When faced with having to make funeral arrangements, most people have no prior experience in organising such an event, and little knowledge of what to do.
Pre-planning or pre-paying for your funeral can protect your loved ones from unnecessary stress related to making difficult decisions at an emotional time and relieve them from any financial burden.
Funeral Directors can alleviate this burden for you by guiding you through the planning process, explaining the products and services available and the costs involved in options such as:
A Pre-Arranged Funeral is one where the family and Funeral Director establish the funeral requisites and services which they may utilise in the future. Information that may be required include: the contact person after your death, important personal information including marriage(s), children and parental details, which will be recorded on a death certificate. Decisions can also be made regarding the location of the funeral service, burial or cremation options, nominated clergy or celebrant to conduct the service, and personal wishes including readings, pallbearers, flowers, donation requests and music. Payment of the funeral is made when the service is conducted.
A Funeral Bond is a specialised investment which enables an individual to accumulate funds to meet future funeral expenses. An investment in a Funeral Bond is similar to a life insurance policy, whereby the benefit becomes payable on death. The benefits must be used to meet an individual’s funeral expenses. A Funeral Bond is an investment towards the cost of a funeral and by itself does not guarantee against rising funeral prices.
Funeral Insurance Policies are designed to meet unexpected funeral costs and are only to be paid upon death. Policies only cover death by accident in the first twelve months. When you first take out funeral insurance it may cost less than a cup of coffee a week, but some premiums rise and accumulate as you age. It’s important that you read the fine print and consider your options before making a commitment. We encourage people to ensure they’re making informed decisions on how to pre-finance their funeral by exploring all the options. Do your research and don’t take just one person’s word for it.
The money you pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is held secure by an independent entity such as a friendly society or trustee company and is properly invested and safeguarded until such time as the funeral services under the Pre-Paid Funeral Plan are required. Only then will the funds be released to the Funeral Director.
There are two ways to make payments for a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan. You can pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan in a lump sum or your Funeral Director may give you the option to pay by instalments. This is usually arranged through a direct debit or booklet payment system.
If you move interstate you can rearrange your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan accordingly. Your Funeral Director will be able to assist you with the transferring of your Plan to another Funeral Director. However, prices cannot necessarily be guaranteed on a transfer, as there are price differences between many country and city areas. The funds are required to stay in the secure investment you have arranged and can be accessed by the new Funeral Director at the time of the funeral.
A Funeral Director should be notified immediately. They should be able to arrange for the transport of the deceased and attend to any statutory or customs requirements. In these circumstances there is usually an additional fee for the transportation of the deceased. Should the death and funeral occur overseas or interstate, the funds in the Pre-Paid Funeral Plan will be paid to the estate.
The money you pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is held by an independent entity and therefore is completely protected. It is invested in a separate fund in your name. It is not accessible by your Funeral Director until your funeral service has been provided. In the unlikely event that your original Funeral Director is no longer in business, you can organise to have the Plan transferred to another Funeral Director.
Pre-planning or pre-paying a funeral can be completed through an appointment with a funeral director of your choice. Alternatively you can visit the Your Goodbye website and download the Your Goodbye booklet to start recording your wishes today.
New South Wales
Funeral Funds Act 1979
Funeral Funds Regulations 2011
NSW Office of Fair Trading
Tel: 13 32 20
Funeral Benefit Business Act 1982
Funeral Benefit Business Regulations 2010
QLD Office of Fair Trading
Tel: 13 13 04
Fair Trading Regulations 2011
(Pre-Paid Funerals Code of Practice)
SA Office of Consumer & Business Affairs
Tel: 08 8204 9777
Prepaid Funerals Act 2004
TAS Office of Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading
Tel: 1300 654 499
Funerals Act 2006
VIC Consumer Affairs
Tel: 1300 558 181
Fair Trading (Prepaid Funerals Code of Practice)
WA Consumer Protection
Tel: 1300 304 054
Note: In the territories there is no specific legislation relating to Pre-Paid Funerals – individual pre-paid contracts stipulate the manner in which the funds are to be invested on behalf of the client.