When dealing with a loved one’s death, trying to navigate the funeral industry may leave you confused and vulnerable, with only a vague idea of your choices and rights and no comparative pricing. When you are informed, you can avoid paying too much for a funeral while creating the send-off you want for your loved one.
Understanding the Australian Funeral Industry
Most of the Sydney funeral industry, much like the rest of Australia, is now being traded on the stock exchange. Many believe the market is “inelastic” because just 15 percent of people will ‘shop around’ when someone in their family dies.
There are too many people who turn a blind eye to end-of-life planning, with approximately 86% of Australians over the age of 50 not even thinking about or making any arrangements for their funeral. We’ll discuss why this would be the time to start thinking about making these kinds of plans and mention some things that you might have failed to consider.
Funeral Home Considerations
When someone in your family dies, doctors must sign a certificate that confirms their death and if there was anything questionable about their death. Once the certificate is signed, there are government websites that will advise the family to use the services of a funeral director to collect the body to be stored and prepared for the upcoming funeral.
What many people don’t realize is that this isn’t legally required throughout most of Australia. Although it helps relieve the family of the burden, there are cultures and preferences that people sometimes want to stick to in this situation, and deal with the send-off in their own special way. You should consider both options, with most regard to what your deceased loved one wanted.
Having Your Deceased Loved One at Home
Many people believe that having a person’s body among loved ones at home is a better option. But this brings up some challenges, such as how long can a body remain unrefrigerated? Some sources say 24 hours, but after that time, the body will likely start going through the inevitable initial stages of decomposition. However, if you use a portable cooler, which is available throughout the country, you can keep the body under five degrees Celsius to avoid these issues.
It’s possible to contact a funeral director and have the body transferred to the home and funeral and once the body is given to the funeral home there are laws that dictate what the funeral home must due to in order to care for it properly. For example, the funeral home cannot keep a body unrefrigerated for over eight hours.
Coffins make up a huge expense when it comes to a funeral. Many funeral directors mark up the cost of coffins by more than 100 percent, with some being marked up over 500 percent of what the initial cost is.
In Australia, there is now something called “BYO” coffin and is something that’s accepted by most funeral homes. If you are trying to save money on funeral costs, this may be a viable option to look into.
There are some coffins that are also considered eco-friendly, such as those made of felted woolen, seagrass, wicker, and cardboard. Use caution if shopping for MDF, as this may be called “eco,” but there are resin binders that are made from toxic formaldehyde. A better option, according to some experts, is choosing a plantation timber coffin, which is considered more sustainable.
What You Need Before Contacting a Funeral Home
Understanding your rights is a crucial factor that you must consider before moving forward with funeral planning. If you choose to use a funeral director, understand what options you have. Some of the things you must pay for when making these arrangements include the services of a funeral director, transport of the body, the coffin, a death certificate, permits, cemetery plot, and miscellaneous expenses (i.e. flowers, wake, newspaper notices, clergy, etc.).
By taking action now and planning your end of life funeral and last rites, you can prevent the confusion that many family members face once their loved one is departed.