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Step 3: Funeral or Memorial arrangements and registering the death

When someone passes away, representatives of the Estate can find themselves facing a number of expenses in addition to the costs associated with a funeral or memorial service.

Preparing for a funeral or memorial service can often be confronting. Your loved one may have had a prepaid funeral arrangement in place. If so, this will certainly help to manage costs. Other times you may not know what your loved one intended for their funeral arrangements, and there may be no instructions in the Will or other papers.

Funerals can be costly and in general you should allow upwards of around $7,000, though this varies widely depending on the provider and the type of funeral you choose.

What is the difference between a Funeral and a Memorial Service?

A Funeral Service is a traditional service held to celebrate and honour the life of a loved one. A funeral will usually occur within a few days of the person’s death, and the body of the deceased person will be present at the funeral service. A Memorial Service is a service held to pay tribute to the life of a deceased person. If a burial has already taken place prior to the service for a loved one, the service is considered a Memorial Service.

Westpac Funeral or Memorial Expense Assistance

We are able to assist with paying for the costs for the funeral or memorial from the deceased’s account(s) where there are funds available. This is subject to all the Executor/s, solicitors or Next of Kin/s agreeing, and making a request for the funeral costs to be deducted from the account(s).

If there are funds available in the deceased’s account(s) you can send us the original tax invoice, and we will make the payment on your behalf. If there aren’t enough funds in the account(s) we will make a part payment with the money available and close the account(s).

If you would like to claim for costs already paid, you can send us the original invoice and tax receipt, with the payee’s name clearly stated, and we will reimburse the payee directly.

Registering the Death

The death certificate can usually be obtained from the Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages in your State or Territory.  If you have a funeral director, they will ask you for the information required and will register the death after the funeral or memorial service has taken place.

If a funeral director is not involved with the funeral arrangements, the person who manages the final arrangements for the deceased is responsible for registering the death. Depending on which State or Territory the deceased resided in, a doctor or coroner is also responsible for registering deaths.

Other allowances

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim financial assistance for immediate funeral costs following the death of your loved one. The Government may provide bereavement allowances for eligible Australian residents which may be accessed through organisations such as Centrelink or The Department of Veterans Affairs.

If your loved one has superannuation, you may be able to access their superannuation, or even gain early access to your own superannuation to help cover funeral expenses. Some insurers and private health funds and Unions may also provide assistance.

 

Things to consider:

Funds from the deceased Estate may be available to cover other costs such as utility bills, medical fees, aged care facility bills, costs associated with lodging an application for Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration or a Probate Bond.

Remember to check if a prepaid funeral plan exists for the deceased person.