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What is a DIY Funeral

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 23 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Diy Funeral Funerals Deceased Death

When a loved one dies there are a huge number of responsibilities which fall to their surviving relatives. Many of these responsibilities are assumed in law by the executor of the deceased’s will, but it often occurs that other relatives wish to take on some of the burden themselves. As a result of the sheer volume of work associated with dealing with death, many people would find it hard to understand why some others wish to take on even more work by organising the funeral themselves. However, this is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst those who feel strongly about making the funeral as personal as possible.

Financial Concerns

Choosing the DIY route can ensure that almost every last detail of the event is under your control. Similarly, Which? Magazine recently claimed that they can be up to £800 cheaper than conventional funerals; if money is a concern, you should remember that there will still be costs incurred, including the actual cremation or burial and, if necessary, the grave.

Many people do not even consider the idea of a DIY funeral as they presume that there are strict regulations governing the way in which such rituals must be carried out. In fact, this could not be farther from the truth; the rules about the disposal of bodies in the UK are some of the most relaxed in the world. You will be required to either bury or cremate the body, and you will also need a Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This is issued by the Registrar of Deaths, and will be requested by the hospital or mortuary before they release the body.


After this, however, the details are pretty much up to you. In the first instance, you will have to decide on a location for the ceremony; this will need to be booked well in advance as popular choices such as churches and crematoriums are often full. There are also practical concerns as to the storage of the body. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the process, particularly as moving a deceased loved one can be fairly traumatic. You may wish to take advice from a funeral director for this stage of the process; in summer, particularly, it may be necessary to have the body properly embalmed.

Transporting the coffin is another important consideration. You will need a fairly sizeable vehicle, but it does not have to be a hearse; indeed, stories abound about coffins being transported in camper-vans, horse and cart, trailer…the list goes on. If the body is being buried, you will also need to check with the graveyard as to whether or not they employ their own grave diggers. If not you will probably need to find your own, although you would be able to backfill the grave yourselves if you wish.

Of course, any funeral arrangements should be made with the wishes of the deceased in mind. In some cases funeral arrangements (or at the very least indications as to the preferences of the deceased individual) may have been left in a will; this should always be investigated before you begin to make your own arrangements.

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