To not want a funeral when I die

(72 Posts)

While I understand its about paying respect I have been to two funerals recently that have cost in excess of four thousand pounds (one a lot more).

Most of the people there hadn't seen the assessed for decades and felt a duty to come and sit in a drafty church they don't want to be in then drink free booze and food afterwards.

I don't want people who didn't care enough to visit me in life to bother in death. I certainly dont want Money that my dd could have to be spent on them.

So aibu to tell my family just to send me to the crem without any service and tell them to spend the money on a holiday instead.

Can you even do that?

Sorry for morbid thread I've been writing my will.

Deceased damn auto correct

MummyDoIt Tue 09-Oct-12 17:39:58

My MIL has said exactly the same. She has said she wants the absolute bare minimum in terms of coffin and cremation. No service, no 'do' afterwards. Then she wants close family to either go somewhere nice for the weekend together. We plan to respect her wishes though I'm not sure whether it's possible to be cremated without any form of service. Will be watching the thread with interest.

I understand where you're coming from but think you probably are being unreasonable. Have you considered how the people you leave behind would feel about it?

Well tbh I am divorced and don't have family close other than my parents (who probably won't be around ) and my hopefully adult by then autistic dd.

I have cousins but we only see each other at christenings, weddings and funerals and not massively close.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:46:52

I know you can have a private service.

oneofthosedays Tue 09-Oct-12 17:47:10

I had it put in my will that i don't want any sort of funeral when i die. I think the money funeral directors charge for the most simple of services is utterly abhorrent and i don't want my surviving family stressing about organising and paying for it. Dh wants a humanist ceremony and have a tree planted on top of his grave.

DameFannyGallopsAtaGhost Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:07

I get what you mean -like not wanting a big wedding - but personally I often quite enjoy funerals -you get to catch up with people and talk about the deceased, and it's less burdensome than a wedding because you don't have to pretend to be happy the whole time you're there, if you see what I mean?

But entirely up to you.

cantspel Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:52

The main cost is not the feeding and watering of everyone afterwards. A small simple crem job will cost around £3k on its own.

DameFannyGallopsAtaGhost Tue 09-Oct-12 17:50:40

However my will states a cardboard box burial in the woods, andI'll expect DH or DS to organise a piss up at the pub after :-)

Beanbagz Tue 09-Oct-12 17:50:42

I had a friend who donated her body to medical science and there was just a memorial service to remember her.

No funeral as such because there was no body so no coffin.


I am going to one next weeks that is costing 3500 pounds for just a crem service and funeral director/coffin. No church/flowers etc.

The adult children of deceased are struggling.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 09-Oct-12 17:51:15

YANBU, so long as no-one who's left would mind your alternative.

DHs mother died recently, she didn't care what we did by way of funeral (I think her only words on the subject were that we could drop her off the pier for all she cared...that's illegal though). We did have a conventional service at the crem, mainly because DHs aunt would have been so upset if we hadn't.

But if you've no-one who'd feel like that - well, as the saying goes, its your funeral!

I joked that with my mum Grimma that they could just chuck me in the sea!

WhoNickedMyName Tue 09-Oct-12 17:54:25

You or someone will have to pay for the cremation of your body regardless of whether you have a service or not - it's not the service that costs the money, it's the actual cremation that costs about £3k.

scurryfunge Tue 09-Oct-12 17:55:05

My uncle didn't want a service - he just went straight to the crematorium.

Mintyy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:55:11

Funerals are much more for the people you leave behind. I think yabu I'm afraid. You can opt for a woodland burial in a simple cardboard or willow casket but they still cost something. Funeral directors need to collect the body, keep it and fulfil all sorts of legal obligations so even the bare minimum cost is going to be in the thousands I should think. But please don't dictate what your friends/family should do to remember you after you've gone - its really NOT about you at that point!

WhoNickedMyName Tue 09-Oct-12 17:55:46

As a PP said - medical science is the way to go for free disposal of your body.

