OverviewThe Executor or Administrator (where a Will does not exist) are responsible for organising the funeral. Several steps need to be undertaken to:
- agree if the body is buried or cremated;
- consider the wishes stated in the Will if available;
- understand the various options and services;
- organise the funeral;
- issue invitations;
- decide whether to allow family and relatives the opportunity to visit/view the deceased; and
- inform the Funeral Director of any religious or other customary wishes.
By now, you have determined if a Will and pre-arranged funeral is in place, who the Executor or likely Administrator of the deceased estate is and have most likely engaged a Funeral Director to take the body into their custody from the place of death.
7.1 Paying for the Funeral
A funeral on average costs between $4,000 and $15,000 depending on the services requested or wished for by the deceased in their Will and the Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin.
The funeral will be paid from the deceased estate and the bank holding the deceased person’s funds may pay the invoice. Refer to Step 19 – Deal with a Deceased Person’s Bank Accounts & Finances for more information. You may want to contact the bank in the first instance to check how much money is available before organising the funeral.
Make sure you keep all correspondence, quotes, invoices and receipts relating to the funeral.
If the deceased person served in the Australian Army and was receiving a pension or payments from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, you may be eligible to receive financial support from the Department.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs:Phone: 1800 555 254
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm AEST
Post: Department of Veterans’ Affairs, GPO Box 9998, Brisbane QLD 4001
7.2 Pre-Arranged Funeral, Pre-Paid Funeral or Funeral Insurance
- pre-arranged funeral;
- pre-paid funeral;
- funeral insurance plan; or
- pre-paid burial plot,
- Funeral Home you can choose from;
- types of services are included; and
- the total budget.
In case a funeral insurance was put in place, you will need to find out from the provider if you need to pay for the funeral upfront and claim the insurance after the funeral, if you can claim the funds beforehand or if the provider pays the Funeral Director directly.
Note that providers of such arrangements may specify which Funeral Directors and what services you can and cannot use.
7.3 Choosing a Funeral Director
Before choosing a Funeral Director or Funeral Home for the funeral planning, it may be worth checking the Will again, if one is available, and discuss with the family what the known wishes were.Once you have an idea about your needs you will need to:
- contact the Funeral Director required under the pre-arranged funeral, pre-paid funeral or funeral insurance to discuss what services you require and what they can offer within the budget or restrictions of the pre-arrangement; or
- where no pre-arrangement is in place, contact three Funeral Directors to request three itemised quotes with your specific requirements to compare prices and get a better idea about the services provided as these can vary significantly.
Once you have selected your Funeral Director or Funeral Home, you will most likely be invited to discuss the funeral requirements and wishes in person. You will need to provide the deceased person’s name, age, religion and other information.
simplyEstate has partnered with several Funeral Directors across Australia to make it your search simpler and can be found to the right or below.
7.4 What Happens if no One Wants to Take Responsibility or There is no Money
If there is no money or no Executor and no Next of Kin who want to take on the responsibility to take care of the body transport, disposal and funeral arrangements, the funeral may be arranged through the government contractor. This is said to be a destitute funeral and you should contact your Local Health District.
Actions and Decisions to Complete Step Yourself
If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding the above, you may want to:
- Review the Will for specific instructions about the funeral and any pre-arrangements that may already be in place
(see Step 7.2 above);
- Discuss with the family of the deceased person and decide if the body is buried or cremated, the funeral requirements and approximate total cost that should not be exceeded;
- Contact the relevant insurance company or Funeral Director to enquire about the pre-arrangement, how it can be accessed and what inclusions and exclusions of the plan are
(see Step 7.2 above);
- Research the different options and services available depending on your requirements
(see Step 7.3 above);
- Source two to three itemised quotes from Funeral Directors for your specific requirements as agreed with the family and consideration of the Will
(see Step 7.3 above);
- Organise the funeral with help from the family and the Funeral Director;
- Inform the Funeral Director of any religious or other customary wishes
(see Step 7.3 above);
- Issue invitations and publish a notice in the newspaper;
- Decide with the family of the deceased whether or not to allow family and relatives the opportunity to visit/view the deceased person; and
- Hold the funeral to celebrate the deceased person’s life and memories.
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Cost & Effort
Reading: 20 mins
Preparing: 2-4 hrs
Completing: 3 hrs
Total: 5:20-7:20 hrs
Cost: $4,000 – $15,000
Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without experienced support.
To find out how this Process Guide works, access the instructions here.
To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.
Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.
Checklists & ToolsDownload the Testamentary Costs & Executor Expense Tracker to keep track of all testamentary, funeral and administration expenses for reimbursement once all estate funds are available.
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