Why are funerals important?
Remember the funeral service acts as a support for the family and friends you leave behind.
A time and a place for them all to gather to remember and honour your life.
At the same time, they have the chance to re-connect with each other offering mutual support.
The rite of passage of the funeral service will help their grieving journey.
These types of funeral ceremonies have occurred since the beginning of mankind.
What are the benefits of prearranging a funeral for yourself or a loved one?
There are three major benefits to prearranging a funeral in advance.
- Financial security by ensuring that everything can be paid for in advance at today’s price.
- Emotional peace of mind knowing that you have contributed to helping future generations
- Clarity for those who will remain by ensuring that they are aware of these important choices.
Let’s first focus on the financial options.
- There are three options from a financial perspective.
- Option (a) is to pay nothing and simply write down and record family details and funeral preferences and you keep a copy and we keep a copy and when the time comes we deal with the remaining family members about the finances at tomorrow’s cost.
- Option (b) is to pay a deposit, usually around $1000 and pay off the differences over two years in equal monthly payments with no interest.
- Or option (c) is to do what most people do by completing all personal details, funeral choices and pay up front at todays cost. This is most popular because once this is done the remaining family will be spared the emotional burden of having to complete legal forms in the midst of their grief. It becomes a single call to us and we take your file and share that with those who remain.
No matter what path is chosen here, in Queensland there is State legislation providing for a 30 day cooling off period, during which time you’re advised to seek independent advice.
Even if you have paid into the fund, if you change your mind you may get a full refund less a $50 management fee.
Newhaven Funerals is bound by State legislation which ensures the invested funds are audited twice a year by an independent auditor.
Our company is unique in that we can transfer your pre-arranged funds to another family member if required at no cost.
It is important to note that a funeral plan is not deemed an asset so when means tested it won’t affect pension payments and, in some cases, if a plan is taken, can actually increase pension payments.
The means test is limited to $13 500 only for funeral bonds.
This limit increases every July in line with inflation.
We don’t do funeral bonds, but this is something some may wish to consider.
If you do have a funeral bond, you can assign it to a funeral director and you will avoid the asset test on this amount. Also, pre purchased cemetery plots are exempt from asset testing.
In all circumstance we will pay particular attention to discussing and recording funeral preferences such as burial or cremation, casket and coffin selection, what venue you prefer, be it a church or non-religious venue, religious minister or celebrant and the flowers and music required. Music is always an interesting topic and an important part of the service.
You may even wish to prepare a eulogy video to be played at the service or consider streaming the service live to friends overseas.
Some of the songs we hear quite often are Frank Sinatra – I did it my way, lots of people sing along to Patsy Clyne and we even had a fellow who we played “its hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.
We still hear all the lovely hymns too.
Ultimately this becomes the soundtrack of your life.
It is also important that we recognise different cultural expectations with input from family on what they want to do and how much they want to be involved.
There are many different service levels that funeral directors can help with from an un-attended direct cremation, to a memorial service with only the ashes present, traditional cremation and burial at crematoriums and cemeteries and even outdoor funerals or home based services.
No matter what your wishes, by writing these requests down and sharing a copy with your executor you can be assured that your expectations will be met and the remaining relatives will have a chance to be well informed and able to deal with the death in a calm and measured way.
Remember that funeral insurance is just that.
It is insurance only.
You must keep paying monthly payments which are calculated on the risk.
So, an older person is going to pay a higher premium than say someone in their early 20’s.
The cover may be the same.
There are also age limit restrictions when taking out insurance and not everyone can be covered.
Further, getting the money from the insurer can sometimes be delayed and is not at all easy.
You will need the certified death certificate which isn’t available for several weeks after the funeral so someone will need to pay funeral costs until the funds can be provided by the insurer.
Insurance companies won’t discuss with you anything regarding the funeral service itself.
How to start a conversation about your wishes and how to put a plan in place!
There are multiple benefits of preplanning.
Most people do not want to talk about death or anything relating to their own future plans.
From personal experience and talking to thousands of people who’ve attended a funeral that was pre arranged in advance by parents, a discussion that took place prior has really helped them and should really take place if it hasn’t already.
I often suggest to people, a dinner time conversation is a good starting point.
Some more prudent families will dedicate a meeting with their advisors or funeral director and invite the kids along for the discussion.
The stark reality is that we all die.
No one can avoid this.
Hopefully listening to our discussion today will prompt a discussion.
Something like “hey kids, I listened to a funeral director on a podcast this week and he recommended we have a chat about my funeral”. “This is an important event, and I would like you input to help make it easier for you when the time comes”.
If you asked your family today what you wanted for your funeral, would they know the answer or even where to start??
If they don’t know those answers now, the decisions they’ll have to make will become even more difficult during such an emotional time.
We’ve seen so many disagreements and families completely lost during these times so a discussion and some planning will go a long way to helping them.
So why will a pre-paid funeral plan benefit you now and your loved ones in the future.
By having a plan in place, you can be confident that the finances and service inclusions have been taken care of.
There will be no confusion when the time comes surrounding the choice between burial or cremation or where the funeral service is to be held.
Also knowing that those who remain will have no out of pocket expenses to bear will allow them an opportunity to have a healthy grief experience and to be able to provide 100% support to their relatives during such a difficult time.
The benefit of pre planning a funeral with a genuine funeral company is that we take care of more than just the money.
We understand grief and how it can affect people and we focus more on the service provided at the event which benefits those who remain.
Ultimately, by planning this event in advance will provide peace of mind.
Past clients have even said it gives them a sense of pride to have been proactive in preparing for an inevitable event.
Example story – Elain- considered pre planning for four years and lost a lot of sleep thinking about it.
I recall her ringing our planning expert after they had met and put a plan in place, and she told him that after she’d done this she was able to get a good night’s sleep.
We plan for weddings, births, retirement, holidays, insurance and even shopping trips.
End of life planning should be part of any prudent person’s foundation for successful and respectful inheritance planning.
At a minimum I’d recommend updating your Will and enduring power of attorney and to also set aside some funds for the funeral if you can afford to do so.
Many people want the basics and in some cases no funeral whatsoever without any thought of how this will affect their relatives into the future.
We encourage people to arrange at a minimum an event whereby people can share their memories which in turn helps them deal with the loss.
Ask yourself why did you go to the last funeral you went to and what do you want at yours?
I’d like to assure everyone that our primary focus throughout the funeral process is to provide real old fashioned respect and dignity.
Tim Connolly – Funeral Director
Newhaven Funerals Brisbane & Gold Coast.
Growing up around funerals since the age of six allows Tim a unique understanding of how a family owned funeral business should be. Since leaving school in 1992 Tim has been deeply involved in all aspects of operating their family owned business, including operating crematoriums, memorial gardens and pet cremation business.