McHappyPants2012 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:56:39

There was an heartbreaking story in the newspaper where 3 generations was killed in a arson attack and they was asking for donations for a funeral sad

For me I wouldn't want to burden love ones with the cost, I have life insurance but would want the cheapest option

GrimmaTheNome Tue 09-Oct-12 18:02:26

>But please don't dictate what your friends/family should do to remember you after you've gone

TBH I wouldn't agree - provided there isn't an issue with money, its easier and more satisfactory if the deceased has left clear indications of what they'd like. DH was perplexed what to do for his mother until he had the sensible idea of doing exactly the same as had been done for his father. Last year we had 2 family funerals where they'd said what they wanted - it made it easier to know we were doing what they'd have wanted.

Hopeforever Tue 09-Oct-12 18:09:58

It's only £300 for a churchyard burial and service. This doesn't include the cost of a coffin or digging the grave

The majority of people want to mark the death of a loved one in some way, but it can be very individual

It's as much about the mourners as the dead person.

Hopeforever Tue 09-Oct-12 18:13:11

For anyone wanting to do a DIY funeral, here's a god site, it's not as easy as we imagine

GrimmaTheNome Tue 09-Oct-12 18:13:17

Hope - maybe that's the case in churchyards (do they take anyone or just members?) -in other facilities the cost of the grave may be much more than that, with large yearly maintainance charges and then still only be a 99 year lease!

Hopeforever Tue 09-Oct-12 18:17:49

Church of England Churchyards that still have space take anyone who lived at time of death, or died in the parish. Sadly not all are still open due to lack of space

Often they will allow burials for people who have had to move to a care home out of area

hoodoo12345 Tue 09-Oct-12 18:42:41

My Aunt died two weeks ago after a 4 year battle with leukaemia, she has left her body to science.
Her mum did it when she died , her husband and grown up kids also plan on doing it when it is their time.
Her wishes are being respected of course, but it is really weird not having some sort of funeral or even a memorial service to say goodbye, mot even a notice in the paper.....

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Tue 09-Oct-12 18:46:25

It's not obligatiry to have a funeral. I know two people who didn't. You should consult those likely to survive you though.

bluewonderful Tue 09-Oct-12 18:55:20

Although you might not want a funeral your loved ones may still want/need to do something to deal with grief - a funeral/memorial service/similar event is an important step in the grieving process. DH has struggled with loss of both his parents who were adamant that they wanted no service or ceremonies and whilst the family respected their wishes in retrospect feel that they missed out on a big opportunity to process their feelings and celebrate the life lost. But agree with you that this need not involve spending ££ on fancy coffins and funeral director fees.

bluewonderful Tue 09-Oct-12 18:57:33

Oh and well done on writing your will. Too many people never get round to it (reminds self hers needs updating as written pre-DCs and DC2 due next week!)

LynetteScavo Tue 09-Oct-12 19:06:13

Personally, I think you should do what is best for your DD. If you think she won't need a service to say goodbye to you, fair enough.

I suspect two of my DC will need me (and their Dad) to have full Catholic funerals. It will help them with their grieving. One of my DC won't care what kind of service we have/don't have. He would much rather have the money (in a practical way, not a horrid way).

scootle Tue 09-Oct-12 19:11:30

My father's funeral meant so much to me. It was wonderful to see some faces from the past - i was touched beyond belief that a lady we had known as children travelled to be there. My mum's family all came (they had been divorced for 20 years).

So yanbu to want to keep things simple; yabu to deny your dd a chance to commemorate you - it's a really important part of the hideous grieving process.

msrisotto Tue 09-Oct-12 19:12:47

To be fair, it's not really about you. It's about the loved ones you left behind, it's an essential grieving process.

elliejjtiny Tue 09-Oct-12 19:15:18

I'm planning on donating my body to medical science and then having a memorial service with a bring and share buffet. Unless DH/the DS's really want to spend a small fortune having me cremated.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Oct-12 19:21:09

I know some one who just donated their body to medical science and didn't have anything. However I think that YABU because it maybe what those who are left want-it may help them. Since you are not going to attend I would just leave it to them.

