The cost of a funeral depends largely on whether you’re after a no-frills affair, or an elaborate event. In fact, while ASIC’s MoneySmart website puts the average cost of a funeral in Australia anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000, a funeral can be as expensive as you want it to be.
Whether you’re planning something simple or going all out, considering the costs involved in a funeral sooner rather than later will help to make sure you and your family are prepared when you really need to be.
A traditional burial is generally the more expensive option, depending on culture and funeral customs. A cremation is often a little more cost-effective, with a national average cremation cost of around $6,900, compared to a national average burial cost of $7,430, according to Finder.
But remember that these are average price tags, and while some costs are unavoidable, you and your family can decide how much you want to spend by deciding which elements of a funeral are important to you.
Some people may not want to be buried or cremated, and an alternative to a traditional funeral might be a preferred option for them to explore.
This is probably the most expensive part of planning a funeral, and includes things like the casket, hearse, death certificate and the services of a professional funeral director themselves. It can also include flowers and service booklets if you want them.
Depending on the type of service you want, your funeral can be held in different venues. Those who prefer burials sometimes have a service in a church before being transported to the cemetery, whereas a cremation funeral may have the service and cremation itself occur in the same place. If you’re having a wake, you’ll need to plan for the cost of catering and maybe a venue too, depending on how many guests you’ll have.
Having a headstone or monument is something many people want so they can be better remembered after they’re gone. For a budget friendly option, you might just opt for a grave marker, while a monument or proper headstone will cost more. If you’re opting for a cremation, perhaps you’d like to have a commemorative plaque, bench, tree or similar?
That really depends on what planning has been done beforehand. If you’ve prepaid for your funeral, put savings aside to cover funeral costs, or if you’ve got a life or funeral insurance policy, that could ease the strain on your family’s budget by providing the majority, if not all, of the costs.
It is a good idea to elect beneficiaries to receive your insurance payout, otherwise, if you have no will or other declaration for a beneficiary, your funeral insurance payout can be put into your estate amount to be divided up according to the laws of intestacy Make sure you also let those people know what to expect, and how you’d like them to use the money. That way, you can leave the funeral planning up to your family, without the financial burden.
Because you usually aren’t paying for a graveside service, expensive casket or cemetery burial, cremations can cost less than a traditional burial. You might choose to combine a simple, inexpensive cremation with a personal memorial service afterwards.
When planning a funeral, don’t be afraid to ask about the cost of each element of a funeral. This way, you can make sure you’re only paying for what’s necessary or important to you, and skip extras like sealing the coffin, newspaper notices, and even flowers or a hearse if you don’t really want them.
If you’re prepared for the cost of a funeral, it will seem much less daunting, especially for your family members who need to organise the funeral. A funeral insurance policy can help with the cost of a funeral when the time comes by providing your loved ones with a lump sum to provide you with the send-off you would like.