The price of a funeral will largely depend on what you decide to include in the ceremony. The devil is in the detail.
It’s like the idea of: “Do you want fries with your order?”
Just like weddings, it is all about the up-sell and emotional value-add. Arguably, the value is only gaining for the funeral company.
Essentially we are looking at: funeral director fees; the cost of the coffin; casket or urn, burial or cremation fees; and, the cost of arranging memorials.
The main costs of a funeral
Funeral director fees
These costs will vary by funeral director and per location both in terms of price and exactly what is covered which is why ideally it would be ideal if you could obtain a breakdown of the costs! As this is probably unlikely the next best option is to make sure you check with your chosen funeral provider exactly what is covered by their fees.
Think “event planning” kind of like the role played by Jennifer Lopez in the movie the wedding planner.
Professional fees covers the cost of the funeral director’s time when planning, organising and conducting a funeral. This can include the following.
- Arrange and co-ordinate the funeral service
- Organising relevant administration and legal documents, including death certificates, doctors certificates, burial and cremation orders
- Assist with the organisation of music, singers, organist, etc.
- Care for, and preparation of, the deceased
- Attendance and conduction of the funeral service
- Liaision with clergy, cemeteries/crematoria, florists, newspapers, etc.
- Assistance with pre-planning the funeral
Facilities and equipment
This is the cost or hiring venues and staff for the funeral as well as use of facilities involved with caring for the deceased. This may include items such as:
- Mortuary fees for the care of the body
- Refreshments & catering for the event
- Chapel hire fees
- Viewing room hire and staff
The funeral director will help arrange transport of the deceased which may include:
- Transfer of the deceased from place of death
- Hearse on day of funeral
- Transfer from the funeral home to crematorium, cemetery or memorial park
The items above are pretty much the basic tasks but the costs could vary depending on staff involved and what sort of funeral you wish to plan.
Coffins & caskets
Coffins and caskets in Australia come in a wide variety of styles to meet the needs of all and can range from simple to a completely personalised coffin or casket. Generally speaking, the average cost of a coffin or casket will be between $1,000 and $4,000 however some coffins or caskets may be more than $15,000.
After a cremation, the ashes are typically stored in an urn which come in a wide variety of shapes and materials although realistically the only real requirement is that the urn has a lid. Prices of urns will vary according to the design, construction and material however the typical price will be between $100 and $500. You can also choose your own container to use instead of an urn, provided it has a lid.
Burial or cremation
Burial : The cost of a burial usually involves the purchase of a gravesite or crypt, the right of interment, opening/closing fees and maintenance. This is normally purchased from the cemetery with the assistance of a Funeral Director. Costs will vary depending upon the cemetery, what sort of burial site is required and even which state you live in. Below are some rough costs you can expect.
- A traditional grave site and headstone will be between $5,000 and $10,000
- A larger plot with a small monument will be between $30,000 and $60,000
- A crypt with be between $50,000 and $100,000
- A family mausoleum will be anywhere from $400,000 up to $1,000,000 – I think I will order two!
Cremation : Generally the cost of arranging a cremation will be less than a burial. The fees associated with cremation will usually include:
- The cost of conducting a cremation
- Preparing the cremated remains
- Sometimes the cost of the urn
- Depending on where the ceremony might be held, you may also hire their chapel
Without memorialisation or conducting a ceremony at the venue, the average cost for cremation fees is between $1,000 and $3,000. Like a burial, these fees will generally be in addition to the cost or arranging a funeral ceremony itself. The funeral director will help make all these arrangements for you and the crematorium will contact you to arrange for memorialisation if you so choose or collection of the cremated remains.
Memorials come in all shapes and sizes and include anything from more traditional plaques and headstones through to full scale monuments or even memorial trees, gardens and benches. Memorials will generally be organised directly with the memorial park of your choice but your funeral director should be able to help. Cost will depend upon selection of burial or cremation, the type of memorial and any religious considerations.
If you would like to know 8 tips for reducing the cost of a funeral, click here.