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Burial, Cremation or Other!? - Alternatives to the Traditional and Some Myths Busted

November 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Funerals can be expensive and confusing and not everyone wants a traditional burial or cremation. There are alternatives and there are ways to keep the costs down. So what are the alternatives? The list is not exhaustive but here are a few alternatives:

Vinyl Records
You can have your cremation remains pressed into a vinyl record – for the grand sum of around £10,000.00 you can have your entire funeral planned around your “death song” and you can give your funeral guests a copy of the record too!

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
You can have yourself made into a diamond or other gem and be set into a ring or a pendant – prices start from around £500 depending on the colour of the gem and go up to £7000 or more.

Space Burial
Although more popular in America, packages start there at around $1000 up to $12,000 – send a small sample of your cremated ashes into space. Put yourself in a rocket and get launched into outer space!

Freeze Dried Burial
You can be cryogenically frozen in liquid nitrogen, get shaken (using vibration) and get turned into soil. This is a greener option and you can be scattered on your roses or buried in a small biodegradable container made from corn or potato starch. Within 6-18 months your remains will have turned into fresh new soil. This does not appear to be available in the UK as yet but it does have some support from Green supporters.

Fireworks
Go out with a bang. Prices seem to range from £500 to over £1000 depending on the size of the display required and the company providing the service. Have your ashes put into a display of fireworks and have a professional fireworks display arranged for a truly magical way to be remembered.

Fireworks Display

The alternative options available instead of traditional burials and cremations are truly never ending. Take the time to explore the options and incorporate your wishes into your Will. You can use your Will to tell your friends and family what you want, how much it will cost to do it and what service provider you would like them to use to achieve your wishes.

Common Myths Busted

You have to have a funeral director
You do not have not have to have a funeral director, friends and family can arrange the funeral themselves. Essentially you can have a DIY funeral. The Natural Death Centre is happy to give families advice and assistance if you are contemplating a DIY funeral. You can arrange all aspects of the funeral yourself including a “Direct Cremation”.

You have to use a hearse
This is incorrect you can collect the body in your own vehicle from the funeral director or you can ask the funeral director what alternative vehicles they have.

You have to have the service at a church or crematorium
You can have the service at home or you can arrange it at an alternative venue more personal to you or your loved one if that venue is willing.

You cannot be buried at home
There is no law in the UK that states that you cannot be buried at home providing you own the land. You can also be buried on someone else’s land so long as they own it and you have their express permission. If no money changes hands for the burial then no planning permission is required. The only thing that you have to ensure is that the body has to be disposed of in a recognised way (buried or scattered) and the body cannot be exposed in any way.

You have to be embalmed
There is no legal requirement to be embalmed. There is an argument that if you want to view the body then it should be embalmed but this does not have to be the case. If you use a funeral director discuss it with them.

You cannot scatter your ashes where you want
This is not true. No areas are banned but common sense has to be applied. If the land is owned privately by another individual get their permission to scatter the ashes first. If in doubt ask and consider if the area where you want to be scattered will always be accessible to your loved ones.

If you want to plan your funeral before you die don’t assume that only the traditional options are available. Carry out research and make sure that you have the send off that you want not the send off that is generally expected. If you feel strongly about how much funerals cost take some advice about a DIY funeral and get everything in place before you go. You can leave detailed instructions for your family in your Will about keeping the funeral costs to a minimum and how to do it.

Make sure your friends and family are aware of your funeral wishes by making a Will and including a detailed description within your Will of what you want. If you already have a Will get your Will updated to include your funeral wishes.


About the Author

Samantha Ibrahim Photo

Samantha Ibrahim is a Chartered Legal Executive within Spencers Solicitors Private Client Team. Samantha’s main focus on the provision of Wills and Probate services.

In addition to drafting Wills and providing advice on the administration of estates, Samantha is also able to obtain letters of administration, grant of probate, advanced decisions, lasting power of attorney and Court of Protection Deputyship.

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