The Funeral Arrangement

Why have a funeral?

When a loved one dies, we often see that people want to get on with funeral planning as quickly as possible; they want closure and think that the pain will go away once the funeral has been held. It is true that funerals can be emotionally difficult, but a good funeral will provide the opportunity to share memories, gather support and put loved ones on the path to recovery.

It is the coming together of families and friends that makes the difference. This specifically created support network is a source of comfort and strength, both during the funeral and immediately afterwards.

Although families may be hesitant to choose a funeral service that means coming together, we often find it is exactly from this which people benefit most. The funeral ceremony helps to publicly acknowledge the reality of the death and when shared with friends and family it encourages the expression of grief.

Grief triangle

Funeral Timing

When to hold the funeral is entirely up to you. Some people believe three days after death is the correct timing; however, in law there is no set time. Given the many matters to consider in arranging a modern funeral, it is not uncommon for a funeral to be held five to seven days after death. If necessary, it can be held still later to allow people coming from interstate or overseas to attend.

We can assure you it is far better not to rush the planning of a funeral. Allowing more time helps you to make clearer decisions. When people are rushed they may forget or overlook matters, leading to regrets afterwards.

Benefits of a funeral

Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events. Baptism celebrates the birth of a child and that child’s acceptance into the church family. Birthday parties honour the passing of another year in the life of someone we love. Weddings publicly affirm the private love shared by two people.

The funeral ritual, too, is a public, traditional and symbolic means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone loved. Rich in history and rife with symbolism, the funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages the expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture’s values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.

Bereavement Payments

You may be eligible for Bereavement Payment if either:

  • your partner dies and when they died you were both receiving:
  • a pension from us or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or
  • a benefit such as Newstart Allowance or Parenting Payment for at least 12 months
  • you are caring for an adult who dies and you were receiving Carer Payment for them
  • you are receiving Carer Allowance for an adult who dies, and also an income support payment other than Carer Payment that does not qualify you for a – Bereavement Payment, or
  • your partner was a member of the Pension Bonus Scheme and died before making a claim for the bonus
  • For some payments, such as Carer Payment, Wife Pension and Partner Allowance, the payment may continue for 14 weeks following the death to give you time to seek other income support if necessary.

See for more information

  • Insurance policies (if applicable)

What do we need?

There are some things you can do before meeting with your funeral director:

  • Allow enough time. Set aside 1-2 hours to meet and talk with your funeral director to begin planning the funeral.
  • Supportive family or friend.
  • Information for Death Certificate.
  • Clothes for the deceased to be dressed in including perfume, make up or after shave if you wish. A current photo is also helpful to assist with their presentation.
  • Credit card / Eftpos card / Cheque book.
  • Prepaid funeral plan documents, if any.
  • Burial site reservation, if any.
  • A list of questions you may have.
  • Think about if you would like a viewing. This is some time with the person again before the funeral. It can be held privately, often the day before the funeral.
  • A day, time and place for the service will usually be agreed to in the first meeting.
  • Have some ideas about the ceremony itself – music, flowers, theme, catering, videos etc.
  • Consider whether you want a burial or a cremation.
  • Expect an account with the cost explained. It is normal for the funeral director to discuss the account and explain the cost of each item. You will be given a fully itemised estimate of fees based on what you have agreed upon for the funeral. Most families pay by credit card, cheque or cash on or before the day of the funeral. Most banks will allow you to access the deceased’s bank account to pay for the funeral, and your funeral director will be able to advise you how to do this.

Important resources

There are many documents and forms that are important sources of information when arranging a funeral. Here is a brief list of some paperwork that you should keep in a safe location:

  • Full legal name
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Father’s full name and occupation
  • Mother’s full name, including maiden name and occupation
  • Recent photograph
  • Occupation
  • Place of burial (if applicable)
  • Details of existing or pre-arranged burial plots (if applicable)
  • Clothing
  • Next of kin (name, relationship, etc.)