Direct cremation - everything you need to know

Direct cremation - everything you need to know

Direct cremation is an increasingly popular, practical and lower-cost option for transforming the body of a deceased person into ashes.

What is direct cremation?

Direct cremation is when the dead body of a person is cremated without a prior ceremony or funeral. There is no wake, visitation period, cortege, hearse or procession. No specific time is chosen for the cremation and no mourners are present.

Why choose a direct cremation?

Costwise it is the most economic form of cremation, costing a total of about £1000. For most people, however, the price is not the main reason for choosing a direct cremation.  Many people choose to have a farewell ceremony with the ashes present instead of the body. This can allow more time for planning and to celebrate the person's life instead of focusing on the inert corpse.

The ashes can be kept indefinitely in one of the great variety of cremation urns that are available. That lets you plan the ceremony, internment or scattering with less pressure. It also means that the occasion can have a more joyous, less morbid, focus.

It is much easier to travel with ashes than with a body for repatriation purposes. Also, for taking the last mortal remains for a dispersal ceremony in a special place. Scatter tubes make transporting cremation ashes easy and convenient.

Most people believe that the spirit or soul departs from the earthly body on death. So, the ashes of the deceased, the same as the corpse, are just the last worldly remains of a person and have the same presential value at a memorial service.

Is there a coffin?

Yes. However, in a direct cremation, it is normally a simple wood-based coffin, without adornments, which is cremated with the body inside.

Who performs direct cremations?

Not all undertakers offer direct cremation. In fact, some feel that it undermines tradition, as well as dramatically cutting into their profits! However, an increasing number of funeral directors are now offering the service and respecting the wishes of the deceased or the family to have this option. Go with the one who sounds most positive about your choice.

Direct cremation is currently a fairly new, and as such, unregulated activity. There are many sites offering the service on the internet. Before choosing one of these, make sure exactly what the cost covers, and check that the owner's name and address are on the site.