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Funeral Costs

At a time of grieving it is difficult to think about money matters but in order to proceed with funeral arrangements you will need to make some firm decisions about costs. It is a good idea to ask someone close to you or your family who can act objectively to manage or help coordinate the fiscal responsibilities. It is common to feel the need to overspend out of a sense of duty or honour but it is important to recognise that you can have a very meaningful and tasteful ceremony without spending a fortune.

Manage Your Budget Wisely

There can be significant differences in costs between funeral directors, so just as you would do with other important buying decisions, it is important to get at least 2 estimates from different funeral directors.

Before signing agreements make sure you are given a written estimate of the cost. Use the Funeral Services Referral Service to compare quotes from pre-qualified providers. Don't feel pressured into overspending, time spent on a well thought out eulogy will be remembered more than the amount of money spent on flowers at the church or grave site.

Funeral costs are usually broken down into three parts:

Professional Fees: These fees cover the things the funeral director will do using their own resources. The fees with vary according to which funeral director you use and the level of service you choose. This covers things such as:

  • care for and preparation of the deceased
  • arranging and coordinating the service
  • attending to legal and administration matters such as death certificates, medical certificates, burial and cremation orders
  • liaising with clergy, cemeteries, florists et
  • helping organise music or musicians

Coffin or Casket: The price of the coffin or casket will depend on the quality of materials, design and construction. The difference between a coffin and a casket is the design. Coffins are tapered at the head and foot and wider at the shoulders while caskets are rectangular.

Disbursements: These are costs that the funeral director incurs on your behalf, with your consent. These costs will be charged back to you by the funeral director. Essential disbursements include a death certificate and the cost of a cremation or cometary plot. Additional items may include: clergy services, cost of flowers, transportation, pallbearers, public notices, memorials, musicians, headstones, plaques, catering etc

Paying for the Funeral

Before signing any agreement you will need to be clear how the funeral is to be paid. Whoever signs the authorisation for the funeral to be conducted is liable for the cost of the funeral. Your options will include:

  • expenses to come from the estate. If this is the case, the funeral director will be paid before any inheritance is distributed.
  • pre-paid funeral
  • pay-by-instalments
  • own resources
  • funeral benefit from club, association or government department such as the Commonwealth Department of Veterans Affairs.

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