The cost of a funeral very much depends on the choices made and the region where the funeral is held.
Your funeral director can explain the costs of a funeral to you. It is important to let your funeral director know if you have financial constraints so they can work with you and ensure your funeral costs do not get overwhelming. If you are planning in advance, you can request an online funeral estimate from your local Funeral Directors Association member firm.
Many people pre-arrange and make a pre-payment towards their own funerals. This can help relieve loved ones of emotional and financial concerns. You can create a pre-paid funeral plan through The Funeral Trust, which allows you to set money aside for a future funeral.
It is important to remember when planning a funeral that the funeral cost is made up of many elements. Firstly there is the funeral director's fee, usually called a professional service fee. This fee generally includes:
taking instructions from the family
transporting the deceased
preparing, embalming and casketing the deceased
arranging the service
printing the service sheets
liaising with the florist, minister or celebrant
organising newspaper notices
liaising with the council regarding a burial plot
liaising with a crematorium
providing authorities with the death certificate and burial/cremation information
This fee also covers premises, vehicles, staff salaries and the need to provide a 24 hour service. Other costs contributing to a funeral account are the costs associated with a burial (such as the purchasing of a plot) or a cremation.
The final bill also includes disbursements and other charges which may include church/venue fees, doctor's certificates, catering; service sheets; minister or celebrant; flowers; newspaper notices; organist, interment fees, DVD presentations /recordings, memorial books and death certificates. These costs are usually paid by the funeral director on behalf of the family and the cost then passed on to the family.
To explore ways to keep costs down for your funeral read Consumer NZ's article 'Funerals: The cost of dying'
Support paying the bill
Funerals can be paid by the estate of the deceased, a pre-paid funeral plan or the person organising and authorising the funeral. In some circumstances, Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ), the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), and Veterans' Affairs New Zealand also have grants set up to contribute towards the funeral costs.
The funeral grant available through WINZ will contribute to funeral costs for families meeting their income criteria. This grant will not cover the entire cost of a funeral.
ACC will contribute to the cost of a funeral if the death has been as the result of an accident.
Veterans' Affairs New Zealand will cover funeral costs for eligible veterans.