Can I be cremated without a funeral?

Last Updated: 14th February 2022

Anyone can be buried without a funeral which may be surprising to some people.

When asked can I be cremated without a funeral the answer, simply put, is ‘yes’.  This is called a direct cremation.

Other terms when considering can I be cremated without a funeral are referred as no service or funeral cremation, cremation with service or funeral; or funeral without a ceremony.

There is an increasing number of people choosing direct cremation over more traditional ways of being laid to rest when making their final arrangements and it is often unknown when someone asks can I be cremated without a funeral that this is even a possibility.

It is also evident that due to direct cremations being the option of choice for some celebrities, such as David Bowie, others are considering can I be cremated without a funeral and following the trend. 

Something to ask when considering can I be cremated without a funeral is that a direct cremation can be chosen if the deceased or next of kin or family is on a tight budget.  Direct cremations provide the most cost effective option for those choosing them because they result in minimal cost.

There is every opportunity for someone to reduce the costs and fuss of a funeral, that people may consider such events to be, and decide that the question of can I be cremated without a funeral is the option for them. 

As well as considering the cost savings when choosing a direct cremation there are there factors for consideration when thinking about can I be cremated without a funeral, the deceased, next of kin or family might not believe in more traditional funerals, there may have been a family fall out that creates more tension and therefore an attended funeral is unlikely to be the favoured option.

Alternatively, the deceased may have no family or friends or their family may live further afield or abroad and cannot attend a funeral for them in person.

A direct cremation offers no funeral ceremony or service, no mourners are present.  There is no opportunity for viewing the deceased before the direct cremation and there are no limousines, there is no hearse and the coffin used to carry the body to crematoria is very basic. 

Because of the nature of direct cremation, no embalming of the deceased body is required.

As direct cremations are the most basic of the options when making final arrangements for a deceased person, there is often no choice of the date and time of the cremation, which crematorium will carry the cremation out .These details are usually chosen by the funeral director that the deceased, their next of kin or family choose.

No service or mourners are present and this is something that is decided before a person dies when they make arrangements before their death when they ask can I be cremated without a funeral.  It is a personal choice and can be preferred if no fuss or formality is wanted.  This allows the deceased’s family and next of kin to send them off in a more relaxed environment with less formality and upset that can potentially be felt at a more formal event.     

More recently, some crematoriums do allow for a small number of mourners to be present at a direct cremation, usually for family mourners, without the need of a funeral service but with them being allowed to view the coffin being carried into the crematorium for the committal to take place.

When considering can I be cremated without a funeral the cost savings in choosing a direct cremation are often preferred by families.  It has been published that direct cremations can cost up to 60% less that more traditional funerals that people choose for their loved ones.   

Often, people that ask can I be cremated without a funeral will intend for a memorial or celebration of life service to take place at a location of their choice and on a suitable date.

It is worth having a conversation with loved ones prior to a person’s passing of what a direct cremation involves, what the cost savings can be used for, how the deceased could be remembered instead of having a funeral and why the option of can I be cremated without a funeral has been chosen before any final decision is made.

Regardless of whether or not someone chooses can I be cremated without a funeral, it is UK law that the deceased body is disposed of correctly and whilst you are allowed to take care of everything yourself, help and support from a specialist or professional is of huge benefit and value.

It is significant to note that the number of people asking can I be cremated without a funeral is rising in the UK and there is no specific type of person choosing to have a direct cremation.  It is as much a personal a choice as any other when considering death care but, as proving to be the most cost effective and affordable option when laying a loved one to rest, is becoming much more popular in the UK.

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