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Paying for funerals

Covering the costs of a funeral

Page reading time: 5 minutes

Paying for funerals is expensive but there is help available to cover the costs. A savings account or a prepaid funeral is a good way to plan and pay for your funeral.

There are also options to help you cover the funeral costs of other family members.

Help paying for someone else's funeral

If someone has passed away and you don't have enough money to pay for their funeral, help is available.

If you've lost a partner who received a Centrelink benefit, bereavement payments may be available. Contact the Indigenous Call Centre on 1800 136 380 or visit Services Australia.

Veterans or former members of the Australian Defence Force may be able to get help with funeral costs. Contact the Department of Veterans' Affairs on 1300 55 1918 and ask to speak with an Indigenous Veterans' Liaison Officer.

Check whether the person who passed away had any insurance as part of their super fund. This may provide money to help pay for their funeral.

Other organisations that can help with funeral costs:

New South Wales

NSW Aboriginal Land Council

  • Community benefits scheme offering grants for funerals.

Wonnarua Nation Aboriginal Corporation

  • Grants for funeral costs for Wannarua people.

NSW Aboriginal Affairs

  • Funding through the Stolen Generations reparations scheme and funeral fund.

Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation

  • Emergency relief program for Aboriginal residents in the Illawarra.

Transport NSW

  • Aboriginal Funeral Transport 'Sorry Business' fund can help with transport to attend funerals within NSW.

Queensland

Coroners Court of Queensland

  • Provides assistance for Queensland residents who can't cover funeral costs.

Port Curtis Coral Coast (PCCC) Trust

  • Members of the four PCCC tribes can apply for funeral assistance.

Clermont Aboriginal Community Development Fund

  • Wangan and Jagalingou people can apply for funeral assistance.

Western Australia

Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support

  • Provides funds through the bereavement assistance program.

Gumala Aboriginal Corporation

  • Bunjima, Yinhawangka and Nyiyaparli people can apply for funeral assistance.

Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation

  • Banjima people can apply for funeral assistance.

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation

  • Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation members can apply for funeral assistance by filling out the application form on the website.

Kuruma Marthudunera Aboriginal Corporation

  • Rode River Kuruma community members can apply for funeral assistance.

Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation

  • People on the Register of Yinhawangka beneficiaries can apply for funeral assistance.

Northern Territory

Central Land Council (CLC)

  • Aboriginal people in the CLC region can apply for funeral assistance.

Northern Land Council (NLC)

  • Aboriginal people in the NLC region can apply for funeral and ceremony assistance.

Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Enterprises

  • Funding is available for funerals held in and off the archipelago. Fill out the online form and select ‘funeral’ as the request type.

South Australia

Funeral AssistanceSA

  • Financial assistance for funerals of South Australians on pensions, benefits or low incomes.

Far West Coast Aboriginal Community Charitable Trust

  • Far West Coast members can apply for funeral assistance.

Tasmania

Magistrates Court of Tasmania

  • Provides a publicly funded cremation without a service when the family cannot pay for burial or cremation.

Australian Capital Territory

ACT Revenue Office

  • Provides assistance for ACT residents who can't cover funeral costs.

Check your super fund

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. Getting life insurance through your super fund could be a lot cheaper than elsewhere. Check the fees, terms and conditions.

When you pass away, money you have saved in your super is usually paid to your dependants. Some or all of this money could help pay for your funeral. Your family might have to pay for your funeral until your will is settled.

If a friend or a relative passes away 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.

Saving for funerals

Putting money into a savings account can help your family pay for your funeral. It can also help if you have to help pay for someone else's funeral.

Open a savings account with a high interest rate and save some money each week or month. Keep this account separate from your everyday account. Tell your family about the account and what it's for.

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.

Prepay your funeral

Prepaid funerals allow you to choose the type of funeral you would like. You can either pay for it in full upfront or pay it off over a period of time.

Check if you can get a refund from your prepaid funeral if you change your mind.

In some states, you must register your prepaid funeral. Your state and territory fair trading office can help you with more information about prepaid funerals.

Beware of funeral cover, plans and insurance

With funeral cover, plans and insurance, you make regular ongoing payments until you pass away. When you've passed, your family receives an amount of money to cover the cost of your funeral.

Some Indigenous organisations offer funeral cover, as do private companies.

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. A savings account or a prepaid funeral might cost you less for the same funeral.

If you miss payments or cancel the policy, you might not get a refund and you could lose all the money you paid. Read the product disclosure statement (PDS) or brochure to find out what happens if you cancel.

Don't feel pressured into buying funeral cover by people who come to your house. Take your time to think carefully and do not be pressured into buying funeral cover. Read our tips for dealing with pushy door to door salespeople.

Avoid a funeral rip-off

How to avoid paying too much when it comes to funeral insurance and what sorts of options you have.

Get help with funeral cost decisions

Get help from a financial counsellor or talk to a financial capability worker. They can help you decide which option is best for you.