Research shows that 34% of people arranging a funeral would have concerns over whether the deceased would have wanted a burial or cremation1. This often leads to much deliberation between family members and has even been known to cause family disputes. Relatively few of us actually get round to discussing our funeral wishes with friends and family, but by making your arrangements in advance, you can ensure there is no doubt as to which type of funeral you would prefer.

Here is some information about both options which you may find useful when deciding what’s right for you.


Cremation cannot occur until the cause of death is established. The crematorium usually requires five forms, signed by the executor or next of kin, the doctor, the crematorium’s medical referee and the funeral director. After cremation, the ashes of the deceased are given to the family. Families are often unsure what to do with these ashes, so it’s a good idea to specify this when setting up your pre-paid funeral plan. People usually request that the ashes are either:

  • Scattered in the crematorium’s garden of remembrance or in place specified by you,
  • Kept by your family, or
  • Interred in a grave.


Burial can take place after the funeral director hands the green certificate from the register office to the cemetery registrar. Here are some points to consider if you choose a burial:

  • If there is an existing grave, for example a family plot, and there is room for a further interment, this is the simplest option.
  • If a new grave is needed, this can be arranged by the funeral director or with the cemetery directly. New graves tend to be costly and there may also be restrictions on the type of memorial or headstone that can be placed on the grave, depending on the church authority. 

For more information and for assistance in deciding whether a burial or cremation is right for you, please speak to your local funeral director.

1. OnePoll online survey of 1,000 men and women aged 50 and above on behalf of Ecclesiastical Planning Services, November 2017.

Your choice of funeral