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How to Organise a Prepaid Funeral Plan in Australia

Learn everything you need to know about a prepaid funeral in Australia. Our comprehensive guide covers everything from related services to arrange, to simple paperwork, hidden costs and why the peace of mind from a prepaid funeral plan might be beneficial to you. Read now and start planning for your future with our expert tips now.

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How to Organise a Prepaid Funeral Plan in Australia

Learn everything you need to know about a prepaid funeral in Australia. Our comprehensive guide covers everything from related services to arrange, to simple paperwork, hidden costs and why the peace of mind from a prepaid funeral plan might be beneficial to you. Read now and start planning for your future with our expert tips now.

Are prepaid funeral plans relevant to you?

If you're young and healthy you're probably not thinking about your funeral, never mind the logistics of a prepaid funeral plan.

Whilst you're probably more likely to be spending your pay checks on avocado toast and trips to the pub, thinking about the future can be a simple way to benefit from a lock in price, peace of mind and sense of control around death.

What is a prepaid funeral?

A prepaid funeral is exactly what it sounds like. It's when you put funds aside for a specific burial and funeral service before you die. Often represented by simple payment plans with monthly instalments, a prepaid funeral plan enables you to pay for a future funeral in advance- locking in funeral costs at today's prices, and securing your wishes for the future.

The way it works is you choose and pay for the funeral in advance with your nominated funeral director, and a prepaid funeral plan provider. This means you lock in the exact details of all funeral expenses at today's price.

You can choose to pay the entire thing up front or instead make a deposit and then pay regular instalments. Kind of like Afterpay, but for funerals, it's a way to pay in advance to reduce the burden on your family, if they're left with hard decisions and costs involved with planning a funeral whilst grieving.

If you are wanting to purchase a prepaid funeral you should check the specific terms with the prepaid funeral plan provider. Specific guidelines can vary depending on selected funeral services and funeral directors, and some may not include transfers interstate if you move later in life.

Why prepay?

There are three main reasons you may want to pay for your funeral in advance.

1. Money money money

A prepaid funeral plan enables you to lock in today's prices for your future funeral and related services. Bearing in mind that the average cost for a basic burial in Australia is $8,048, according to the Australian Seniors Cost of Death report, the price is only set to rise.

Particularly for traditional burials, issues surrounding land supply, cost and availability of burial plots will push prices up. This can also affect coffin-making to crematorium staff and even the fees of funeral directors- with the cost of a funeral increasing at around 5% each year.

With this in mind, prepaid funeral plans are a good alternative to lock in price and your chosen services. Regardless of financial situation, a prepaid plan can save more money for living a life well lived, as well as inheritance to help your family do the same.

2. Reduce the burden on your family

If you don't arrange a prepaid funeral it will be your family or friends who end up taking on the responsibility. This can be incredibly stressful and emotionally draining during a period of immense grief.

It can also place a financial burden on your family. If you died in debt or did not leave enough to cover the cost of a funeral your family will have to pay for the burial themselves.

According to the Cost of Death Report, 32% of seniors experienced financial hardship after paying for a funeral, and it took 68% of them at least six months to recover financially.

A little forward thinking with a prepaid funeral arrangement will save your family this unnecessary stress, so they can use the time to process their grief. Your money will be held securely until the time comes, and prevent the stress of additional fees mounting up for those you leave behind.

3. Organise the farewell you want

Despite extensive paperwork, when you can lay out your funeral wishes in your Will they are not legally enforceable. They act as instructions to tell your family what you would like them to organise. The only piece of guidance that must be enforced if you write it in your Will is any objections to cremation.

So if you want peace of mind to make sure you get the sendoff of your choice, getting a prepaid contract is the way to do it. You can choose your method of burial, your preferred funeral director and the church or cemetery where you would like a service to be held.

If you're not keen for something so traditional you can organise for a direct cremation and specify for a memorial service to be held instead. A backyard barbeque, beach bonfire or ocean burial can all be organised as part of a prepaid funeral service.

How do you set up a prepaid funeral?

  1. Decide what kind of funeral you want

This is the first step when you decide to plan ahead, as you need to do this before you choose your funeral director. You'll want to work with someone who can accommodate your preferences, so you'll need to determine whether you want to have a traditional burial, direct cremation, or a simple memorial service.

  1. Choose a funeral director

Then you need to hire a funeral director who offers a service which suits your personal circumstances. If you want something personal, affordable, and eco-friendly you may like to consider reaching out to our funeral arrangers at Safewill Cremations.

  1. Work out your method of payment

Once you reach an agreement on the service you want you need to determine how you plan to pay for the service: up front, or on a recurring basis. This can be as monthly instalments, or a fortnightly or yearly payment. Your method of payment will depend on who you choose to organise your funeral, as well as your financial situation.

  1. Finalise the details

When the money changes hands keep in mind it isn't lining the pockets of your funeral director of choice. Every Australian state and territory has financial regulations in place when it comes to prepaid funerals.

When you pay for the service the money goes into a regulated funeral fund and it is held there until the time comes for your funeral to be held. This is to protect people from losing their money if the company providing the service closes down or goes insolvent. Each state or territory has different regulations, and there are fewer protections in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

Click the following links to read the specific legislation in each state or territory:

The funeral director must provide you with information for each component of the prepaid service supplied under the contract and the cost of each element. This should be done before you sign the contract.

Once the contract is signed they must transfer the money to the funeral fund within a certain time frame according to the laws in the state or territory. There is usually a cooling-off period where you can cancel the contract but you will need to pay a cancellation fee for doing so.

  1. Advise your next of kin or the executor of your Will

Then you're ready to go. The contract is signed and the money is paid. You should leave all the details of your prepaid funeral (including the contact details of your funeral director) in a safe place. It is worth noting these instructions in your Will and notifying the relevant people so they can organise things quickly and easily when the time comes.

Safewill Can Help

Safewill Cremations is here to help you plan ahead with an affordable, meaningful and tailored funeral plan. Our team of dedicated experts will support you to lock in price, set up a simple payment plan and carry out the simple paperwork for peace of mind on all your wishes.

If you'd like to find out more about prepaid funerals contact one of our friendly funeral arrangers at Safewill Cremations for more information. Call us on 1300 942 586, or start alive chat now, to find out more.

Last updated 07th January 2022
Louise Ayling
Copywriter & Content Developer
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