Lots of people are worried about how their family will pay for the cost of a funeral when the time comes. Nobody wants to add that stress to what is often already a very stressful time. So what are the options to ensure the funds for your funeral are available when they’re needed?

(If you need to pay for a funeral right now and are worried about the cost, please see our article How to Get Help to Pay for a Funeral‘)

Step 1 – Do a budget

The average funeral in Australia costs around $7,000 or more through a traditional provider. Gathered Here has a very detailed breakdown of average costs around the country for different types of funerals.

However, funerals do not have to cost this much. The quality of a funeral comes down to the care and thought of the people involved with it and whether it was an authentic reflection of the person who died, not the price tag. 

You can use the Gathered Here list as a guide, or you can do detailed research. To work out what’s right for you, you need to ask some questions.

Would you like to be buried or cremated?
Most cemeteries and crematorium publish price lists, like this one from Canberra Memorial Parks.

Do you want a funeral director?
A funeral director can do as much or as little as you require them to do. If your family wants to care for you at home after you die and is able to transport you safely, you may not need a funeral director at all. You can ask any funeral director about their pricing without committing to using them.

What sort of coffin or container would you like?
Our post on How to Choose a Coffin may help.

What sort of ceremony or service would you like?
If you’d like it in a house of worship, your local faith leader will be able to help you with costs. Secular chapels are also available for hire, and don’t forget your home or a park can also be options. Will you have a professional celebrant, or a family member? Music? All these service providers will have price lists available.

Do you want a wake?
Some people even combine the ceremony and wake into one celebration at their venue of choice. Perhaps you have a favourite club you’d like everyone to come to. Think about whether you’d like everyone to bring something to share or if you’d like to provide any food or drink.  

Do you want ‘extras’?
Newspaper notices, thank you cards, hire cars, flowers, catering, embalming, viewings… the list of things you might be offered is long! But nothing is mandatory, and often there are ways to do this yourself or enlist family and friends to help. Or maybe your idea of the perfect funeral is free-flowing food and drinks for hours that professionals provide and clean up after! It’s up to you.

Step 2 – Secure your funds

There are many companies that offer either funeral insurance or pre-paid funerals. However, at Tender, we believe the best option is to simply set up a savings account with your bank. Here’s why.

Funeral insurance is usually set up as a regular payment that guarantees you a set amount. However, it can often cost more than you receive in benefits, as these articles from Moneysmart and Choice explain.

Pre-paid funerals are where you purchase your funeral in advance from a funeral director. The downside of these is they are very rarely refundable and you find yourself locked into a provider. Tender does not offer pre-paid funerals.

However, there are some pre-paid options worth considering.

Pre-paid plots can be a good choice, if you’re sure you know where you want your body or ashes to be interred, or if you want to ensure that more than one person can be interred in the same family plot.  But do make sure your family knows which memorial park you’ve arranged this with!

Superannuation or Life Insurance plans often have a facility to make a payment in the event of a funeral, so make sure you know what you’re already covered for.

Step 3 – Share your plan with your family or friends

It’s no good having a fund ready to go and a list of what to spend it on if you haven’t told the people who will need to carry out your plans for you after your death! Communication is key. If you’re not comfortable sharing everything up front, you can always let them know that you’ve made a plan, and where it is – “In the event of my death, there’s an envelope in the top drawer” kind of thing. That way, they’ll be able to find everything they need when the time comes.

 

At the end of the day, whether you’ve arranged for a portion of the costs or to cover everything, thinking about your funeral and planning for it is a wonderful gift to your family or friends. 

 

Key takeaways:
  • Identifying a budget gives you confidence in your savings goal
  • Savings accounts are often better than specific funeral plans or insurance
  • Share your plans with the people who will carry them out for you!

 

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