Give up the funeral director? Aussies could save thousands with DIY services

When it comes to arranging the intricacies of the funeral, people can easily arrange the funeral themselves and organize speakers, the investigation says. You don’t need a funeral director to buy a coffin either, as the folks in Tasmania can even enlist the help of a coffin club to help build their own coffin.

From there, family and friends have the opportunity to carry the coffin as pallbearers, while they can also lower the body into the grave or watch it go into the oven at the crematorium.

While this isn’t for everyone, according to Jenny Briscoe-Hough, founder of a nonprofit funeral home, the trend has really picked up speed with a number of clients who have chosen to get more involved in hosting the funeral.

Since its inception, the social enterprise has organized hundreds of funerals, with nearly half of its clients choosing to come to the morgue to help prepare the corpse.

“Sometimes they don’t want to do anything and they end up doing everything, including washing and dressing the body and helping us put it in a coffin,” Briscoe-Hough explained.

However, there are a few things to consider before deciding on the DIY method, with a number of small details usually requiring the help of funeral directors.

First of all, registering a death is not easy for those who are not in the funeral business. While the forms themselves are simple, some birth, death, and marriage offices only allow funeral directors to use the online registers.

Read more: Planning Your Own Funeral: The Basics You Need To Cover

It can also get tricky with government regulations. In Australia, cemeteries and crematoriums often have no direct customer contacts and instruct you to book through a registered undertaker.

This is especially common in Western Australia, where you’ll need to employ a licensed funeral director – or get approval from a cemetery committee to organize a funeral without one.

In NSW, if you are going to prepare the body and place it in a coffin other than a morgue, you will need permission from NSW Health. As for those in Tasmania, the law requires that a corpse come out of “a regulated company premises” to be cremated.

Overall, hiring a funeral home to store, transport and care for a corpse, putting together the variety of shapes required for cremation or burial, and event planning can be the simpler option.

Meanwhile, the investigation found that direct cremation – no worship and no attendance – is the cheapest option after a death that many people may not be aware of.

Choice’s research found that many people often choose to seek help from funeral directors simply because they don’t know where to start the planning process.

As part of the investigation, Ryan announced that his mother had died in their Canberra home in 2014, but no one was there who knew what to do.

“If you are in this situation and have never been in it before, you do not know what to do about the cremation or other aspects, who has to come,” he said. “A doctor comes to the certificate, but then you ask yourself: What now?”

“There’s a price you’re willing to pay so you don’t have to worry about logistics.”

In Ryan’s case, the price was $ 7,500 paid to a funeral home.

According to a 2018 study by, the average professionally planned funeral cost in Australia is $ 7,449, with some cities being slightly more expensive. For example, if you live in Sydney, expect to pay about $ 8,357, while Hobart residents pay about $ 6,832. However, these figures are based on the starting price for burials and cremations at the large service providers, so adjustments such as cultural or religious requirements, flowers or burial information increase the costs.

Considering a DIY funeral? Do you think it’s a good idea?

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE This article is general in nature and is for informational purposes only as it does not take into account your financial or legal situation, goals or needs. That means it is not a financial product or legal advice and should not be relied on. Before making any financial or legal decision, find out if the information is appropriate for your situation and obtain independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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