What is Direct Cremation?
If cost is the sole factor when deciding the cremation of a loved one, then “Direct Cremation” may be right for you.
Instead of a traditional funeral, there are no family or friends present. A staff member from the funeral home (not necessarily a Funeral Director) will collect the deceased person, hold the body at their premises, complete the necessary documentation and arrange transfer for cremation.
There is a lot to be said for this minimalist option, not least cost. It is cheaper mainly because there is less for a funeral home to do, with less staff.
But if you knew what was happening behind the scenes, you may wish to reconsider this option.
What Happens Behind The Scenes?
In recent years, there has been a rise in popularity for ‘Direct Cremation’ with consumers wanting the cheapest option possible for the cremation of the body.
However, despite some Funeral Directors advertising low cost cremations, the public would be “horrified” if they knew some of the things that happen behind the scenes when they request a ‘Direct Cremation”.
In a recent report by Four Corners (First posted 23 September 2019), one large funeral company in Victoria was found to be driving bodies interstate to cut costs, often without the families knowledge.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon practice. In order to increase funeral volumes and profits, some Funeral Directors are promoting ‘Direct Cremation’, as a race to the bottom, for families who can’t afford a dignified funeral. They usually take place outside of peak hours, when there is less demand at the crematorium. It can involve your love one being placed in the back of an ‘unmarked’ van, with multiple other bodies, for transfer to cremation.
Is there a better Cremation Option?
A funeral is not all about the person who died. It is for those left behind to say goodbye and shortcutting this by choosing ‘Direct Cremation’, will not help.
If you don’t want a traditional funeral but aren’t entirely comfortable with a direct cremation, some Funeral Directors offer a half-way house.
There is a common misconception that when you request a ‘Direct Cremation’ you cannot have family members is attendance. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many of our member Funeral Directors allow immediate family members to attend the cremation and say a few words in the chapel before the committal. However, family members may not get any say in the timing or location of the cremation.
If you are still worried about the cost, but want to ensure that your loved one receives the best personal care and attention, then a ‘Simple Cremation’ is what you need.
What is a Simple Cremation?
A simple cremation is a service offered by a select number of funeral directors throughout Australia. The service is provided without the typical offerings of flowers, fancy coffins and the like. Just the bare basics in order to ensure your loved one still gets a dignified farewell without the cost of a traditional funeral service.
A simple cremation can start from $3,500.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
Before you select a Funeral Director, it is important to ask the following questions:
- How will they handle for your loved one before cremation?
- Which crematorium will they transfer your loved one for cremation?; and
- Can family members attend the crematorium? If this is something you want to do speak to the funeral director see what is possible, if they are inflexible choose another one – you are the client.
When it comes to funerals, shopping around is still the best way to ensure you’re being taken care of. It’s a good idea to call around to different funeral homes in your area to inquire about the prices for direct or simple cremation.
If you don’t want to call, eziFunerals has an online process that helps you request quotes before selecting a funeral director.
Here are four things that you should pay special attention to when shopping for a cremation provider:
- Ask who owns the Funeral business: Australian consumers are not aware that the majority of local funeral director businesses are owned by big funeral chains trading on the Australian Stock Exchange. The names on signs outside the funeral homes are well known, but revenues and profits from them flow to corporate shareholders, not consumers.
- Ask for a price list: You’d think this would be voluntarily given to you, but in many cases, you’re going to have to ask for it. Some funeral homes are resistant to disclosing prices because they like to view each funeral as a unique case.
- Know what you’re getting: Find out exactly what is included in certain packages vs. what is being advertised. Ask for an itemised list so you can clearly see differences.
- Watch for hidden fees: Like any other industry, some hidden fees may in the fine print of your agreement. Some funeral directors may bill you separately for things like a death certificate and cremation permits, since these are third-party services. Others may try to up-sell certain options to you based on what they think every funeral should have.
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company.