Press release -

​Direct cremations to double in the next five years

With soaring funeral costs and changing attitudes, 1 in 5 people in the UK will choose direct cremation instead of a traditional funeral in the next five years says a leading industry expert.

Direct cremation is a simple dignified cremation - but without the pomp and ceremony of a funeral service. A cheaper fuss-free alternative, direct cremation appeals to those looking to save money but, more frequently, families wanting to avoid the upset and worry of a service at a church or crematorium.

Ashley Shepherd MD and founder of later life planning specialists, Over50choices and pioneer of UK's first prepaid direct cremation comparison service explains:“Families are turning to direct cremation for a number of reasons, embracing the idea of separating the cremation process from the ceremony, leaving them free to say goodbye in a way that suits them - be it a drink down the local pub or a perhaps a family gathering when scattering the ashes.

“Those on tighter budgets see it as more affordable option. You can purchase a prepaid direct cremation plan that will guarantee to freeze all of your costs at today's prices from as little as £1,600 whereas a traditional prepaid plan costs between £3,300 to £4,300 - so there are considerable savings to be made.

Andwith UK funeral costs currently averaging £4,078 it's not surprising to see why they are increasing in popularity. In fact, in the US, direct cremations accounted for 37% of all cremations in 2016.

“Whatever the reason, the demand for direct cremation is growing and accounting for 1 in 10 cremations in the UK. The death of rock star David Bowie and writer Anita Brookner in 2016 – two celebrities who chose a direct cremation - highlighted this as an option and,over the last few years’ we have seen a noticeable amount of interest in prepaid direct cremation plans.

“Figures showed that in 2017, 10% of cremation funerals held did not include a ceremony or service. We expect that by 2023, 20% of all cremations will be direct cremations.”

Mr. Shepherd adds that with the government recently announcing a review of how traditional funeral plans are sold and clarity of information provided, consumers are now becoming more mindful when purchasing, which can only be a good thing.

As with buying a more traditional funeral plan, there are subtle differences between direct cremation plans currently on the market that could mean your family has more to pay when the time comes. Therefore it is important to understand exactly what services you are getting for your money – which is why we believed it was important to launch our new direct cremation comparison service.

He goes on to say: "When it comes to funeral planning, we now offer visitors to our website a complete choice, whether that's down to affordability or personal preference.

“Attitudes to funerals are definitely changing with an increasing number of people opting out of the traditional route, instead selecting the services that best reflect how they want to be remembered; which is why direct cremation and the flexibility and freedom it offers appeals”.

Over50choices is the first company to offer a comparison of traditional and direct cremation prepaid plans to meet the needs of our changing cultural lifestyles. Please visit: for more information.


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Launched in June 2013, is an online comparison site specialising in funeral planning and life insurance for the Over 50s. We offer a wide range of personal finance products and utility services. Quite simply we give you 'choices'!

Our objective is to present simple, easy to read information and guides that help you put plans in place and make more informed financial decisions.

We are Independent, meaning that we are not owned by any corporate companies and offer products and services we believe can help make a difference.

In addition to our range of insurance, energy and financial products, we focus significantly on funeral planning; a subject we believe is of great importance. We appreciate that although death is the one thing we all have in common; it is not a subject we like to talk about. But by talking about it and taking time to put plans in place, you really can make life that little bit easier for those you care about, both financially and emotionally.

Through our combined experience of over 50 years in financial services and more latterly life insurance and funeral plans for the over 50s, we can provide you with the widest funeral planning choices in the UK. Whether you want information on arranging a funeral, making a will or personalising a funeral service, or you want to compare and buy a funeral plan, we can help you with it all.

We are proud to say that we are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who regulate the financial services industry in the UK. This means that you can be sure we comply with their rules and guidance and that our customers are treated fairly. As an authorised company, we can not recommend or give advice on specific products but we can provide information to guide you through your options and help you make the right decision for you.

If you are looking for more guidance about specific products, some of our partners are authorised to give advice and are on hand to help. We will make it clear on our website where this service is available.

Press contacts

Ashley Shepherd

Press contact Managing Director