Let’s talk about ‘no frills’ cremation

With the cost of dying continuing to rise year on year, it’s no wonder that people are now weighing up all the available options for a funeral service, including cremation and direct cremation which are the lowest cost options available today. While the most popular funerals have always comprised of familiar elements such as a church ceremony, flowers and a celebration of life, low-cost direct cremations consist of an unattended cremation without an accompanying funeral service of any kind – no friends and family present, no flowers, no ceremony and no wake. There is a stark difference between the two.

Awareness of direct cremation as an alternative to a traditional funeral has increased in recent years thanks to celebrities such as David Bowie, who opted for cremation only. However, these still only account for around 2% of funerals in the UK. According to SunLife’s Cost of Dying Research 2020, 77% of all funerals in 2019 were cremations – up 4% from the previous year. As the trend continues to grow and we can expect more interest in direct cremation – it is key that consumers properly understand their options so they can make the right decision for themselves or on behalf of a loved one.

Get the send off just right

At William Purves, transparency and compassion are at the heart of the planning process. Making sure the family know exactly what a ‘no frills’ direct cremation involves is essential, and while we’d never dissuade someone from choosing one, we always make sure they know exactly what it entails. Everyone grieves differently, so it’s important to offer a range of services to meet their individual needs.

Cost is just one consideration

While discussing the particulars of direct cremation can be uncomfortable for many, it is important to be honest when discussing funeral options, as well as the budget that’s available. The decision to choose direct cremation on the basis that it’s more economical can lead to costly emotional consequences if not properly thought through. Of course, if after hearing the details of direct cremation they no longer want to proceed, we work with the family to ensure they receive exactly the service they want.

Of the small number of direct cremations we have delivered, we have found that they are planned mostly by professional people, such as those from medical professions or academia, who have enjoyed fulfilling lives and would prefer a no-fuss service. Cost isn’t an influencing factor in the majority of clients who choose this service and we’ve only had positive feedback from their families.

The only concern we have when it comes to direct cremation is that it might be seen by some as a way to tackle increasingly levels of funeral poverty. If they were used in this way, we’d be denying people the option of a funeral service. Eliminating choice in this way could have a devastating effect – it would run the risk of storing up more issues for the future, as people deal with the loss of the opportunity to properly grieve for their loved one.

At William Purves, we work with families to reduce costs where possible to ensure they get the right service for them – we’d never let a family miss out on the crucial process of celebrating the life of their loved one. At the end of the day, what we want is for a family to come through our doors, sit down and have a conversation with us so we can get to the heart of what it is they want. Transparency, trust and compassion are essential factors in this process, and everyone should be able to design the funeral they want, regardless of cost – it’s all about ensuring nobody is left without a choice.

You can view our advice for planning a funeral here https://www.williampurves.co.uk/thinking-ahead/. Whatever your plans, please get in touch with us so we can be there for you when you need us most.