Oneflipflop Tue 09-Oct-12 19:24:44

My DM is donating her body to medical science and doesn't want a service because she doesn't like going to funerals, and doesn't want me to have stress, worry and expense of arranging one. As it happens, I could deal with it and would find it hard not to have that closure and memorial of her life with loved ones.

My FIL passed away last year, the funeral cost were huge. In the thousands. He had a burial and wake in the house. The cost of the flowers alone was ridiculous, but my dh and his family had the attitude of to hell with the money. Which was understandable. We only just finished paying for our flowers this month! They were so expensive, and MIL can't afford a headstone now! It is criminal how the respectful disposal of our loved ones has turned into a million pound industry! If anything happened to myself or DH who ever was left would not be able to pay for a funeral, even a basic one.

Also for reference the environmentally friendly coffins, like cardboard are MORE expensive than the traditional coffins!

I'm donating my body to medical research and my family can have a wake /memorial service in the house with tesco value crisps and cheap plonk!

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 09-Oct-12 19:32:07

Medical science is having me, too. I don't care what happens, I'll be dead.

I don't go much for ceremonies anyway, had a very minimal registry office wedding and if medical science doesn't want me I'll have the same for the funeral.

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Tue 09-Oct-12 19:37:32

Medical science for me too

GoldShip Tue 09-Oct-12 19:38:06


Even though its your funeral, it's not actually for you is it. It makes people feel better when they say their last goodbyes

DameFannyGallopsAtaGhost Tue 09-Oct-12 19:41:14

I've just googled and found a cardboard coffin online for 99 quid which seems reasonable.

And also a bamboo wicker type coffin which looks like an enormous picnic hamper and really tempts me... grin

How do you know if medical science will want you?

Viperidae Tue 09-Oct-12 19:48:07

I think it is nice to have some mark of respect. You may have a whole new circle of friends by the time you die. My DF joined a golf club some years before his death and we were stunned at the number of men from there who turned up to the crem for his service - it was standing room only. There were also a lot of family, old friends, neighbours, etc

Dad insisted that he did not want a plot or headstone as he felt what is left behind is not him and if anything of him is still around it will be with his family. He said he would sooner have us visit each other than visit a stone.
I think that is a lovely thought.

I think that any funeral/wake is more for those left behind so I don't really care about mine, I'm happy for it to be whatever DH and DCs want.

malovitt Tue 09-Oct-12 20:00:25

I have left strict instructions that I am to have no funeral service and I have made sure everyone knows about it. It is written in my will and my family would never go against my wishes. They know how strongly I feel about it.

Immediate cremation, ashes in a simple box and then take me down our local and stick me on the bar whilst everyone has a quick drink. Next day, throw my ashes in the sea at the place I grew up in as a child.
That will do.
No order of service with dodgy photos and poems, no wittering on about my life and no-one failing miserably to pick out my favourite songs.
Boo hiss boo.

madonnawhore Tue 09-Oct-12 20:02:24

Once you die it's not really about you any more. Sorry.

My mum didn't want a funeral but when she died there was absolutely no way me or my brother or my dad or my nanna could've grieved properly and moved on without a funeral.

Also, the biggest expense was the bastard coffin! Even the cheapest one was nearly a grand.

If you're that bothered about expense then do that thing where you pay for it all befo you die. Or donate your body to science. But you have to fill out loads of forms and stuff first.

Mintyy Tue 09-Oct-12 20:11:06

I was extremely surprised, moved and even stunned by the number of people who turned out for dh's grandmother's funeral. Her 5 children and partners and all the grandchildren and partners had gathered at her house beforehand (so that was quite a number) to get things ready for the wake. Then we all walked together up to the village church for the service. It was absolutely packed to the rafters with only just enough room for family in the front two pews. So incredibly moving and it meant a great deal to dh's mum and her siblings that so many came to see her off.

ethelb Tue 09-Oct-12 20:13:38

One of my grandfathers was a die-hard atheist who refused to leave plans for his funeral. He had one when he died but the process of arranging it has left a pool of bitter resentments amoung the family.

Basically this v atheist funeral took place in a unitarian church with buddist chanting and lots of slagging off the catholic church (me and my sisters are catholic). The minister (yes minister) basically manged to piss everyone off. And none of it was what my gpa would have wanted.

