Choosing a funeral home
In the best-case scenario, your loved one may have funeral arrangements in place. Therefore, it is worth checking the will to see if there are any details regarding funeral proceedings.
If there are no instructions, you will need to firstly choose a funeral home. There are many to consider and pricing does vary quite significantly.
Often, cost will play a role in the funeral home selection process, so it is worth sourcing a few different quotes. Also, the style and level of service personalisation differs, so consider which funeral home can best suit your needs. It is also worth getting a personal recommendation from a friend who may have had a good experience with a funeral home in the local area.
Planning the funeral
Once you have decided on a funeral home, it’s time to start making the arrangements.
Funeral directors are highly experienced working with grieving friends and families, and will generally be very sensitive, comforting, and helpful.
They will carefully go through the following with you:
- Plans for the funeral, burial, or cremation.
- The cost.
- Payment options.
They will also take care of things like:
- Arranging the transfer of your loved one’s body.
- Registering the death with the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry in your state or territory so a death certificate can be issued.
- Preparing the ceremony.
- Consulting with religious community members or a celebrant.
- Organising a wake or event after the service, unless of course you choose to do this independently e.g., at your home.
Friends and family often send flowers to remember and celebrate your loved one’s life.
Something you may wish to consider is asking for donations instead of flowers. This can be organised through an online tribute page via many charities and health organisations e.g., Dementia Australia, Cancer Council and The Heart Foundation to name a few.
This is common practice, with funds going towards health research or a cause that was close to your loved one’s heart. It is of course a very personal decision, so whatever feels right for you is the best option.
Financial arrangements for the funeral
It’s no secret that funerals can be expensive. For this reason, it’s advisable to investigate whether:
- Any financial arrangements for the funeral were made before your loved one’s death.
- They had money set aside in a bank account to pay for the funeral.
- There are any sickness, accident, life, superannuation or private health insurance policies that could contribute funds towards the funeral.
- They were a returned service person or belonged to a club, pensioner association, or trade union. If so, they may be entitled to payments to assist with funeral costs.
- Centrelink is able to offer a possible bereavement payment or allowance.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to enlist a friend or family member to help research these options.
Registering the death
Once the death is registered with the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry in your state or territory, they will issue a death certificate. As mentioned above, if you are having a funeral, the Funeral Director will usually do this on your behalf.
You will need this certificate to handle matters pertaining to their estate, along with claiming any insurance, superannuation or other items.
As this is a very important document, you should make copies and have them certified by a Justice of the Peace. You can usually find a Justice of the Peace at your local library, police station or shopping centre.