Direct Cremation: The Process Explained

Direct cremation is different to a standard cremation and traditional burials. Keep reading to learn how they work.

Sara Kelly Sara Kelly
ARTICLE3 MIN READ
Direct Cremation: The Process Explained

In 2019, more than 65% of deaths in Australia ended with cremation. Between the rising cost of funerals and more people choosing to let go of traditional funeral services, cremations are becoming a more favourable option to say goodbye to loved ones.

But even still - the cost and flexibility of cremations can quickly change when you use a funeral service. So, to keep costs low and maintain the freedom of how you want your loved ones to celebrate the end of your life - consider choosing direct cremation.

What is a direct cremation?

A direct cremation is a cremation without a funeral service or attendance. Typically, this type of cremation is performed within days after someone passes away. After the cremation, the family collects the ashes, and then they can arrange a memorial service in their own time.

How do direct cremations work?

Irrespective of their planned disposition, all deceased are transported from the place of their passing to a mortuary facility where they receive essential care. If the person is to be cremated, then this will involve things like removing a pacemaker (if applicable). Any jewellery will also be carefully removed so it can be returned to the person responsible. At this time, a third party doctor will attend to verify the deceased and sight the appropriate paperwork.

Rather than an expensive casket or coffin, the deceased is placed in an inexpensive, often environmentally friendly coffin for the cremation. There’s no viewing or wake before the cremation, eliminating the need to prepare the body or embalming.

Afterwards, the ashes go in a simple urn. In some cases, you might have the option to choose an Urn in advance of the cremation. Otherwise, the ashes can be transferred from the simple cremation urn into a more decorative urn upon their return.

Learn more about eight unique things you can do with your loved one’s ashes.

What is the cost of a direct cremation?

On average, the cost of a direct cremation in Australia varies depending on your location. But in most cases, this type of disposition of the body is by far the least expensive option because there are no additional costs typical for a funeral service or ceremony.

Generally, a direct cremation includes the following:

  • Transportation and essential care
  • Cremation fee
  • Death certificates
  • Cremation certificates

When you choose direct cremation, you avoid costs such as the price of a fancy coffin or casket, the headstone, a burial plot, flowers and funeral home fees for a viewing or visitation.

Benefits of a direct cremation

In addition to direct cremations being a more affordable funeral option, they also allow you to choose a fitting farewell for yourself or a loved one. Instead of arranging a memorial service within the structure of a funeral home, you can decide when, where and how you want to say goodbye to the deceased.

Direct cremations also give you the flexibility of time. For example, after you collect the ashes, you’re not required to bury them or leave them in a final resting place within a certain amount of days, weeks or months.

Therefore, if your loved one’s final resting place requires a long road trip or air travel, you have the time to plan and arrange a memorial service that truly honours and respects these wishes. Or, if you’re not ready to say goodbye, you have the freedom to choose when the time is right.

When to choose a standard cremation

Many different factors will affect your decisions on the kind of funeral to arrange for a loved one or request for yourself.

A standard cremation is better if you prefer to celebrate their life with a traditional funeral, including a family viewing at the crematorium. A traditional cremation includes a coffin, hearse, funeral service, and extra touches such as songs, flowers, and readings. Usually, the cremation happens about half an hour after a traditional funeral service finishes.

Finally, if you want to choose an outfit for your loved one to wear on the day of cremation or include any photos, cards, or letters in the coffin, you should choose a standard cremation. However, jewellery and watches will be removed before cremation.

Arranging a direct cremation

If you decide you want a direct cremation for yourself, it’s best to let your family know your wishes and to also include them in your Will. It’s also important to specify what you want to be done with your ashes afterwards.


Choosing not to have a traditional funeral service might come as a shock to your family, so let them know that while there’s no ceremony, there’s just as much respect and care in the process as a traditional funeral service.

Here are some more helpful guides if you’re considering cremation:

If you’re interested in starting to write your Will and plan your estate, but don’t know where to start, contact the team at Willed. If you'd like to speak with a dedicated funeral planner about prepaying your funeral, please phone the team at Willed on 1300 945 533.

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