Pre-Paid Funerals FAQ's
- What is a Pre-Paid Funeral?
- What are the Benefits of a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan and Who is Eligible to Take One Out?
- What Does a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Include?
- If I Pay For My Funeral Now, Who Keeps the Money?
- Can I Pay a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan by Instalments?
- What if I Move my Residence Interstate?
- What Happens if Death Occurs Interstate or Overseas?
- What Happens if the Funeral Director I Choose Goes Out of Business?
- Can I Get My Money Out of a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?
- What is the AFDA Policy for Pre-Paid Funerals?
- How Do I Locate a Pre-Paid Funeral?
What is a Pre-Paid Funeral?
A Pre-Paid Funeral is a funeral purchased in advance. The type and style of funeral the client wants is documented in a written contract and paid for at today's prices. Subject to any specific terms of a Pre-Paid Funeral contract (e.g. if Government taxes are subsequently imposed or increased), the client will not have to pay any additional amount for that contracted funeral regardless of when the funeral is required. Payment of a Pre-Paid Funeral is invested with an independently managed funeral fund and is only released to the Funeral Director once the contracted funeral service is completed.
What are the Benefits of a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan and Who is Eligible to Take One Out?
Anyone can take out a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan regardless of their age or state of health, and in doing so can enjoy the following benefits:
- you can protect your family from the distress of making difficult decisions at an emotional time
- your family will be relieved from any financial burden
- it makes good financial sense - by making all of your choices now, you can fix the price of funeral at today's costs (subject to any specific terms of the contact)
- you can ensure that your exact wishes are made known and are carried out
- pre-paying means real peace of mind for you and your family, and
- you may be able to maximise your pension entitlement. Any money paid into the plan is not subject to the income or assets test or deemed earnings rule (according to current legislation).
What Does a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Include?
A Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is designed to reflect your wishes and therefore can include whatever you wish, however, some options to consider include:
- the type and style of funeral service
- preparation of the body and viewing arrangements
- burial or cremation
- the specific cemetery or crematorium
- type of coffin or casket
- Minister or Celebrant
- memorial book and memorial cards
- death notices, flowers, mourning vehicles etc, and
- special features you would like to include such as a poem or piece of music.
If I Pay For My Funeral Now, Who Keeps the Money?
The money you pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is held secure by an independent entity such as a friendly society or trustee company and is properly invested and safeguarded until such time as the funeral services under the Pre-Paid Funeral Plan are required. Only then will the funds be released to the Funeral Director.
Can I Pay a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan by Instalments?
There are two ways to make payments for a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan. You can pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan in a lump sum or your Funeral Director may give you the option to pay by instalments. This is usually arranged through a direct debit or booklet payment system.
What if I Move my Residence Interstate?
If you move interstate you can rearrange your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan accordingly. Your Funeral Director will be able to assist you with the transferring of your Plan to another Funeral Director. However, prices cannot necessarily be guaranteed on a transfer, as there are price differences between many country and city areas. The funds are required to stay in the secure investment you have arranged and can be accessed by the new Funeral Director at the time of the funeral.
What Happens if Death Occurs Interstate or Overseas?
A Funeral Director should be notified immediately. They should be able to arrange for 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. Should the death and funeral occur overseas or interstate, the funds in the Pre-Paid Funeral Plan will be paid to the estate.
What Happens if the Funeral Director I Choose Goes Out of Business?
The money you pay for your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is held by an independent entity and therefore is completely protected. It is invested in a separate fund in your name. It is not accessible by your Funeral Director until your funeral service has been provided. In the unlikely event that your original Funeral Director is no longer in business, you can organise to have the Plan transferred to another Funeral Director.
Can I Get My Money Out of a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan?
No. You cannot withdraw from a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan prior to death, nor can it be used in any way other than to pay for your funeral expenses. If you are not completely satisfied with your Pre-Paid Funeral Plan, your investment can be cancelled and your money refunded in full within 14 days of receipt of your investment confirmation. Otherwise no withdrawal from a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is permitted.
What is the AFDA Policy for Pre-Paid Funerals?
View the AFDA Policy for Pre-Paid Funerals.
How Do I Locate A Pre-Paid Funeral?
When a Pre-Paid Funeral is finalised and the contract signed, a copy of the contract is held both by the arranger of the Pre-Paid Funeral, and by the Funeral Director. It is important that the contract is filed with other documents of a similar nature for when the need arises. It is also important to communicate to family and friends that these arrangements have been made and paid for in advance, as well as providing detailed instructions on where the contract can be located.
Unfortunately there is no central database that records Pre-Paid Funeral contracts, so if you have been informed or are aware of a family member/friend having taken out a Pre-Paid Funeral, we suggest to firstly look through their important documents for evidence of the contract. Secondly, speak to the person's Solicitor to see if they had the contract filed away for their client, or speak to Funeral Directors in this person's local area to see if they hold any record of a Pre-Paid Funeral contract being taken out. Our Find A Funeral Director search facility can be used to locate Funeral Directors in the relevant area.
If you think there was a Pre-Paid Funeral, but cannot find the relevant papers, the contract may have been left with someone responsible such as:
- a Solicitor
- a trusted friend
- Next of Kin
- the Executor of the Will
- the Public Trustee.
Alternatively, you may wish to start calling the companies in the list below to enquire if they are aware of any Pre-Paid Funeral contract being held in that person's name:
- Australian Unity: 13 29 29
- Aviva Australia (previously Norwich Union): 1300 659 659
- Bendigo Bank (Australian Friendly Society): 1800 803 173 or 03 5485 7891
- Foresters Friendly Society: 03 9326 6000
- Funeral Plan Management (Lifeplan Funds Management): 1800 804 731
- Guardian Plan (InvoCare): 1800 151 158
- IOOF (VIC): 13 13 69
- KeyInvest (previously IOOF SA): 1300 658 904
- Manchester Unity (Foresters Friendly Society): 03 9326 6000
- State Trustees: 1300 138 672
- Sureplan Friendly Society: 1800 817 105
If your questions are not answered or you would like further information, please contact The AFDA on (03) 9859 9966 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org