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At a recent industry event for funeral directors, it was revealed that 75% of those asking for a “direct funeral” did not understand this meant no service and no attendance from family.

We appreciate that families arranging a funeral today have more choice than any other generation before. Options are plentiful and improved personalisation means no two funerals are the same. But this can lead to confusion and the last thing anyone facing a bereavement needs, is misunderstanding. Here’s our definition of four different funeral types.

1. Direct Cremations or Non-Attended Cremations
Direct is not especially clear so we prefer using the term non-attended cremation – because that’s exactly what it is. The coffin is taken directly to the crematorium with no-one in attendance, no service and at a time defined by the crematorium.

Advantages of non-attended funerals are their simplicity, lack of family involvement, low cost and no fuss. The downside is it can leave a legacy of unresolved grief for those left behind from the lack of any closure that a funeral provides. It is possible to have a later service or celebration of life, especially as the ashes are retained by the family for scattering, burying or keeping close.

2. Simple funerals
Usually defined as the most basic funeral that still includes all the core elements: funeral director fees, a coffin and provision of a hearse. It does not include extras such as limousines or service related costs such as venue hire or officiant fees. The simple funeral also does not include third party costs which make up the overall fee including cremation or graveyard fees, flowers, newspaper notices or other elements that are traditional to funerals.

So, we advise of three things to be very aware of:
– First the level of ‘service’ provided can vary enormously as can the facilities and staff involved in your loved one’s care.
– Second we can honour a family or deceased’s wishes for ‘keeping it simple’ in many ways that are much more creative or unique than any strict description can allow.
– Finally ‘simple’ can be misconstrued as ‘cheap’. This shouldn’t be the case.
Simple is the starting point for making price comparisons easy. In our experience, those that want a simple funeral don’t actually want corners cut, just choices that really reflect their life and preferences.

3. No fuss funerals
This is a tough definition as no fuss generally points to a minimalist style; “less is more” or an event that is understated and simple.  By having fewer elements, the fuss free funeral may be a more affordable option.  It’s worth noting that while the event may be paired back, we often find that choices made are of the absolute highest quality. In our experience, no fuss doesn’t always mean low cost and we spend valuable time working out what no fuss really means to families making these choices.

4. Low cost funerals
The least confusing is last because ‘low cost’ on one level does what it says on the tin; it keeps the cost low. There are however some caveats. Usually low cost is at the cost of both quality and choice. For some providers the entry-level pricing that starts as an attraction is soon overshadowed by add-on’s and extras that lead to a final bill far away from the low cost expected. For others, it is an excuse to provide low quality service. In both cases, we believe this exploits already vulnerable people.

Care of the deceased and service to those left behind is of key importance to us so our standards in this respect will never falter. If keeping an eye on costs is a key requirement, we can work within limited budgets by creative funeral planning that ensures the balance is struck between finance restrictions and the fact this is a last chance to say goodbye – something we know is priceless to get right.

What’s right for you?
If you’re planning ahead or just looking for guidance, make sure you are clear as to what’s wanted and do not be compromised from arranging the funeral you really want by any misunderstanding jargon.

It costs nothing to have a conversation, so call us for advice or go online to create your own, free, Plan of Wishes today.