a funeral service
  • Low cost alternative - 60% cheaper than a traditional funeral
  • Lets families say goodbye their way
  • Prepay with prepaid direct cremation plans

Our guide explains what direct cremation is, how this type of funeral works, direct cremation costs and how you can prepay with a prepaid cremation plan.

What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation is a dignified, simple cremation without a funeral service. Often referred to as a direct funeral, this low cost alternative to a traditional funeral is cheaper and fuss free, as there is no hearse or limousine and no ceremony.

A cremation only funeral not only saves money on funeral costs compared to a traditional funeral service, it also gives families the freedom to choose how and when they prefer to say goodbye.

What is the difference between cremation and a direct cremation?

The main difference between cremation and direct cremation is there is no ceremony with a direct cremation. Whereas a traditional cremation includes a hearse, limousines for family and a service at the crematorium, a direct funeral is just a simple cremation.

How much does direct cremation cost in 2022?

A direct cremation in the UK is typically 60% cheaper than the average cost of a funeral, ranging from £1,000 to £2,000. The actual cost will depend on the funeral company you choose, where your loved one is collected from and the time of day. You can also pay extra for the ashes returning too.

How do you arrange a direct cremation for someone who has just died?

To arrange a direct cremation for someone who has recently passed away, you can either contact a local funeral director, or call a specialist direct cremation provider.

Pure Cremation, Simplicity and Distinct Cremations are just three of a number of specialist direct cremation providers who offer their services throughout the UK. They will explain the process and costs to you over the phone and arrange collection if you are happy to go ahead.

Can you pay for a simple cremation in advance?

Prepaid direct cremation plans let you arrange and pay for a cremation only funeral in advance. With a prepaid cremation plan you fix your costs at todays’ prices, avoiding future inflation, which could make things easier for family when the time comes.

How to choose the best prepaid direct cremation plans

The best prepaid direct cremation plans will include all the services you require at a price you are comfortable to pay. Some direct funeral providers, charge extra for collection from anywhere other than a hospital, collection out of hours, doctor’s fees and returning the ashes to family.

Reading the companies key features document will help you understand how their plan works and whether there could be any additional costs at the time of need.

From the 29th July, the Financial Conduct Authority will be responsible for the regulation of funeral plans. This means it will be a criminal offence for anyone who isn’t FCA authorised to offer funeral plans from this date. So, to help you choose the best prepaid direct cremation plan to suit your needs, you may want to review the FCA’s list of plan providers it intends to authorise.

How much does a prepaid cremation plan cost?

The cost of a cremation only funeral plan will depend on the company you choose and how you prefer to pay.

Single payment prepaid cremation plans

Single payment is the cheapest way to pay for a direct cremation funeral plan. In addition, many providers let you spread your costs over 12 months without incurring additional fees.

Monthly payment prepaid cremation plans

If you would rather spread the cost of your funeral, you could consider a monthly prepayment direct cremation plan. You will incur additional fees but paying monthly could make the plan more affordable.

You will be covered for the services included in their plan after an initial period of one or two years**, as long as your payments are up to date. This means that if you die after this initial period but before you have completed your instalments, the services included in your plan will be provided, at no extra cost to your family.

Are prepaid cremation only funeral plans safe?

The Financial Conduct Authority will be responsible for the regulation of direct cremation funeral plans form the 29th July 2022. This means your prepaid cremation plan will be safe, as companies will need to be authorised by the FCA and adhere to their rules and code of conduct.

Should anything go wrong with a particular company, consumers will have the protection of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Direct cremation reviews

Industry and customer direct cremation UK reviews are worth considering before choosing the best prepaid cremation plan for you.

Here is a selection of reviews for some of the UK's leading direct cremation providers:

Golden Leaves review

Pure Cremation review

Simplicity Review

Additional information on cremation only funerals and how they work

What happens at a direct cremation?

A direct cremation separates the funeral service from the cremation. So, the cremation takes place but with no family or friends in attendance. The ashes are then returned to family or scattered on the garden of remembrance.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your loved one is collected by the funeral company who complete the required documentation and care for the deceased until the time of the cremation
  • The cremation takes place at a crematorium, date and time that is chosen by the funeral company
  • The ashes are returned to family or scattered on the garden of remembrance

What are the pros and cons of having just a cremation without a funeral service?

Choosing just cremation without a funeral service is a big decision. In addition to reading our guide which includes the following pros and cons, talking to family may help you decide if a simple cremation is the best option for you.

Advantages of a direct funeral

  • Simple, non-religious cremation with no fuss
  • Saves money – around 60% cheaper than a traditional funeral
  • No upsetting funeral service at a church or crematorium
  • Leaves family free to ‘say goodbye’ where, when and how they choose
  • Ashes are returned to family to keep, scatter or bury

Disadvantages of a direct funeral

  • No family viewing at a chapel of rest
  • The crematorium may not be local to you
  • No funeral service at the crematorium or church
  • No family or friends in attendance

So, is direct cremation a good idea?

Direct cremation could be a good idea if you don’t want the fuss of a funeral service and would rather give your family the freedom to choose how they prefer to say goodbye. A simple cremation only funeral can also save money, which is always a good idea.

Next steps

Having reviewed our guide, if you prefer a more traditional funeral with a service, take a look at our prepaid funeral plan comparison plan section.

Alternatively if you are looking at low cost options and would rather make lower payments on a monthly basis, you may want to take a look our guide to Over 50 Life Insurance. Whilst over 50 life cover won’t provide your funeral services, it is a way you could leave a cash lump sum for family to help towards the funeral costs.

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