Funeral costs

There are no set fees for funerals. Costs vary, depending on the cemetery or crematorium and the funeral director used. There are also variations in the cost of caskets and coffins and in the cost of grave plots. Much of the expense of a burial is associated with the burial plot. Depending on the cemetery, a single grave can cost from $2970 to $4800, plus an opening fee of $1485. In country areas where cemetery land is not so scarce, a plot will be cheaper.

Labour costs are involved in opening and closing the grave and maintaining it. Where plots are in a lawn section, the charges will include ongoing care of the plot and may include the cost of a memorial plaque.

Where a double grave is used, costs for the second burial will be limited to a re-opening fee: the plot itself will have been paid for at the first opening.

Different funeral directors offer different facilities and it is worth contacting more than one director to compare the costs of the services requested. Different companies may charge quite differently for apparently identical services.

As previously stated, from 1 February 2009 any funeral director who provides a ‘basic funeral’ must inform all prospective customers of this option by giving them a written ‘basic funeral notice’ before entering into any funeral arrangement. The basic funeral notice specifies and lists all the services provided and their cost, including the costs of disbursements.

If a customer wants to arrange a non-basic funeral, the funeral director must give them an itemised written quote, specifying each of the goods and services that will be provided and their costs, including the estimated costs of the necessary disbursements and any other disbursements.

Paying accounts

Funeral directors usually ask for a deposit on their accounts, with the balance due immediately after the funeral. This can usually be negotiated with the director, but if accounts are left unpaid for a long period of time, the funeral director may charge interest on the amount outstanding.

The average cost for a basic burial is about $4500, and for a cremation, about $3600. Prices vary greatly depending on the fees for the cemetery or crematorium, and what families request.

Approximate funeral costs for an adult (as at June 2011)

Service fee from $2000
Removal of body $300
Preservation $210
Clergy fees $275
Organist

$275

Advertising (death and funeral notice)  $285
Extra cars (per car) $330
Flowers $100
Chapel fee $180

 Burial

Coffin/casket from $800 to $10,000+
Cemetery/grave fees
(includes opening and may include plaque)
single or double from $3500+
Re-opening fee from $1800

 Cremation

Certificates for cremation x 2  $185
Cremation fees (includes use of chapel)  $950

Disposal of ashes

personally collected Nil
wall, niche, urn, rose garden from $1200
scattering of ashes Nil

Seniors Information Service

The Seniors Information Service is a free telephone information service (tel 13 12 44, TIS 13 14 50) operated by NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care. It provides independent advice about funerals to members of the public. People can call them if they are worried about costs or just want to get another opinion .

Children’s funerals

The costs of children’s funerals are very difficult to estimate. Again, there are many variations in the type of funeral that parents may want, and price depends on what services they choose.

Headstones and monuments

If family wish to have a headstone or monument erected, they should contact a monumental mason (listed in the Yellow Pages telephone directory). They should also contact the cemetery to check if there are any regulations on the height and width of the headstone. Costs depend on the materials used and on the size and the specifications of the monument. A basic memorial plaque may cost from $1500 to $3500; a family vault may be $85,000 to $125,000. Some cemeteries include the cost in the grave price. Prices vary from foundry to foundry and it is recommended that next of kin shop around. The War Graves Commission in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs can arrange for bronze name plaques with regimental insignia free of cost for certain veterans.

Rest Assured: a Legal Guide to Wills, Estates and Funerals in New South Wales, 5th edition, by Rosemary Long and Trudy Coffey. Published by The Federation Press, 2011.

Online edition published by the Legal Information Access Centre, State Library of NSW.  The online version has been updated to reflect changes to the law. Last updated October 2014.

© Library Council of New South Wales, 2011. 

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