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About this guide
This guide is provided by Funeral Plan Management Pty Ltd ABN 30 003 769 640 (called “Funeral Plan Management”) on behalf of your funeral director. The material in this guide was current at the time of production and gives general information about pre planning and pre paying a funeral.
For more detailed information about the benefits of preplanning your funeral, we suggest you discuss your needs with your funeral director or contact Funeral Plan Management on Freecall 1800 804 731.
Benefits of pre-planning
A little forethought, a great deal of benefit-
A funeral and the bereavement that goes with it will affect a family and loved ones both emotionally and financially. But with a little forethought and pre-planning, we have the opportunity to relieve some of the burdens from those closest to us.
Planning ahead ~ A practical approach
When you think about it pre planning is something we do all the time. We put money aside for travel, for retirement and other important events. It makes sense to approach planning ahead for a funeral in exactly the same way.
With the help of a professional funeral director, it’s really just like making a Will.
Not sad or sombre. Just simple, sensible and practical.
Have it your way
It’s a good opportunity to have an open family discussion about your preferences. This way everyone is aware of your wishes and knows who to contact and where important documents are kept.
By pre planning a funeral, you choose the type and style of funeral service you want and how much you wish to spend.
A few decisions now will save your family a lot of anguish later. You are able to select:
- the type and style of funeral
- whether you’d prefer burial or cremation
- which cemetery or crematorium
- the type and style of coffin or casket
- the type of death notices, funeral vehicles and flowers
- special features in the service, such as a poem or piece of music
- the wishes of your family and friends
- how much you’d like to spend.
After all, why shouldn’t it be your choice?
Preparing to pre-plan
Firstly, you would arrange a meeting with your funeral director. Either at home or at the funeral director’s office, whichever you prefer.
Your funeral director will guide you through the planning process, explaining the products and services provided, and the costs involved.
You can arrange the funeral you want. They’ll be your decisions, made in your own time.
Avoid unnecessary stress
A pre paid funeral plan is simply a funeral planned and paid for in advance. It means you make the important decisions and arrangements yourself, saving your family the emotional and financial burden. With a little forethought, you can help prevent unnecessary stress for your loved ones.
Essentially, you arrange the funeral service you want, with the funeral director of your choice, at today’s prices. And this is documented in your pre paid funeral plan contract.
Your contract will specify the funera[ service you have requested. It is a written record of the arrangement between you and the funeral director. The original contract is yours to keep. Your funeral director will hold a copy.
Pre paid, pre saved
A pre paid funeral plan is costed at today’s prices. Subject to any specific provisions of the pre paid funeral plan contract, you will not be affected by any future price rises. The cost will vary depending on the services you choose. However, if you change your arrangements or add something extra, you may incur additional costs.
Advantage for pensioners
For Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs pension recipients, a pre paid funeral plan can enable you to maximise your pension entitlement. That’s because money spent on a pre paid funera[ plan is not subject to the income and assets test or deemed earnings rules (according to current legislation at the time of printing).
This benefit only applies for pre paid funerals on the condition that the money is not withdrawn and used for other purposes.
Your payment options
Although usually paid in a lump sum, your funeral director may give you the option to pay by instalments over a fixed period. Your funeral service cannot be guaranteed until full payment has been received.
Your money keeps working
The money you pay for your pre-paid funeral plan will be held independently of the funeral director and properly invested and safeguarded until needed. (Subject to any specific provisions of the pre-paid funeral plan contract). Only when the service has been carried out will the funeral director be paid.
Your funeral director will provide you with further information and advice.
Your plan and legislation
Pre-paid funeral plans are covered by legislation in most Australian States and Territories. Funeral Plan Management assists your funeral director in ensuring that the Plan’s operations, advertising and promotional materials comply with this legislation.
Your plan and GST
The Federal Government’s GST legislation imposes GST on pre-paid funeral plan contracts entered on or after 1 December 1999. Your funeral director will remit the relevant GST amount to the Australian Taxation Office. The funeral director will answer any questions regarding the GST on your pre-paid funeral plan.
Keep your contract together with your other important documents, (your Will, financial records etc), and inform your family or legal representative of their whereabouts.
Who can enter into a plan?
Anyone can enter into a pre-paid funeral plan, regardless of age or state of health.
What if you change your mind?
The investment of your pre-payment can only be cancelled and your money refunded within a cooling off period. To cancel within this cooling off period, you should return your original contract together with a letter requesting cancellation of your plan and investment to your funeral director. Your contract may specify other requirements for making any changes to your funeral arrangements.
Specific details of the cooling off period will be set out in your Funeral Fund Customer Information Brochure. What if you move residence?
Your funeral director can help ensure that the new arrangements suit you and your family. Where necessary, your plan can be transferred to another funeral director in your new place of residence, (subject to any specific provisions of your contract).
How is the plan carried out?
A relative or personal representative simply contacts your funeral director. All the arrangements detailed in your contract will be carried out.
What if your funeral director goes out of business?
You should ensure that the money you pre-pay is invested with, and held by an independent entity, and that it is not accessible to your funeral director until the service has been provided.
If your original funeral director is no longer in business, simply contact Funeral Plan Management. They will assist in organising the transfer of your plan to another funeral director, or the transfer of payment towards the cost of alternative funeral. services.
Why is a funeral important?
A funeral is the first step in the grieving process. It is an opportunity for family and friends to pay their last respects and support each other at a time of loss.
Who is legally responsible for arranging a funeral?
Legal responsibility rests with the executor appointed under the Will of the deceased. You should make sure your executor is familiar with, and agreeable to carrying out your wishes, and is aware of the details of your pre paid funeral plan contract.
What if there is no Will?
If a person dies without a valid Will, usually the closest next of kin will have the right to apply to act as administrator of the estate and complete the funeral arrangements.
What happens when someone dies at home?
What happens when someone dies in a hospital?
The attending doctor will normally be able to sign a Death Certificate or Medical Examiner’s Certificate. The funeral director will then arrange the transport of the deceased, registration of the death, and all other funeral arrangements.
What happens when someone dies interstate or overseas? Is insurance available?
The funeral director should be notified immediately and will arrange the transport of the deceased and attend to any statutory or customs requirements. In these circumstances there is usually an additional fee for the transportation of the deceased. For a small premium however, you can insure against these additional costs, if you die whilst travelling interstate or more than 70 kms from your normal place of residence, within Australia.
Ask your funeral director about travel protection insurance.
What about sudden or accidental death?
Should a person in apparently good health and not under the care of a doctor die suddenly or as a result of an accident, the Coroner must be notified.
What is the role of the Coroner’s Department?
When a hospital, doctor or other individual advises the Coroner’s Department of a death, the Department contacts the police. The police arrange the transport of the deceased to the Coroner’s Court. The police then prepare a report for the Coroner. The Coroner seeks to establish the cause of death, either by contacting the deceased’s doctor, or by requesting an autopsy.
Another function of the Coroner’s Court is to establish the identity of the deceased person. A formal identification is done by someone who knows the deceased. The person must know the correct spelling of the deceased’s name, their age, address and occupation.If you have any other questions or concerns, your funeral director will be happy to discuss them with you.
People who care about your peace of mind
Funeral Plan Management is dedicated to providing information on pre paid funeral plans as well as investment management and administration services to funeral directors and their clients. Founded in 1984, Funeral Plan Management has developed a reputation as the market leader in pre-paid funeral plans, providing security and peace of mind for nearly 100,000 clients.
Funeral Plan Management is part of the Lifeplan Funds Management group, which has in excess of $1 billion in assets under management. Lifeplan has a 15o year tradition of looking after the wealth and financial security of their clients.