Choosing a funeral company
How do you choose a funeral company? Firstly, your choice depends on where you live. If you live in a Capital City or major regional centre you will have a lot of options. If you live in outback or rural Australia, you may only have the services of a local funeral company. So, following are considerations if you have a choice.
- The wish of the deceased
- Pre-paid/pre-arranged funerals
- Previous experience
- Large or small companies
- Australian owned
- Talk to them
- Existing arrangements
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The wish of the deceased
Do you know what your loved one wanted? If so, you don’t need to go any further. As with everything to do with a funeral, the priority is respecting their wishes.
If you’re not sure of your loved one’s wishes, it’s important to do a little investigation. They may have left specific instructions in their will. Their Executor/family may know their intent, or they may have left written or verbal instructions of their funeral preferences. Once again, if this turns out to be the case, your choice is clear.
Pre-paid or pre-arranged funerals are becoming increasingly common. In these circumstances your loved one has already arranged all the funeral details. A copy of this arrangement will be with their will.
There may be circumstances where the preferred funeral company of your loved one may not be the most suitable at the time of the funeral. While the Executor/family has the freedom to choose the funeral company most appropriate for the current circumstance, if the funeral has already been arranged, and perhaps paid for, it is important to respect the deceased’s wishes, and continue with the funeral director that they have chosen.
Real Estate agents have the famous line, “Location, location, location”. So it is with funerals. Many of us feel more comfortable with a “local” who lives in our community. You can search for a Funeral Director by location or postcode here to find the contact details of the funeral company closest to you.
If you have used a funeral company before that you have been satisfied with, it is natural to choose them again. Some families also have a tradition of engaging a particular funeral company. Alternatively, you may have attended a funeral and been impressed with the services that the funeral company provided. Previous experience is a good measure for choosing a funeral company that you’ll be comfortable with.
Virtually all funeral companies are members of the Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) or an equivalent professional body. Funeral companies place great store on their reputations. If a company has a good reputation, you can trust that it has been well-earned.
Large or small companies
Large companies operate in the major metropolitan and regional centres. These large companies have extensive resources and skilled professionals to facilitate your funeral. There are also many smaller funeral companies who will look after your every need. This is a personal preference and whichever company you choose, be confident that you will be well served.
The majority of funeral companies are Australian/family owned and operated. However business is global, and some funeral companies are owned by major corporations. If you prefer to choose Australian owned and operated funeral companies, you may want to check the funeral director’s website or ask them, which leads into the next point.
Talk to them
If you have multiple choices, feel free to visit or ring each funeral company. Ask them if they can provide for your needs. There is no need to engage the first company you contact. Simply advise them that you are “shopping around” and will get back to them with your decision. Competition often brings you the best outcome.
Some hospitals and nursing homes have arrangements with a funeral company to facilitate a transfer. Funeral companies who have this immediate transfer arrangement count on clients engaging their services as they have already transferred your loved one into their care. However, you are completely free to engage another company, and there is no difficulty in transferring your loved one to the company of your choice.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes will advise you that you need to engage a funeral company. Whereas most will not offer their views, they may give advice on your request.
This may happen more where your loved one has died in palliative care, or where you have a personal relationship with the doctor or nurse.
Sometimes local GP’s, other health professionals, social workers and clergy can offer good advice.
For many people the cost of a funeral is the most important factor. This is even more so where there is limited financial resources for a funeral. It is your right as a customer/client to request all expected costs of the funeral. All funeral companies are required by law to provide accurate quotes on the expected costs of the funeral you choose.
Related articles on The Last Post
Other articles in the “How to organise a funeral” series:
This post provides an overview of our articles to make it easy for you to find what you need: