Arranging the send-off of a loved one can be a challenging experience. Amid grief, you need to ensure that a variety of issues are taken care of including the newspaper notice, permits, burial plot, casket, headstone, flowers, transport, catering, morgue fees, and funeral director fees. This means that a substantial concern has to be the cost involved.
The average cost of a funeral in Sydney can vary greatly depending on what choices you make. This can include if you opt for a burial or cremation, what is included in the service, and even your choice of suppliers. Not to mention that with inflation on the rise, even the same kind of funeral that was had a few years ago may end up being much more expensive now.
Generally speaking, funerals can cost anywhere from $5,000 for basic options. If you are planning a funeral and have a limited budget to work with, then you will need to consider what your options are and go with what suits your situation best.
Basic funerals are recommended by funeral directors where financial resources are limited. they may also be referred to as a budget or economy funeral. To minimise costs, this option does not allow for any ceremonies or mourners to be present at any stage.
The written quote for this package may include:
- Death certificate, medical certificates, and permits
- Storage of the body at the mortuary
- Preparation of the body for burial or cremation
- Most affordable casket choice
- Transport of the body and casket
- Burial or cremation
Caskets or coffins can also vary greatly when it comes to price. The most basic options can cost as little as $600 while premium choices can be priced from as much as $15,000. So, again, depending on your budget, you will have a wide variety to choose from.
Note that even for cremations, the body can only be placed in the crematory while in a coffin. The coffin however only needs to be combustible.
Preparing the body
Embalming is not required whether the body is to be buried or cremated. However, the funeral home will likely recommend it if the body is to be displayed for viewing, if the body is to be buried above ground in a mausoleum or vault, or if it is to be transported over a long distance such as for repatriation. If the body is coming from outside Australia, it will likely be legally required that it is embalmed before being transported. Otherwise, the decision to embalm or not is generally left to the family.
On average, the cost of embalming can range between $600 to over $1,500. The amount will depend on such factors as location, choice of the funeral home and extent of embalming required to make the body look presentable. Embalming can help improve the appearance of the body for open casket viewing.
Burial vs Cremation
Cremations are more affordable than burials. Depending on location, they can range from about $3,000 to $7,000. Part of the affordability comes from being able to easily afford what comes after the cremation. The ashes are placed in an urn that the family can choose to keep wherever they like.
Burials are more expensive due to the requirement of a burial plot, cemetery fees, and the headstone. The location of the plot can also be a major cost factor. Some premium burial plots in Sydney can cost as much as $19,000. However, for many families, a burial is preferable as it allows them to have a designated site they can visit and remember their loved ones.
How to Minimise Funeral Costs?
The top recommendation lies in opting for a basic funeral with the cremation rather than burial. The fewer frills that are involved, the less money that will need to be spent. This also applies to your choice of casket, which funeral homes tend to have a variety of choices at different price points available.
You also need to consider your choice of a funeral home. Even with the same range of services on offer, you may find that the pricing will vary from one location to another. Visit or even just call up various funeral directors to get quotes and figure out what best suits your budget.
Self-service can also help to cut down on costs. There are a few things you can legally do on your own. You can hold the wake at your home rather than hire the funeral home. You can also arrange for transport amongst family and friends with vehicles rather than hire. Even caskets can be sourced from outside the funeral home. You can also announce the death and funeral via social media or text rather than publish a newspaper notice.
Be sure to also check on what kind of government assistance you may qualify for. If the deceased or partner receive a government allowance, there may be benefits that apply. If the deceased was a veteran, there may also be help available from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
It is also worthwhile to consult your insurer about funeral insurance coverage. This cover can ensure there is a lump sum payout made in the event of death to cover funeral costs and other related expenses. This can be a big help to the family at this stressful time.
For seniors, those with terminal illnesses, and more, prepaid funerals can be another good option. Not only will the funeral costs be covered, but the funeral arrangements will already have been decided upon by the dearly departed. This ensures you get the send-off you want.
Funerals, much like weddings, can vary greatly in terms of costs. The more basic a funeral you choose, the less you will need to spend. However, if you want to arrange an elaborate send-off for your loved one, then be prepared to foot a much bigger bill. Consult with your funeral director who can present you with options that will fit your budget and the range of services you want to be incorporated.