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Organising a funeral part 3: Cremation, burial and other choices

A yellow flower


The choice between a cremation and burial can be a very personal matter. Factors in deciding may include:

  • Directions or preferences indicated by the person who has died;
  • Financial resources available to you;
  • Religious beliefs, personal or spiritual philosophy;
  • Environmental concerns;
  • Simplicity or convenience;
  • Where the person lived in relation to family or friends.

Cremation is often a more affordable option and accounts for up to three quarters of all funerals. The UK figures for 2015 show an average cremation costs around 20% less than the cost of the average burial, but can be significantly lower depending on your location and the costs of burial plots.

If you choose to use one, most funeral directors (including 'Willow') offer a simple cremation package, which may make it a more affordable option. Remember to ask about whether they offer this package.

If you choose a burial, there are still flexible options for keeping the costs down. A burial can take place in a churchyard, a local authority cemetery or a private cemetery. Burials can also take place in a woodland site, or on private land, including a garden, but you must contact the local authority for permission to do so.

‘Natural’ burial

There are a growing number of ‘natural’ or ‘woodland’ burial parks offering a simple, cheaper alternative to conventional burial grounds. When looking at options, note that costs may be only for the plot, and there may be additional interment costs for digging and filling the grave. Money is also saved on memorials, as headstones are generally replaced by wooden plaques or other simple markers in keeping with the woodland environment.

Donating a body to medical science

If you wish to explore this option, permission must be given by the person before they die. The Human Tissue Authority offers information and contact details of the schools that accept donated bodies:

For more info please read our article on Tissue Donation after death here:

Tissue donation after death

This article was originally posted by Quaker Social Action

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