Paying for funerals
Planning for funeral costs
Funerals can be expensive. There are
different ways to cover the cost of your funeral so don't rush into
a decision. Find the one that's right for you.
You may already have funeral
Read our Paying for funerals booklet
you're thinking about planning ahead for your own funeral or
the funeral of a family member, our paying for
funerals booklet can help sort through the different options
you might have.
Before buying a funeral plan or funeral cover, check the
- Is there a life insurance policy with your superannuation or a
health insurance policy that pays a funeral benefit, which may help
with funeral expenses? See check if your super
has life insurance.
- If you are the surviving partner of a person receiving a
Centrelink benefit, you may be entitled to bereavement payments.
Contact the Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380 or go to the Indigenous Australians
section of the Department of Human Services website.
- Veterans or former members of the defence forces, members of
pensioner associations or trade unions may also be able to access
financial assistance to help meet the cost of a funeral. Contact
the Department of Veterans'
Affairs on 133 254.
- Does your local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community
organisation or land council provide any funeral assistance?
- Can the state or territory government assist with the cost of a
basic funeral or cremation?
- Get help from a financial counsellor or talk to a
money management worker as
they can help you decide which option is best for you.
When thinking about your options, find out what happens to the
money when you die. Sometimes your family won't get the money
straight away. They may have to pay for your funeral themselves and
wait until your will has been settled before they can get the money
Check if your super has life
Let your family know which super fund you are with and your
If you have a life insurance policy with your super, your super
fund will pay a sum of money to your dependants when you die. This
is called a death benefit and your dependants could
use part of it to pay for your funeral.
Phone your super fund and ask them if you have a
life insurance policy or if you could buy
one. Getting life insurance through your super fund could be a lot
cheaper than elsewhere but remember to still check the fees, terms
Even if you don't have a life insurance policy with
your super, the amount of super you have will be paid out, usually
to your dependants, when you die. Some or all of this money could
be used to pay for your funeral. This may take some time so your
family might have to pay for your funeral themselves until your
will is settled.
If a friend or a relative dies and they were dependant on you,
you may be able to access your super early to cover the costs
of their funeral. Talk to your super fund or get help from a financial counsellor.
Create your own funeral fund
Set up your own savings account for the cost of your funeral.
Talk to your bank, building society or credit union about opening a
savings account with a high interest rate. Decide how much you want
to save each week or month. Keep this account separate from your
everyday account. Tell your family about the account and what it's
for. See savings accounts for more
Consider putting money
into a funeral bond
Funeral bonds are offered by friendly
societies or life insurance companies. You set aside regular
amounts of money or a lump sum payment for your funeral. The money
is invested and will grow in value. It can only be used for your
funeral and normally can't be accessed earlier.
Consider buying a prepaid
Prepaid funerals allow you to choose the type of funeral you
would like. You can either pay for it in full or pay it off over a
period of time. If you are thinking of buying a prepaid funeral,
ask if you can get a refund if you change your mind. Some states
require prepaid funerals to be registered. Your local state and
territory fair trading office can help you with more information
about prepaid funerals. To contact your state or territory fair
trading office see get help with money
Salespeople might come to your house
selling funeral cover or you might see advertisements for it on TV
or in the paper. With funeral cover, you make regular ongoing
payments until your death. When you die, your family receives an
amount of money to cover the cost of your funeral.
Some Indigenous organisations offer funeral cover, as do private
companies. If it is important to you that a company is owned by
Indigenous people, check with ASIC or community leaders.
Be aware that you may end up paying a lot more than the actual
cover you will get. For example, if you start paying for funeral
cover when you or your family are very young, you might end up
paying a lot more than a funeral would cost. Also, if you miss
payments or cancel the policy you might not get a refund of your
payments. Read the product disclosure statement (PDS) or
brochure, which tells you what happens if you cancel. Take your
time to think carefully and not be pressured into buying funeral
If someone comes to your door selling funeral cover, don't sign
anything - just ask for a copy of the brochure and tell them
you'll think about it. Never feel pressured to buy anything. Read
sales for more information and listen to our audio segment on
what to be aware of when you're paying
for funeral cover.
Case study: Susan got funeral cover but couldn't afford it
A salesperson came to Susan's house selling funeral cover. Susan
felt she couldn't say no when he asked if he could come into her
house. She felt pressured to sign up and soon, $42.50 was coming
out of her Centrelink benefits every fortnight for a funeral plan
for herself and her three kids. Susan found she couldn't afford
these payments and talked to a financial counsellor about how she
could cancel the cover.
Once you have decided how you will cover the
cost of your funeral, discuss it with your family. Make sure they
know where you keep your will and any other important papers.
Last updated: 20 Jun 2017