Yoiu really need to wirte down plans even if it is "put me in an oven and forget me"

It really isn't about you I'm afraid and is quite selfish (I have this argument with DP quite frequently).

Way2Go Tue 09-Oct-12 20:22:04

Medical science for me too.

My son is a medical student and they are really respectful of the cadavers and they have a service for them at the end of the year. Not that I would care as I would be dead but my survivors might care how my 'body' was treated.

RuleBritannia Tue 09-Oct-12 20:22:36

Medical science will not accept just anyone. They are picky about who/what they will have. I even offered my DH's organs (including skin and bone) but was declined. <voice of experience>

RuleBritannia Tue 09-Oct-12 20:22:59


EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 09-Oct-12 20:24:57

Whistling - I've signed up with a local medical school, so the students can practise on me. However, if you donate organs they don't want you (and obviously that's priority, if they can use bits of you alive) - and if you die of certain things (including cancer) they can't use you either.

Way2Go Tue 09-Oct-12 20:28:36

It is true tht medical science won't accept anybody. See here

Looks a bit complicated....

Way2Go Tue 09-Oct-12 20:33:11

I thought you couldn't be 'donated' to a medical school in your local area to minimise the risk of someone who knows you coming across your body.

i might be wrong though hmm

Teahouse Tue 09-Oct-12 20:37:15

If you want a cheap burial then have a shroud burial; no coffin required. You have to request this from the funeral director.
For a cremation, ask for the cheapest coffin option; they won't offer you this so instruct people to ask of this, cardboard can be cremated.
You don't have to have a service at a crem and most crems if you don't have one will not just cremate without some ritual.
Green burials can be cheap too, especially if people do all the bits themselves.

RuleBritannia Tue 09-Oct-12 20:38:08

We did go down the body donation business about 5 years before my DH died (we didn't know he was going to and there was nothing wrong with him). We were declined then.

It was after he'd died (just) that I offered the bones and skin and was again declined even though we'd been on the Organ Donor Register for years. The donors don't have to be alive for those.

ratspeaker Tue 09-Oct-12 20:41:43

My dad wanted to leave his body to medical science
He had been in touch with the medical school, all the forms filled in but their criteria for accepting the bodies is very strict
His cancer ruled him out

Neither of my parents had a religious funeral

To have a burial you have to have purchased or be in possession of the deeds to a plot, many cemeteries are full, green burial plots sell out way in advance
There are fees for opening the grave, searching the deeds and plot etc
For cremation there are the fees for the crematorium, two doctors fees etc

Funeral directors charge for collecting the body, preparing it and of course the coffin
extras are the cars, flowers, announcements in newspapers, fees to clergy, viewings, embalming.

In my in laws case the cost of the teas and food afterwards was a small percentage of the funeral cost.

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 09-Oct-12 21:01:08

Way2 - I'm a Biology teacher, one of my students who is planning to study medicine has said I'm not allowed to die before they do their course in case they find me in the dissecting room "because that would freak me out".

I really like the idea that I'll still be teaching when I'm dead. But I realise chances are they won't want me.

BeyondLimitsOfTheLivingDead Tue 09-Oct-12 21:10:48

So <naive> what happens if noone left behind can afford the funeral fees then?

MyNeighbourIsHorrid Tue 09-Oct-12 21:34:53

My great aunt left her body for medical science. They took the bits they wanted and then insisted we took the rest back. They even left her pacemaker in, so we had to arrange to get that removed before we could cremate her.
My friends DHs estranged mother died, he refused to have anything to do with her remains and just walked away. He never did find out what happened to her, but it wasn't his responsibility. If the deceased had any assets, they must be used to pay. If no assets, no pauper's grave. I think hte council has to pay for disposal but will try to find family or charity (eg if homeless ex serviceman) to pay for basis cremation

Oldandcobwebby Tue 09-Oct-12 21:36:09

I am a crematorium manager, and can confirm that plenty of people choose to have no funeral service. Religious services are rapidly declining in number, and secular services are becoming the norm. Locally crematorium and doctors' fees come in at approx £600. No-one is stopping anyone using a £99 cardboard coffin, or making their own.

