A celebration of a loved one's life, and your time to say goodbye
Most families are generally unsure of the correct procedures to follow when faced with organising a funeral. The funeral and the ceremony that accompanies it are very important for those who are left behind. A funeral provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce; an opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one; a chance to say goodbye; and the focal point from which the healing process can begin.
The first decision that needs to be taken is choosing a funeral director. Please contact the Funeral Directors Association ( 9251 1444 ) http://www.fdansw.com.au/ or the Australian Funeral Directors Association ( 03 9859 9966 ) for your nearest funeral director.
The funeral identifies that a person's life has been lived, not that a death has occurred. Macquarie Park offers the following funeral planning tips as a guide only as we can not realistically include everything you need to know, and do, to ensure a fitting tribute to your loved one. In addition to Macquarie Park's Cemetery and ash garden fees and Cremation fees for 2012.
This funeral planning summary touches on the essential subjects of:
Once appointed, your funeral director will carry out and manage many of the funeral's fundamental requirements. He or she will arrange discussions with you and your family or executor, either at their office or at your home. At this meeting, the deceased as well as his or her family's funeral wishes will be defined and agreed. Various practicalities will be discussed including the statutory documents and forms that will need to be completed and signed before funeral arrangements can commence.
Your funeral director will usually look after:
Collecting documents and meeting legal requirements
Removal of the body
The coffin (casket) and care of the body
Burial plot purchase plus opening and closing arrangements
Provision of a hearse
The crematorium and/or graveside service.
Beyond the above, your funeral director may also arrange a pre-burial service, organise the use of the chapel, arrange for mourners' cars, flowers and obituary announcements in the newspaper.
It is recommended that you contact more than one funeral director to compare costs and services to ensure that they suit you and your family's needs.
Your local funeral directors contact details are available from The Australian Funeral Directors Association the organisation will provide you with a list of local accredited funeral directors, they can be contacted on (03) 9859 9966 or search the AFDA's website directory at www.afda.org.au.
What you do when death occurs
Should death occur at home you must firstly contact the person's doctor, as a doctor must certify that death has occurred. Normally funeral arrangements cannot be completed until the doctor has signed and issued a Death Certificate.
Who's responsible for arranging the funeral?
This responsibility usually falls on the shoulders of the next of kin, most often the deceased's spouse, child, parent, legal partner or sibling.
Obituaries may be put in the newspaper by family or if required the funeral director can place a funeral notice to advise when your Macquarie Park Service is to be held. You can also place online notices on funeral notice Internet sites or on your social networking website.
Burial or cremation?
People have a choice of either burial or cremation, usually the deceased makes provisions in their Will, and also ensures immediate family are made aware of their preference.
You may choose to hold your funeral service at any of Macquarie Park's three chapels followed by a private burial attended only by immediate family, or conduct the entire service at the graveside.
Cremation services are held at your preferred Macquarie Park crematorium chapel. In Australia today cremations now outnumber burials. In certain cultures cremation is not favoured, or is prohibited within certain faiths, whilst in others like Hindu tradition, cremation is the custom.
Who can take part in the ceremony?
A funeral ceremony may include anyone the family of the deceased would like to involve. Usually, a funeral ceremony is led by an ordained member of the deceased faith or a civil celebrant. Civil celebrants prepare the eulogy and will incorporate appropriate poetry or other readings you select.
It is quite normal to involve a member of the family or a close friend who may wish to contribute to the service by making a personal tribute. Sometimes others from relevant organisations, such as a Masonic Lodge or the RSL may be included in the ceremony.
Web streaming of your Chapel service
In any of the three chapels, your service can be web-cast to anywhere in Australia or overseas via internet. 24 hours notice is needed to arrange this service, so make sure your funeral director is aware of your wishes when booking your chapel. There is a fee that comes with this service. .
Embalming, is it necessary?
The embalming process involves chemical treatment in order to sanitise and preserve the body most often for presentation at a viewing. Depending on religious or cultural practices embalming will need to be authorised by the bereaved family.
Music - live or recorded
Many people have a favourite tune or song on CD that they would like to be played at their funeral. When selecting the accompaniment to their service it is important to consider all the people who have assembled to pay their respects, as some of the deceased selections may adversly affect mourners or the overall mood of proceedings.
Any appropriate music (recorded or live) may be played in any of Macquarie Park's three chapels. Each is equipped with Digital (CD) audio, PowerPoint and video playback and a dedicated audiovisual technician. There are electronic keyboards in Magnolia and Palm Chapels and an organ in Camellia Chapel. Live pictures and sound can be broadcast over a distributed sound system and LCD screens, in addition to an in-house hearing loop for the audibly impaired. The proceedings are recorded to DVD as a keepsake and also can be uploaded live to the internet and viewed on a remote computer via the web as webcast video.
Your personal music choice and any additional music selections can be pre-arranged in conjunction with your Funeral Director.
Today, flowers are not mandatory, but they remain a popular way people express their love for the deceased and concern for members of the family.
Flowers can be ordered from Macquarie Park's on-site specialist florist and delivered direct to the funeral chapel prior to the associated service, alternatively flowers can be sent to family members homes, but not to the funeral directors.
Although flowers are freely accepted by many religions and cultures at funerals, it is worth remembering that there are some which do not traditionally receive flowers such as the Jewish and Islamic faiths.
Who else should be notified following the death of a loved one?
It is also important to notify the community that this person has died. There is also the necessity of notifying numerous organisations that the deceased had relationships with. Upon obtaining a copy of the Death Certificate from the Funeral Director, the following authorities are a suggested list.
Local Council (Rates)
Utilities (Gas, Electricity)
RSL (if a returned service man or woman)
Paying funeral expenses
The person who contacts the funeral director and orders the funeral is legally responsible for paying the costs of the funeral, although the money will usually come from the deceased's estate. If money is a problem it is worth asking your funeral director if their fees are negotiable or can be made by instalment. Some banks and other financial institutions will release funds from a deceased person's account to pay funeral expenses. In addition to the funeral directors fee there are crematorium , burial and memorialisation costs to consider.
If the deceased was an ex-service man or woman, you may be entitled to claim a funeral allowance from the Department of Veterans' Affairs. In some cases, the Australian Government makes an allowance for the funeral expenses of pensioners' spouses. Some organisations, like trade unions, Lodges and medical benefit funds, also provide members and their next of kin with funeral benefits.
Each of these organisations have different pre-requisites for obtaining funeral benefits. As we are not qualified to advise families, we recommend that you contact these organisations directly for more information and procedures for claiming any applicable rebates and allowances.
This may take place just prior to the funeral ceremony, or several days beforehand, depending on the family's wishes. During the viewing, letters, cards, photographs, flowers or special mementos may be placed in the coffin with the deceased.
You may choose to hold it at your parish church, chapel or your home. The advantage of viewing in the family home is not having the time restrictions imposed by a church or funeral parlour viewing hours.
Will organ donation affect my funeral arrangements?
Organ donation, which is possible only in a major hospital, requires the informed consent of the next of kin. If your loved one passes away in a hospital and the deceaseds organs are donated, then your funeral arrangements are not affected.
All your requirements will be covered in accordance with your instructions by your Macquarie Park family consultant and funeral director. Telephone 02 9805 0499 or complete an on-line enquiry right now to ensure your funeral arrangements proceed smoothly to the conclusion your loved one deserves.