Do you have to have a funeral?
There is no legal requirement to have a funeral when one passes away, however, there is a requirement in the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 that states that you must 'dispose of the body of the person who has died by burial, cremation or any other means'. This does not mean that you are required to have a traditional funeral - so, what are your options if you, or a loved one, choose not to have a funeral?
Although many still opt for a traditional funeral followed by a burial or cremation, there are numerous options for those looking for something different to celebrate their life when they pass. Whether it be for your loved one or you are planning your own ceremony, here are some alternatives:
Direct cremation or burial
For some, the idea of holding a celebration can be daunting - especially if you don't like fuss. A good funeral alternative is having a direct cremation or burial which skips the ceremony traditionally associated with a funeral. This is significantly cheaper than a funeral and also gives your friends and family scope to hold a memorial service away from the traditional, larger funeral.
Celebration of life
To many, the term 'funeral' sparks feelings of sadness and formality - which is why those who've led a full and happy life often request a 'celebration of life'. This is often separate to the burial or cremation and can be held anywhere - often people pick a favourite pub or a local beauty spot and hold a big party to celebrate the deceased. It is generally at this point that people choose to spread their loved ones ashes or open a memorial bench, as an example, in memory of the bereaved.
A humanist celebration
A funeral can be seen to be too much of a religious celebration for some - which is why humanist celebrations are becoming increasingly popular. A humanist celebration is similar to a funeral but led by a secular celebrant or a family member. Like a funeral, there may be readings, speeches and poems but, unlike a funeral, there won't be a religious aspect. This is the perfect way to say goodbye to those who were not religious in their lifetime.
A natural or woodland burial is seen as the most environmentally friendly alternative - there are 270 natural burial sites in the UK which can be found through the Natural Death Centre. An eco-funeral does still require purchase of a plot so may not be the cheapest funeral alternative, however, it provides a stunning setting and is more cost effective than a traditional funeral.
If your loved one enjoyed a life at sea, a sea burial is a beautiful way to remember them. This is an uncommon funeral alternative as there are only 5 locations off the British Isles that permit a sea burial - even then, you need a special license to do so. However, for those connected to the oceans or those who desire to be reconnected with the earth in death, a sea burial is a nice alternative.
However, a key component to any funeral is honouring and respecting the wishes of the deceased, while having costs and emotional stresses alleviated for the mourning family. And that's where a pre-paid funeral plan comes in.
Pre-paid funerals take away the stresses associated with losing a loved one, while allowing you to organise and manage your own funeral - tailored to your specific preferences. Choose from our range of plans including the Simple plan, the Direct Cremation plan, or create one of our bespoke packages to share your funeral wishes with your family. For more information on our prepaid funeral plans, get in touch with our expert team today.
- Posted 3rd August 2021