Funeral directors can charge what they like. Locally there is a £2000+ difference between the cheapest and the dearest. The service you get doesn't vary much, though! It pays to shop around...

The number of bodies we receive from medical schools has declined almost to nothing since technological advances like the Visible Human Project.

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Tue 09-Oct-12 21:54:54

I'm going to have a second line funeral like they have in New Orleans.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 09-Oct-12 23:35:14

>So <naive> what happens if noone left behind can afford the funeral fees then?

I've read that if you die in hospital and there's no-one else to take responsibility for it , the hospital deals with it. If not in hospital, does the council have to step in?

LineRunner Tue 09-Oct-12 23:44:51

Yes there are 'welfare burials' (community burials) that the council will arrange if there is no-one else to do it. But the council will take control of the estate if there is any (often just a few bob and some furniture) and the grave isn't marked.

Startailoforangeandgold Tue 09-Oct-12 23:51:12

Cremate me quietly and scatter me somewhere pretty.

Then you may have any memorial service you wish, but if any one mentions God or life after death with my body or ashes in the room...

i shall be back to haunt you

sashh Wed 10-Oct-12 04:02:13

Medical science for my body too, unless I die on a bank holiday. Apparently they can't collect then.

I'm reassured by the amount of people who are saying medical science or no service, maybe im not such an oddball after all!

I just don't get the whole thing. I've only ever been to one funeral that was really a lovely rememberence and not out of duty of what they thought they had to do.

I would much rather my family used money to go on holiday to our favourite place and remembered me there.

I do have aspergers so i never know if its that part of it but i don't get all this chiding a favourite outfit or jewellery either. I really don't care what i have on.


LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 10:07:21

I don't mind be tipped over the side of a boat the feed the fishes.

LineRunner Wed 10-Oct-12 10:09:59

p.s. the carbon foorprint of crematoria is massive, and the mercury emissions from people's teeth (fillings) have to be dealt with too, hence the rising costs.

If the local authority tries to recycle the heat from the crematoria they face a barage of media nonsense about 'heating classrooms from burning the dead'. FFS.

fishybits Wed 10-Oct-12 10:12:34

My Mother's side of the family has never had funerals. The immediate male members of the family go to the crematorium to make sure it's done properly and then a memorial service is held a couple of months later.

Sounds good to me.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 10-Oct-12 11:20:03

>I would much rather my family used money to go on holiday to our favourite place and remembered me there.

That sounds like a lovely idea to me. I guess the question is, would it to them?

>I don't mind be tipped over the side of a boat the feed the fishes.
apparently there have been problems with people doing that - inadequate weighting - and while feeding the fishes is all very well, it can be unpleasant for the fishermen when they find body parts in nets or lobster pots.

thecatsminion Wed 10-Oct-12 11:30:40

My FIL keeps saying he doesn't want a funeral and wants to be cremated asap with no ceremony or fuss.

The thing is, I think people actually benefit from the ritual of being able to say farewell to someone. It doesn't matter whether it's a religious service or a wake or what - I think there's a space in people's heads that when someone dies they want to get together and mark their passing. And I think, given that it's your funeral, it helps the people left behind if you give them some idea of what you might like. And let's face it, funerals are more for those still alive than the deceased.

I think YANBU not to want an expensive or elaborate funeral, but I think YABU to say that your family and friends shouldn't have any sort of gathering where they're all welcome, whether its a funeral or a memorial or whatever (I'm not sure if a holiday would work as presumably you wouldn't pay for a holiday for all your friends and extended family that might want to go to a funeral?).

WizardofOs Wed 10-Oct-12 11:30:52

We chose not to have a funeral for my dad when he died. Cardboard coffin, cremation with no service. I think he would have been pleased but I tend not to tell anyone as I have some judgey reactions as if we were being cheap (was not relevant) or he was not loved (he was very much).

lin3loo Mon 10-Mar-14 21:26:53


Because I've been told that they don't want me for medical science ..........
Because I'm fat!!!!

Talk about the final insult!!

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