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5 funeral myths: debunked

Arranging a funeral can be difficult, made even more complex by the number of myths and misconceptions many have about the process. Some families may incur unnecessary costs when arranging a funeral for a loved one, which they could have avoided if they were aware of the reality.  

Here we tackle five common funeral myths.


You need to have a funeral service

Although most funerals in the UK include a funeral service before the cremation or burial, it is not compulsory.

The only law that concerns dealing with the deceased’s body is the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 that states you must ‘dispose of the body of the person who has died by burial, cremation or any other means’. There is no law that states you must have a funeral service or ceremony.


Funerals without a service

If your loved one did not want a service or ceremony prior to cremation, a direct cremation could be for you. Your loved one will be taken directly to the crematorium on the day of the cremation. The cremation takes place without a service beforehand, and without any mourner’s present. At Simplicity, direct cremation is available from £995.

There are many reasons people are choosing direct cremation:

- Families want to hold a separate remembrance or celebration of life, at a time and place away from the crematorium
- Some people didn’t like going to funerals and expressed their wishes for something a little more low key than a traditional funeral, so their friends and family do not have to go through the same thing
- A direct cremation is an affordable alternative to a traditional funeral
- Family and friends of the deceased live far away and are unable to attend a funeral service at short notice

We realise a direct cremation won’t suit everyone, that’s why we offer Intimate Funerals. An Intimate Funeral is ideal for those families who would like to be present at the funeral to pay their respects but do not want a funeral service. This option includes a simple cremation and allows a short time in the crematorium chapel for a small group of family and friends.

If you have decided that you personally do not want a funeral service, it’s important to discuss this with your family. You should explain what you want and what it means to you. You could also share your wishes using our free form.


You need to use a Funeral Director to arrange a funeral

Although most funerals in the UK are arranged through a Funeral Director, there is no legal requirement to do so.

Many people choose to use a Funeral Director because they make arranging a funeral a straightforward process. Funeral Directors put a lot of time and care into every funeral they arrange, which will inevitably be reflected in their price. Funeral Directors fees will typically make up the majority of the cost of a basic funeral, although their fees will often include a coffin, a hearse, collection and care of the deceased as well as assistance with any paperwork required for the funeral to proceed and professional guidance throughout the planning process.

At Simplicity, our funerals are arranged with no Funeral Director involvement. Our funerals are arranged over the telephone with the help of our expert team of funeral professionals, so there is no need for you to visit a funeral home or for several, often lengthy meetings with a Funeral Director. This allows us to provide our clients with significant cost savings in comparison to the cost of a traditional funeral, arranged by a Funeral Director.

We take care of all the essential and practical elements of the cremation, leaving you to focus on arranging a funeral service or memorial if you wish.

Read our article on arranging a funeral without a Funeral Director.


My loved one needs to be embalmed

Although embalming is a funeral practice that has been carried out for several years, in most cases, there is no legal requirement to embalm someone when they die. One exception to this is if the person was overseas when they died, and their body is being repatriated back to the UK for their funeral. It is necessary for a body to be embalmed before it travels overseas.

Embalming is prohibited by some religious faiths, including Judaism and Islam (unless required by law) as well as for green funerals at natural burial grounds to prevent embalming fluid leaching into the soil.

Embalming is the process of preserving a body to delay the natural breakdown of cells, which begins when you die. Embalming is sometimes referred to as ‘hygienic treatment’.

The most common reasons for embalming are:

- You would like to visit your loved one in the Chapel of Rest and would like them to look as close to their appearance in life as possible
- You would like your loved one to be available for viewing for a longer period of time
- Cultural or religious traditions

Most funeral providers will offer an embalming service, for an additional cost. You should never feel pressured into choosing this service; embalming is a personal choice for the family and not required in most cases.


The coffin has to be transported in a hearse

Contrary to what many people believe, you do not have to use a hearse to transport a coffin.  A coffin can be transported in any vehicle large enough to accommodate it safely.

Although a traditional funeral procession usually consists of a hearse carrying the coffin, followed by one or more limousines for close family, none of this is obligatory. The cost of a hearse and one limousine is often included in the Funeral Directors fees, but in cases where the cost is not included, you could ask if there is an alternative to a hearse they can offer, particularly if you would like to reduce funeral costs. Instead of using a limousine, you could drive your own car to the venue.

At Simplicity, our funerals are arranged without many of the costly elements of a traditional funeral, including a procession, the provision of a hearse and limousines or a team of pallbearers. Your loved one will be respectfully transported to the crematorium in a specialised funeral vehicle.


Coffins are re-cycled

It is a common misconception that a coffin is recycled after a cremation; this is simply not true.  

A simple wood-effect coffin is provided for every Simplicity Cremation. The coffin is placed into the cremator with the deceased inside and cremated until the process is complete. The heat is very intense, and the cremation process takes around 90 minutes. When the cremation process is complete, all that is left is small amounts of bone. These are taken from the cremator, cooled and placed in a machine that reduces the bone to ashes. Once this has happened, the ashes are put into an individual container, which is identified with the details of the deceased person.

There is also a common misconception that more than one body is cremated at time; this is also untrue. Each cremator is only large enough to accommodate one coffin at any one time.


Arranging a Simplicity Cremation

Many people do not see the value in some of the expensive, ceremonial elements of a traditional funeral. At Simplicity, we offer affordable funerals, for those looking for an altogether simpler affair. Whilst we don’t want to take away the sentiment that comes with a traditional funeral, we do believe there is an alternative way.

Whilst our prices are considerably less than you’d expect to pay for a traditional funeral, rest assured you and your loved one will receive the highest level of care and service. At Simplicity Cremations, everyone gets the dignified funeral they deserve.


If you’re looking for a respectful, compassionate and dignified funeral for your loved one, contact us today. Our funerals are available throughout the whole of mainland Great Britain, from £995 including doctor’s fees and cremation fees.

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