This really is a cost-saving option and is sometimes referred to as cheap funerals do it yourself style or cheapest possible funeral. In practise, not many people would want, or be able to get involved in carrying out a funeral at home or transport a body to the cemetery, crematorium or burial ground.
If you are planning a cremation then you will normally need to pay for and have two doctor’s signatures on the medical certificates. If a post mortem is to be held then the coroner will issue an interim certificate and there will be no charge. This interim certificate will enable you to register the death. However, the full death certificate is not normally released until the coroner’s inquiry is finished. There are no doctor’s fees required for burial, just the doctor’s medical certificate. Once you have the certificate/s you must register the death within five days at the deceased’s local registry office. You will then be issued with a death certificate and a green form for burial or cremation. This form is handed into the cemetery or crematorium office before, or at the time of the funeral.
Before you visit the registry office it is best to telephone them to enquire what paperwork you will need to bring.
If the death is at home and a post mortem is not needed then you can store the body at home, however, this is generally for a week maximum and in a cool area. A week is not that long and in more built-up residential areas or over Christmas or bank holidays it may well not be possible to arrange and have the funeral within a week. If a post mortem is required, then the hospital will store the body for you until you are ready to collect.
If the deceased died at home and had bedsores, ulcers, infections, septicaemia, was obese, or was on cancer drugs, the decomposition may well be more rapid within a week. It is for these reasons that it is often a good practice to have the body stored at local undertakers. This will, of course, be chargeable, for both collection and delivery back to you, along with daily refrigerated storage charges. If the body cannot be refrigerated and is placed in chilled storage then you may have to pay additionally to have the body embalmed. Contrary to a lot of belief, you do not have to embalm the body of someone who has died from different cancer types. It would be best to contact a few different local funeral directors to enquire about their fees and storage facilities. Unfortunately, most natural burial sites do not accept embalmed bodies due to the toxic chemicals used in the embalming process.
If the deceased has passed away in hospital, then normally the hospital will store the body for a reasonable length of time while you arrange the funeral. If you have suitable transport, or hire something suitable you can collect the body from the hospital. The mortuary staff can sometimes dress the deceased in what clothes you would like, they can also place the body in the coffin. You would need to contact the mortuary staff first to see if they can dress the deceased and how much notice they need. Normally you would collect the deceased the night before or in the morning of the funeral if there was time. You can of course also take the coffin straight to the crematorium; the staff will take the coffin for cremation. You may need coffin bearers to put the coffin in the chapel of rest if you are having a service. It would be best to check with the crematorium before the funeral. You must of course inform the crematorium that you are conducting the funeral and not an undertaker. There are many things which you cannot place in a coffin as they could damage the cremator. For example, pacemakers explode and often blast a hole in the wall of the cremator, glass objects can also explode. You would need to pay an undertaker to remove a pacemaker or anything else that could damage the cremator. A home funeral is often regarded as the cheapest funeral possible, and often the most personal.
If you were to have a morning cremation this often saves 50% of the cost from later day time cremations.
You could arrange for someone to conduct the service, or to save more read your own service.
Burial plots can alter enormously in cost, needless to say, that more rural burial plots are cheaper than city ones.
There are contact details listed under The Natural Death Centre. They can inform you of natural burial grounds in the UK, which can offer a rural, often very peaceful location.
Home Garden Burial
If you wanted to completely save burial costs then you could arrange a home garden burial. Firstly it would be best to check with your local authority (council) in case bye-laws or regulations have recently changed. You would need to own the garden land, and not be mortgaged. You will also need to comply with the relevant regulations and bye-laws etc. You may need various permission/s. For instance, your garden may then be classed as a burial site. There are also regulations not to contaminate groundwater, by not burying the body within a certain distance to running/standing water, field drains, ditches, a well, borehole or spring etc. It would be best to check the groundwater regulations, including how deep the grave must be by contacting The Environment Agency.
You do not have to purchase a coffin. A shroud or blanket is fine. However, you must own your garden land. You should also contact a solicitor in case there is a covenant on the property deeds that may not allow a burial. A record of the grave must be kept, and an amendment would need to be added to the property deeds. A garden burial may affect your property resale value.
Digging a grave can be dangerous in case of collapse. If you do not want to dig or fill in the earth, then you can employ paid services. There are details listed under nationwide Grave digging service.