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Common Questions

How do I choose the right funeral director?

When choosing a funeral director a number of factors should be considered. As with any professional, you should weigh up their qualifications, fees, facilities and ability to cater to your specific needs.

For more information, see our How to Choose the Right Funeral Director page.

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral can vary depending on the services required. Some of the charges involved include:

  • Professional service Fees,
  • coffin or casket costs
  • and out of pocket expenses paid by the funeral company (called disbursements) — such as cemetery costs, offering to the celebrant, flowers, advertising and catering.

For more information, see our Funeral Costs page.

Can I plan my funeral in advance?

Yes. We have a number of options for planning a funeral ahead of time. You can organise your funeral and pay for it using a funeral bond. You can also just organise your funeral and allow your estate to take care of the cost.

For details on this, see our Funeral Planning page.

What do you do when someone dies?

Usually, the first thing to do when someone dies is to contact their doctor. Their doctor will generally issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

For full details on what to do, visit our What To Do When Someone Dies page.

Will I have to pay for the funeral upfront?

No, you don’t have to pay upfront. The account, unless requested, is not issued until three or four weeks after the funeral service.

For more information on funeral payments, see our Funeral Costs page.

Whether to View?

The decision as to whether to view the deceased or not is one which is extremely personal and sometimes, will not be made until moments before the casket is sealed.  Many family members find that the opportunity to sit with the deceased and say a final goodbye to be of great comfort, while others prefer to remember the deceased as they were. 

Is a viewing open to all?

It is the family’s decision as to whether a viewing is open to friends or restricted to close family members. The viewing, or open casket as it is sometimes called, may take place in a private area just prior to the service, or at a time or times in the days leading up to the funeral. Unless required for cultural or religious reasons, the casket is always closed during the funeral service.

Can a funeral be arranged to a budget?

Within reason, it is possible to arrange a funeral service match a budget.  BYO catering; bringing flowers from the garden; having a family friend speak rather than a celebrant or using a transfer casket rather than a polished casket are just some of the options. Your funeral consultant will be able to provide you with more.  

Who is responsible for paying for the funeral?

If the deceased does not have a pre-paid funeral, generally their estate will be responsible for covering the funeral expenses.  If there are insufficient funds in the estate the responsibility will then fall to the Next of Kin. Should there be no Next of Kin, then the person who takes responsibility for making the funeral arrangements will be asked to sign a document accepting responsibility for the payment of expenses.

Is there financial help available?

Centrelink offers some financial assistance for funerals through bereavement payments.  To read about eligibility or start the claiming process click here.  The Department of Veteran Affairs also offer a benefit to veterans.  It also pays to check the terms of private health insurance policies as some contain a funeral allowance. 

Who attends a graveside committal?

When a church or chapel service is followed by a committal service conducted at a crematorium or graveside generally the funeral notice will outline who is welcome to attend.  Those which state the service will be followed by a Private Committal are generally restricted to family.

Should young children attend a funeral?

Like so many questions surrounding funerals, there is no definitive answer to this question.  Research suggests that most children cope with death better than adults and that attendance at the funeral further helps them cope with the grieving process.  That being said, it is a question that should be answered on an individual basis.