What is cremation and is it right for me?

- 14/01/22

Although cremation is the funeral type of choice for most Brits, it’s not the only option available[1]. Planning your funeral in advance is one of the best things you can do as it lets your family know exactly what you want and can also save them money if you opt for a prepaid funeral plan. But, before you commit to a going through with a cremation plan you should think about the wider picture and whether cremation is right for you or not.

What happens at a cremation?

When picking a funeral type, services for cremations differ little from funeral services for burials. The main difference between the two is what actually happens to the body of the deceased after. Cremations involve burning the deceased at a very high temperature in a specialized oven until the body is reduced to ash, whereas with a burial the body of the deceased is buried in the ground. After a cremation has been completed, the remaining ashes are gathered up into a container which can be returned to the family or scattered on crematoria grounds.

Why cremation might be right for you

Pricing

On average, cremations are cheaper than burials. With no need for a plot of land, digging teams or support equipment on the day of the committal, cremations require less resources to go ahead. With the cost of funerals reaching over £4,000 in recent years[1], people are keen to save money where they can, making cost-effective funerals like cremations more attractive.

Convenience

Without the need for a burial, which mourners often feel obligated to attend, cremations can offer a lot of flexibility. Options like direct cremation give your loved ones the opportunity to separate the cremation itself from celebrating the life of the deceased, sparing your loved ones from needing to organise a funeral while trying to cope with their grief following a death.

Flexibility

Unlike with a burial, which takes place at a fixed location, cremation ashes can be scattered almost anywhere. So, if there is a specific place that is special to you, you can request that your relatives lay you to rest there by scattering your ashes in that area.

Why cremation might not be right for you

Religion

If you’re religious, one of the largest factors you’ll need to consider is whether or not cremation is appropriate for you spiritually. Just as some cultures and religions view cremation as the most appropriate form of funeral, others consider only burial to be appropriate. The best thing to do in this situation is to speak to a spiritual leader for guidance before making your decision.

Tradition

If your family or culture has a strong tradition of burial over cremation, a cremation may not be a suitable choice for your funeral. Although cremations are the most popular type of funeral in the UK, some communities still maintain strong burial traditions which you may be expected to partake in. While you can always break tradition and opt for a cremation, be sure to talk to your family about your plans in advance so that they’re prepared.

Sustainability

A cremation also may not be for you if you lead an eco-conscious lifestyle and want a green funeral. Many people who try to live eco-friendly lives now opt for funerals that incorporate elements of ‘returning to nature’ which can’t be replicated with a cremation. Funerals like pod and forest burials are especially popular with people focused on living, and dying, as sustainably as possible.

Ultimately, the funeral you choose is your personal choice, but it’s always worth weighing up your options thoroughly before signing any kind of agreement.

If you have any questions about cremation funerals and what they entail, contact our team of Personal Advisors who’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sources

  1. SunLife (2021)

Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited (Prepaid Funeral plan provider) I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |