Gransnet forums


Cremation or burial?

(95 Posts)
absent Tue 12-Feb-19 05:01:10

I have just written a new will, as the last one was massively out of date, that includes my wishes for disposal of my body. I am not sure if my wishes are legally binding in New Zealand, but I know they are binding for absentdaughter who is also my Executor. It made me wonder about other Gransnetters' choices because most of us have fewer years ahead than we have behind us.

I would guess that some don't care one way or the other. I know some have posted here and elsewhere about donating organs for the just living/nearly dying or their entire bodies for medical research. I respect their choices but I reckon my organs have been so terribly abused during my lifetime they are not much use to anyone, but absentdaughter has full permission for them to be taken if any of them are any good.

My family has always had burials and, somehow, the earth-to-earth thing seems right and natural to me. I did suggest that I could be buried upright – given the machinery available to dig deep holes nowadays – to use less space, but I doubt if that is likely to happen. Anyway, we do still have quite a lot of space here. I have specified a green "coffin" – cardboard would be best, but I don't think they are legal in New Zealand at the moment. (I am not planning to die at the moment either, so I can wait.)

I understand that cremations are probably better in a crowded world but they have always seemed a little dismissive to me, even when ashes are scattered somewhere nearby the surviving family. I feel that there is something important in a memorial place, especially as my descendants don't live where most of their ancestors are buried and might one day want to visit a family grave.

BradfordLass72 Tue 12-Feb-19 05:14:38

Quite a few funeral directors, in Auckland at least, offer 'green coffins' so they must be legal.

It's a matter of personal wish, tradition and sometimes religious motivation.

I have already purchased and decorated my own coffin and shall be cremated. My son will honour my wishes.

absent Tue 12-Feb-19 06:29:23

BradfordLass72 How lovely! I wish we had a "like" button. Green, such as wicker, is legal but I am not sure about cardboard.

ninathenana Tue 12-Feb-19 07:04:19

You've reminded me we need to up date our wills. Ours pre date the GC
I don't think they include funeral arrangements. Family know that we both want to be cremated, there have been no burials in either family in my memory. I will have a wicker coffin as did my mum, which was her choice.

Marydoll Tue 12-Feb-19 07:06:05

I too would prefer green coffin.
Co-incidentally, Dh and I were discussing wills etc, then yesterday I was chatting to an undertaker about planning a funeral and then DS phoned me about the new will he is making.
I wonder if this is a hint to get my affairs in order. 🤔

M0nica Tue 12-Feb-19 07:11:15

For most of my life, I have wanted to be cremated. All my family have been cremated


In the last couple of years, I have been thinking about burial, in a wicker coffin. Ideally in my local church graveyard or in a woodland grave.I have loved the countryside all my life, studied landscape history and the thought of becoming part of the landscape after my death is increasingly attractive.

Mind you, even if my children say they will do as I wish, once I am dead, how will I know? They may decide to cremate me and bury beneath a rosebush in the crematorium garden.

phoenix Tue 12-Feb-19 07:25:05

My boss died in January, and decided not to have any sort of coffin, opting instead for a burial shroud. Much cheaper and greener. Have trouble doing links on the tablet, but if you Google it you should find some examples.

LullyDully Tue 12-Feb-19 08:03:53

We looked into a green burial but the plots and trees were so crammed together it was depressing.

MissAdventure Tue 12-Feb-19 08:39:16

I'll go for the no coffin, no service, cheapy cremation.

Teetime Tue 12-Feb-19 08:43:28

I am with Missadventure we have decided to redraft our wills and include our wish for no funeral service at all of any kind. Simplicity are advertising the kind of arrangements we want but other funeral directors are now offering this option. We would like to be cremated as soon as possible without anyone in attendance death and anyone who wants to can remember us in their own way hopefully with a champagne toast. We want to spare our family and friends the emotional turmoil and domestic turmoil of arranging and attending a funeral. Its also unnecessarily expensive.

goldengirl Tue 12-Feb-19 10:01:43

I'll go with whatever the family decides! I would like a wicker type casket though and a celebration of life with bright colours rather than a 'black' funeral dirge

Tooyoungytobeagrandma Tue 12-Feb-19 10:12:23

I'm looking into forensic science body donation if not then a simple cremation is my choice but a huge party for the living with drink a plenty to see me off doing what I enjoyed in my youth dancing, singing and drinking (hope the mourners are up to it) grin

Barmeyoldbat Tue 12-Feb-19 10:13:59

Funny this should come up as we have an appointment early afternoon to discuss making new wills and a few other things to put our affairs in order. Also this is going to be the year we finally sort out the loft and photos. We have both talked about what we would do if the other went first and both of us want simply no fuss cremations

nettyandmasey Tue 12-Feb-19 10:17:19

I have a letter with my wishes written down. I did joke with my children after attending a funeral saying I had just possibly spent some of their inheritance as I wanted a wicker coffin. It’s been altered over the years, originally done when children were small, as I’m a single mum and wanted them to have a voice. Having lost my partner at 32 he was 34 and he had no plans written down, I felt it was important. Also got my mum to stipulate her wishes, She has remarried since my dad died and I would want her ashes to be reunited with my dad, but obviously my lovely step dad may have other thoughts, if still with us. Grief is not the time to have those conversations. She does want to be with my dad. My family are ones that tend graves where as Step dads don’t, so I needed to clarify her wishes.

