Who is responsible for organising a funeral?

Published: 20/4/2023
Who is responsible for organising a funeral?
Who is responsible for organising a funeral?

Organising a funeral can be overwhelming, especially after you've just lost someone you love.   

We're here to help guide you through this difficult time and answer the question: Who is responsible for organising a funeral?

Understanding the legal responsibilities 

In Australia, the legal responsibility for arranging a funeral falls to the executor of the deceased person's estate. The executor is the person appointed by the deceased in their will to carry out their wishes and distribute their assets.   

If the deceased person didn't have a will, the responsibility will likely fall to the next of kin or the person who is willing to take on the responsibility. This person is known as the administrator of the estate. If the deceased person has no next of kin the responsibility may fall to the state government.

Funeral planning 

Once the executor or next of kin has been identified, the process of planning the funeral can begin. The funeral planning process can involve making arrangements with a funeral director. Funeral directors are experienced in planning funerals and can guide you through the process.  

RELATED ARTICLE: Working with a funeral director: How to plan a funeral

When planning a funeral there are a few key decisions that need to be made including:

The type of funeral service

This can include a traditional burial, cremation or something less traditional. This can include a green burial or a celebration of life.

The location of the service

This can be held at a funeral home, church, your home or another location of your choosing.

The date and time of the service

This will depend on the availability of the chosen location and the preferences of the family and friends.

The funeral director

Choosing the right funeral director is important. It's essential to choose someone who is experienced, compassionate and understands your wishes.

Paying for the funeral

Funerals can be expensive and it's important to consider the cost when planning a funeral. The executor or next of kin is responsible for paying for the funeral. The cost can be paid out of the deceased person's estate or by the family or friends of the deceased.  

If the deceased person did not have enough money to cover the cost of the funeral, there may be financial assistance available from the government. The executor or next of kin should contact their state government's funeral assistance program to find out if they are eligible for assistance.  

RELATED ARTICLE:6 Things You Didn't Know About Prepaid Funerals

Who is responsible for organising a funeral?
Who is responsible for organising a funeral?

Transport

You may need to arrange transport for the deceased person's body, as well as for family members and friends attending the funeral. This can include hiring a hearse or arranging for a private vehicle.

Funeral service program

A funeral service program can be a helpful way to provide information to attendees and honour the life of the deceased person. You can include details such as the order of service, hymns, reading and a photo or message from the family.

Flowers and tributes

Flowers and tributes are a traditional way to honour the deceased person. You may choose to have flowers or other tributes placed at the service or request donations be made to a charity in lieu of flowers.

Reception 

After the service, it's common to have a reception or wake to allow family and friends to gather and support one another. This can be held at a private home or another location of your choosing.  

Communicate your wishes with the funeral director and any other family members involved in planning the funeral. This can help ensure that the funeral reflects the wishes of the deceased person and provides comfort to those who are grieving.

Funeral costs

The cost of funerals can vary depending on a number of factors. This includes the type of service, location and any additional services requested.  

It's best to obtain a quote from the funeral director before making any decisions. This can help you understand the total cost of the funeral and make informed decisions about the services you require. Funeral directors are required by law to provide a detailed written estimate of the funeral costs, including any variations to the original estimate.  

If you're concerned about the cost of the funeral, you may wish to consider a pre-paid funeral plan. These plans allow you to pay for your funeral in advance which can help reduce the financial burden on your family and provide peace of mind.

Support services

Grief can be a complex and challenging experience and it's important to seek support if you're struggling with the loss of a loved one. There are a range of support services available to help you during this time. This includes;   

RELATED ARTICLE:Why grief support groups are so important

Who is responsible for organising a funeral?
Who is responsible for organising a funeral?

Grief counselling 

Grief counselling can provide you with support and guidance as you navigate the emotions and challenges of grieving. You may wish to speak with a counsellor or psychologist who specialises in grief and bereavement.

Support groups

Support groups can provide a safe and supportive environment for people who are grieving. These groups can be run by hospitals, community organisations or religious groups.

Online resources

There are a number of online resources available to help you during this time. These can include forums, websites and online counselling services. 

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