Direct Cremation

Frequently asked questions in regard to Direct Cremation.

Direct cremations have increased in popularity in recent years. However, as Freeman Brothers was established in 1855, we have been arranging them for as long as cremation has been legal in the UK. As with every funeral service, we are guided in making arrangements by the representatives of the person who has died, and there has always been a need for cremation without an accompanying ceremony.

Freeman Brothers always supports local families in their time of need and one of the ways we can do this is by ensuring that we respond to the ways that funerals change over time. The increase in direct cremations over the recent past has led us to introduce special packages for direct cremations, with prices starting at £1395.00.

What is a direct cremation?

Sometimes also called ‘unattended cremation’ or ‘cremation without ceremony’, direct cremations are where the person who has died is taken straight to the crematorium and cremated without a funeral service at the crematorium or anyone being present.

Why do people choose them?

For many reasons. The person who has died might have expressed a wish to have a less formal get-together, or there might be a service a while after the death takes place to enable family and friends to travel in from abroad. There might be a wish to remember the person separately, in friends’ and family’s own time. In some cases, people do die without anyone to attend their funeral and so a direct cremation may seem a practical choice. If you would like a service separate from the cremation, you could consider Hills Cemetery Chapel in Horsham, operated by Freeman Brothers. You can find more about what we offer here.

Does this mean we can’t go to the crematorium?

That depends. Some crematoria do offer an ‘attended direct cremation’, where a small group of attendees can sit briefly in the chapel, sometimes with music. However, Freeman Brothers’ direct cremation packages are designed for the majority of direct cremations, where the deceased person is conveyed straight to the crematory and no-one is present.

What happens to the ashes?

Whatever you choose- having a direct cremation instead of an attended one doesn’t have any implications for your plans for the cremated remains afterwards. They can still be scattered, interred, kept at home, made into memorial jewellery or keepsakes, or any other of the possible options you might think of. Also, having a direct cremation at one crematorium doesn’t preclude having the ashes laid to rest in the grounds of another. All crematoria have an ‘ashes from away’ policy and will usually charge a small fee for this service- but this may be less than the difference in the direct cremation fee between the two places anyway.

Can I be told when the direct cremation will be?

Freeman Brothers will always tell you the date and time of the direct cremation if you would like to know. We cannot guarantee other providers will do the same.

How much does a direct cremation cost?

Freeman Brothers’ direct cremations start from £1395.00 for our standardised unattended cremation. This is a package that all funeral directors who provide direct cremations have to offer, to enable potential customers to compare between providers. This is a simple, non-customisable service. Freeman Brothers also offers a full package for direct cremations which enables you to choose a coffin, arrange visits in the Chapel of Rest and even specify the type of vehicle you would like to be used on the day. For more information, please see our pricelist here.

Freeman Brothers funeral to-do-list

What about the prices I see advertised on TV?

There are lots of TV adverts for direct cremation companies offering a national service across the UK. These companies are offering something that seems to be similar to Freeman Brothers, but there will be some substantial differences:


  • you will have no control over where the person who has died rests, or is taken, until their cremation. They may remain in the hospital where they died or the provider might pay for them to stay with a funeral director you haven’t chosen. They may not tell you where this place is. Anyone who Freeman Brothers cares for, rests at one of our four funeral homes in West Sussex once we have collected them from their place of death.
  • the cremation may take place miles away, so the deceased person may have to travel a substantial difference just to be cremated. Freeman Brothers’ direct cremations will all take place locally, and we will tell you which crematorium we will use. Some of our packages enable you to make that choice.
  • the making of the arrangements might be impersonal. You might be expected to complete the statutory paperwork for cremation (which some people find complicated) with little guidance, and discuss matters by email or phone. Freeman Brothers’ trained funeral arrangers will guide you through all of the paperwork and decisions with sympathy and professionalism- in a face-to-face meeting if that is your preference.
  • the ashes may take a long time to come back to you, or might be posted. Freeman Brothers will collect the cremated remains as soon as possible, and you can collect them from us at your convenience.
  • you may struggle to find out when or where the direct cremation takes place. Freeman Brothers will always give you this information, if you would like it.

A national provider might advertise their services at a cheap rate, but Freeman Brothers likes to think that, for just that bit extra, you are benefitting from what we offer to all of our customers:


  • highly trained, professional team with years of experience in funeral service;
  • local premises for caring for the deceased person;
  • highest standard of facilities and care;
  • a full range of options to make the direct cremation bespoke to requirements;
  • generations’ worth of service to, and experience in, our local communities;
  • transparency over all aspects of the service we provide.

Freeman Brothers is a member of both the National Association of Funeral Directors and the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, meaning our services and facilities are regularly inspected to ensure we meet the highest standards of practice. We cannot guarantee that national providers are subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

We advise all prospective direct cremation customers to carefully compare providers they are considering, to ensure they understand what services they will receive and how costs for equivalent offerings compare.

For more information about direct cremations, or any other funeral service, please do contact us.

One of our friendly team will be happy to answer any questions- our advice is always freely given. You can also find out more about how much a funeral might cost by visiting our cost estimation tool.

Direct Cremation brochure.

This leaflet gives our costs for a bespoke funeral package for an unattended, ‘direct’ cremation. It also includes details of our service charges, staff costs and transport provision as well as non-essential items that you can choose to add.

Price list for our services (Cremation only)

Call us at any time on 01403 254590 or email

Can I arrange my own funeral in advance?

Freeman Brothers operates its own prepaid funeral plans whereby the funeral can be paid for at current prices, with no further expenditure, regardless of the date of the eventual death. For more information, please visit our prepaid funeral plans section.

What do I need to do to plan a funeral?

The first few days following a death seem to consist of an endless succession of decisions, along with a great deal of paperwork. Freeman Brothers can help you through the practicalities, with factual information and guidance regarding registration, arranging the funeral and any relevant legal matters. Please visit our Planning A Funeral section for more information.

How can I cope with bereavement?

Different individuals respond to loss in different ways. If you are struggling with bereavement, we have a dedicated section of our website that offers advice and links to various charities and support networks. Please visit our Bereavement Information section for more information.