Funeral Costs in Australia: How much are you going to pay?
While there are lot of issues to think about such as personal preferences, timing, and location, the most important one is usually financial. Although there is no clear answer on the exact cost of a funeral, the price generally falls within the range of $4,000 to $15,000.
The breakdown of funeral expenses
Within this broad price range are a variety of options that will ultimately come down to your budget and preferences. In addition to giving you a general idea about the cost of a funeral, this article will cover some other important issues:
- The breakdown of funeral services
- How to cover the costs of a funeral
- General advice when purchasing
Breakdown of a funeral
To give you a better idea of what a funeral may cost, its a good idea to look at the breakdown of services that are associated with a funeral. Below are some of the different aspects and general costs associated with a funeral. This will help you decide on what options are the best fit for your family and likely budget you will need.
Tip: Often on funeral director websites you can see a list of services available and their costs. This is the ideal place to start researching for the most suitable funeral director. This will help you design a funeral service that’s both within your budget and a fitting tribute.
Professional and Service Fees
These fees are paid directly to the funeral director, who is responsible for the planning and conducting of the whole funeral. Although it may vary between funeral providers, professional services generally include:
- Having professional staff available 24 hours a day to provide advice and assistance.
- Transportation of the deceased to the funeral home.
- Making sure the funeral ceremony is catered to the needs of the family and runs appropriately
- Organising with any third parties such as clergies, florists, cemeteries, crematoriums, etc
- Dealing with the necessary legal documents such as death certificates, burial and cremation orders, etc.
- Helping the family deal with grief and referring them to counsellors and support groups.
Burial Vs Cremation
One of the bigger decisions around the planning of a funeral is the choice between a burial or cremation. While burials remain the traditional option, they are significantly more expensive than cremations. For example, in Rookwood cemetery NSW, a plot (the land) in the Jewish section costs $7,500. Each cemetery (And possibly sections within that cemetery) will have their own set of prices, so make sure you enquire directly with them.
With scarce land and rising burial costs, cremation is gaining increasing popularity among urban dwellers in Australia. Depending on your choices and location, a cremation will cost between $2000 to $6000.
Of course money isn’t the only factor when deciding between a burial or cremation. Practical, religious, and cultural factors all come into play.
Coffins & Caskets
Another significant cost of burial is the price of a coffin or casket. Coffins are tapered at the end with a wider top, much like the shape of a human. Caskets will be rectangular in shape and look the same from the top to bottom. In terms of price, coffins are around the $800 to $3,000 mark, while caskets are in the range of $1,000-$40,000. Like any product, price will vary because of material quality and complexity of the design.
Third Party Costs
Some services or options may not be directly provided by your funeral director. However they can still easily be arranged for, with the funeral director likely to have a network of reliable providers. If you choose any of these options, they will be charged as an extra ‘third party cost’. The funeral director will then coordinate and liaise with the provider to make sure everything is delivered smoothly.
Third party options are why funeral costs can vary so much. A few extra choices can see the price of a funeral go to the top end of the spectrum. Always have a budget in mind and be sure to ask exactly what each option is going to cost.
In general, third party costs will usually include:
- Venue hire (If an outside place is chosen)
- Cemetery or Cremation costs (See above)
- Clergy or Celebrant fees
- Musician or band fees
- Death notices or obituaries in newspapers
- Flower arrangements
- Catering services
Covering funeral costs
Funerals can be an expensive and unexpected cost if not thought about in advance. It makes sense to have some sort of funeral payment plan figured out before its too late. Here is a brief outline of some of the most popular options available to pay for a funeral in advance.
– Pre-paid funeral plans
As the name suggests, a pre-paid funeral allows you to choose and pay for a funeral in advance. Apart from having a say about your funeral service, the biggest advantage of a pre-paid funeral is being able to lock in a fixed price that won’t rise in the future. This protects you from the rising costs of funeral services.
– Funeral bonds
Funeral bonds are another option to help you invest money in order to cover expenses down the line. This option is suitable for someone that doesn’t want to be involved in any of the funeral service plans.
– Funeral insurance
With funeral insurance, you pay ongoing premiums (either fortnightly or monthly) in order to cover funeral expenses in the future. Getting cover is quick and easy, however you need to think about how much these ongoing premiums will rise in the future.
Covering funeral costs
- Stay within your budget: Before you make any quick choices, make sure to take your time and allow space for you to make rational decisions, not emotional selections. Have a budget in mind before you make any choices.
- Ask for a quote: Get the Funeral Director to provide an itemised quote – which breaks down all of the costs and services. They are required to this under the Funeral Goods and Services Regulation (2008).
- Speak to a few funeral directors: Speaking to multiple funeral directors is probably the last thing you want to deal with at this distressing time. However, with the cost of a funeral being so expensive, its a good idea to speak to a few places. If you can, bring someone along who can take in all the information and provide you with advice.
- Pay attention to extras: When reviewing any quote, make sure you are clear on what services are included in the price, and what is an additional cost. While these extras might be a nice touch, they can also blow out your budget.