Clearer choices on funerals in New South Wales

Most of us find the idea of having to bury our loved one daunting.

In fact, according to consumer group CHOICE, 86% of Australians over the age of 50 haven’t even thought about planning for their own funeral.

Which is why when we lose a family member or partner, we’d much rather leave all the arrangements to a funeral company.

Some funeral directors take advantage of this and charge outrageous costs, because many of us would rather be at arm’s length from the finer details such as the storage of the body before burial, or cremation and embalming.

The New South Wales Government has recently made changes to regulations to make funeral directors more transparent when it comes to costs and choices.

The changes will help families at a time when they are at their most vulnerable emotionally.

The new regulations will allow families to compare prices on products on a like for like basis, and force funeral operators to disclose whether the burial or cremation is operated by an external supplier.

Although it might sound inappropriate to “shop around” for a funeral service, that is exactly what CHOICE recommends.

It says costs for funerals range from $4,000 for a basic cremation to $14,000 for a casket, burial and flowers.

Because land is at a premium, burials are much more expensive than cremations.

Prices also vary for coffins, with CHOICE pointing out that even US discount giant Costco now offers coffins in Victoria and NSW.

Not sure where to start?

CHOICE has put together a checklist on its website on the typical items you can expect to pay for and some you should get quotes for so you can compare and negotiate.

The items it lists are:

  • Funeral Director fees
  • Transport
  • Coffin
  • Death Certificate
  • Permits
  • Burial/Cremation
  • Cemetery plot
  • Celebrant
  • Flowers
  • Newspaper notices
  • Wake.

Of course, none of us want to skimp on such an important occasion as celebrating the life of someone so close to us, but that doesn’t mean we should allow ourselves to be taken advantage of.

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