CarlyD7 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:18:02

It's such a loving thing to do - to write wills and keep them up to date. I cannot understand people who put off doing it and then their families are left to clear up the mess (sometimes leading to major falling out amongst members). Can I also plead with us all to do a Funeral Plan. Having had to do this for both my parents, who died within a short time of each other, it was heartbreaking. It would have been SO much easier on all of us if they'd written out what they wanted (down to the music and the readings). It's such a struggle to make these decisions when your heart is sore and other families members have different ideas to yours. Totally unnecessary (and cruel) to leave families to deal with this in the midst of their grief.

sodapop Tue 12-Feb-19 10:22:38

We are in a quandary now as we were part way through drafting new wills to avoid the dreaded French inheritance laws but not sure now due to B****t.

SueDoku Tue 12-Feb-19 10:23:26

Interestingly, there was a thread on Mumsnet awhile ago on which a crematorium worker answered questions (It's in the AMA section). It was really interesting and informative - not least the fact that she recommended the cheapest coffin - and not wicker - as they burn more quickly and hotter, and so give a better 'result'... Not everyone's cup of tea as light reading, but I found it fascinating and reassuring.

paddyann Tue 12-Feb-19 10:23:32

I'm the opposite of youAbsent I dont believe the body is important at all when we die.I dont visit graves or lay flowers because the person I knew and loved left when their heart stopped beating .We stipulated our bodies going for scientific research and a private cremation afterwards .Our children know thats what we want and will do as we wish.

They can have a memorial party if they want ,thats up to them and funerals are for the living not the dead ,so its their choice.I dont want headstones or plaques for people to weep over I prefer them to remember me how they knew me not go and talk to a piece of ground .Odd I know but then my opinions often are to others

SillyNanny321 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:26:24

My son knows what i want, a wicker or cardboard coffin, cremation then my ashes treated & put on a coral reef to help the reefs to repair the growth that has been lost. I love the sea so this will be ideal. Also told him if he doesnt do it i'll come back & haunt him Lol!!

Jane43 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:27:32

We need to update ours too. I did read somewhere that some solicitors are participating in a free will writing service in March. I will see what I can find out about it.

Jane43 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:29:20

This is the link.

Annaram1 Tue 12-Feb-19 10:30:29

Hi all, when my dear husband died 3 years ago I arranged his funeral with the Co op. In accordance with the customs of his family (he was Indian) we agreed to have a cremation. The coffin was delivered to the Catholic Church of which we were members to be there overnight. The family visited the church in the evening and talked about his life etc. while sitting with the coffin. Next day we had the funeral service at the church, with the family sharing their memories and eulogies with the congregation. It was nice that the church was full. After the service the coffin was taken a couple of miles to the crematorium where we had another little service just for us, his family. I had chosen Elvis music, the religious songs such as "Oh Lord my God,,," Then we headed back to church and everybody had a nice buffet in the church hall. This funeral plus flowers, burial plot for his ashes, an engraved plaque, etc. was not cheap. It set me back nearly £8000. I don't know how much it would have been just for the cremation. But as my husband had been a faithful Catholic and took part in various church activities and was popular there, I felt the church service was necessary. I will go to the crematorium on Valentines Day. I miss him,

LinkyPinky Tue 12-Feb-19 10:31:03

I like SillyNanny’s plan. Cremation is catastrophic for the environment and we will run out of space for burials, even woodland burials. In the U.K. I know two people who have buried their loved ones on their own land. Apparently this is legal, although I guess you’d have to check for watercourses and so on. Personally, I would like to be recycled in some way. Perhaps I could be composted.

Aepgirl Tue 12-Feb-19 10:32:27

Yes, we are allowed a cardboard coffin in UK. I have a friend who is a priest who conducted a funeral service where the coffin was cardboard. It was a burial and the weather was awful - torrential rain, and the funeral directors were really concerned about the chances of the coffin falling apart before it was lowered into the grave. My friend said that he ‘hurried the burial a little’.

gillyg Tue 12-Feb-19 10:40:18

I have buried my Dad's ashes in a Natural Burial Ground which is like a nature reserve, it's beautiful. My Mum will be joining him when her time comes. They always loved being outside and their garden so it seems right. And I have somewhere lovely to go and visit if I want to.