After the Funeral
Further support after the funeral service.
The cremated remains, or ashes.
Once a cremation has taken place, there are a number of options regarding the cremated remains. If you wish for them to remain at the crematorium, you will usually be contacted directly about the range of memorials and services available. There is a significant breadth of choice in these and they are highly variable across crematoria. Most crematoria have a Garden of Remembrance, which is an area where many different sets of remains will be scattered over time, as well as private areas available for purchase: scatterings in these public areas are often at a low cost, or included in the fee paid to the crematorium, and you can choose to be present when this takes place if you would like, although there may also be a charge for this. It is also possible to arrange for remains to be scattered in the same area as those for a previous funeral, which is called ‘scattering with reference’; again, there may be a cost for this.
If you wish to scatter remains privately, or have them interred in a family grave or plot, the funeral director can collect them on your behalf to save you going back to the crematorium. They can also help you with the arrangements for an interment ceremony, if this is required: there will usually need to be a brief ceremony led by the incumbent minister if the remains are to be interred in a churchyard and some churchyards have areas specifically designated for cremated remains if there is not an existing grave for the remains to be buried in.
Many cemeteries, burial grounds, and natural burial grounds have cremation plots available and the arrangements are usually similar to those for full graves in terms of their purchase. Such plots can usually be marked, but this depends on their setting: some only allow flat tablets, for example. If the style of memorial is important to you, it is beneficial to check the rules in the chosen burial site before proceeding with the interment. Our sister company, J.Gumbrill Monumental Masons, is able to advise regarding the regulations for all local burial places as well as providing estimates for memorials suitable for cremation plots.
Most crematoria provide a simple container for the return of the ashes but these are often quite plain and would perhaps not be considered suitable for display. For those crematoria that don’t provide a container, or if a different choice is requested, your funeral director will be able to provide you with information about the wide range of options available in various different materials, colours and finishes. There is no need to use a container designed for this purpose: anything of sufficient capacity, which can be sealed at least semi-permanently, will suffice and your funeral director will be happy to decant the ashes into this for you. Please also ensure that your funeral director is aware of your plans for the final destination of the remains as some natural burial grounds may request only biodegradable containers and some locations may mandate loose interment, which would render the purchase of a container unnecessary.
It might sometimes be the case that a decision cannot be made about the cremated remains (at least in the short term) or that the decision is to retain them until a subsequent death. There is no reason why they cannot be retained at home but it must be borne in mind that someone will always have to decide on their final destination.
Cremated remains can be scattered anywhere, in theory, but it is important to understand that they should not be scattered on public land, or private land that is not your own, without consent. Certainly, it is sensible to carry out a scattering sensitively, perhaps at a time when there are likely to be few passersby or in a relatively private place. It is possible to purchase ‘scatter tubes’, into which the ashes can be decanted, to make this process easier. People are often surprised at the quantity of cremated remains that are returned.
There is an increasing number of companies offering alternative products for cremated remains: capturing them in glass, artwork or jewellery, arranging for them to be placed into sculptures or fireworks, or even sent into space. Please ask your funeral director to ensure that the company you are considering is reputable. It is also possible to take a portion of the ashes for such a company and send them on your behalf if you are not comfortable with doing this yourself. A small amount of the cremated remains can also be kept, separate from any of the arrangements outlined above: these are often called ‘keepsake’ portions and there are specific small caskets, or scatter tubes, as well as simple boxes available to purchase for their storage and retention.
Payment and legal responsibility.
Your funeral director will give you a breakdown of the costs for the funeral and, in a written estimate, explain which are fixed, which may change, which are levied by the funeral director and which are third-party charges that the funeral director will pay on your behalf. You will be asked to sign a confirmation that you accept this estimate as being indicative of the costs for the funeral you have chosen, and may be asked to pay a deposit to cover some of these costs in advance.
The individual who makes the funeral arrangements (called the applicant) becomes responsible for these costs. They may ask the funeral director to send their account to their solicitor, or to the bank of the person who has died, for payment to be made directly from the estate; this will usually be acceptable, however it should be noted that responsibility for the account is not abdicated if this happens and the applicant will be asked to make up any shortfall.
The Social Fund Funeral Payment (SFFP) is available to help towards the cost of a funeral when the applicant (note: not the person who has died) meets certain criteria around receipt of qualifying benefits. Eligibility is assessed by way of an application form. It should not be assumed that funding will be granted and it should be noted that funding is given in tiers: even the highest tier of funding will probably not be sufficient to pay for the funeral in full.
Payment for the funeral (both the deposit and the final balance) may be made by BACS, credit or debit card, cash, cheque or banker’s draft. Our bank details are provided on our estimate paperwork and final account.
If there are concerns about the ability to pay for the funeral arrangements, please let your funeral director know as soon as possible. There are plenty of ways to reduce the costs for the funeral without compromising the dignity of the person who has died or the quality and feel of the funeral service itself.
How much does a funeral cost?
It can be hard to know how much a funeral might cost, especially as third-party fees can vary considerably and are sometimes not included in our competitors' quotes. Our easy-to-use estimation tool takes all aspects of the arrangement into account, giving you a realistic view right from the outset, so there are no surprises. Additionally, our statutory information page offers further detail regarding our standardised pricing.