ARRANGING A FUNERAL

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BURIAL OR CREMATION

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Whether or not you use a funeral director, you need to decide whether you wish to have the deceased cremated or buried. Often, your loved one may have specified a preference in their will or with a family member, but you are not legally obliged to follow this course.

Whether you choose burial or cremation is completely your own choice, though around 3 in 4 funerals use cremation in the UK today. This is for a number of reasons, though it’s worth noting that cremations tend to cost significantly less than burials. The average cost of a burial in the UK is £1,645 and the average cost of a cremation is £683.

If you’re using a funeral director, they will look after the arrangements, once you have chosen burial or cremation. If you are arranging things yourself, here are some key points to remember about burial and cremation.

Burials: things to remember.
If you choose burial for the deceased person, you must find a plot. Remember that:

  • You can only lease a burial plot, not own it. However, you will be given the option to ‘top-up’ the lease at regular intervals. Depending on your local authority and place of burial, leases on plots and can last up to 50 years or more. 
  • You’ll need a grave deed for the deceased, showing that they’re entitled to a grave in a churchyard, cemetery or elsewhere. The deed is obtained when you purchase “the exclusive right to burial” from the cemetery or burial grounds. 
  • If the deceased didn’t live in the area that they wish to be buried in, the plot may cost more. This is called a non-resident pricing policy, this policy and the associated cost will differ from local authority to local authority. 
  • Most cemeteries are non-denominational, so you can hold most types of service in their grounds.
  • Cemeteries vary in how they allow graves to be marked, for example some cemeteries may only allow you to place only one movable vase or memorialisation on the grave So if you want to use lots of decoration on a grave you may have to reconsider your cemetery choice.
  • People can also be buried on their own land. There are some rules but not as many as you might think, read our DIY burial guide for more information.

 

Cremation: things to remember.
If the person who died is being cremated, some paperwork will be required before proceeding:

  • Application for cremation. The funeral director will help you with this, or ask at the crematorium.
  • Doctors’ forms. These include a form completed by the doctor who certified the death and another independent doctor. Both forms have to be paid for, but if you’re using a funeral director, it will be included in the disbursements. As of the 6th of June 2016 both forms (form 4 the Certificate of medical attendant & Form 5 the Confirmatory medical certificate) both cost £82.00 
  • Authorisation of cremation. The crematorium doctor issues this form, which allows the cremation to proceed.


Direct cremation – what is this?
Today, an increasing number of people are opting for ‘direct cremations’, in which the body is cremated almost immediately, without a traditional funeral service. Because it does not involve viewing or embalming, or require a standard coffin, the procedure is an economic alternative to a traditional cremation. You can still hold a commemorative event afterwards if you like.

Read more about direct cremations.

We are here to help
If your unsure, we’ll be happy to run through the various options. For more information and advice please contact us.