For many, a trusted funeral director is the first port of call when going through the difficult process of caring for and saying farewell to a loved one. However, more and more, people are choosing do it yourself funeral arrangements over hiring the full services of a funeral director.
The reasons may be monetary, since the cost of funerals has steadily increased tenfold over 50 years, costing families anywhere between $4000 and $14000. However, many individuals also arrange “DIY funerals”, also known as home funerals, because of a desire to personally care for their loved one in death as in life. Writer and editor Annie Connor describes the after-death care practices as meaningful rituals to treasure:
“Someone will wash the body. Someone will dress the body. Someone will close the eyes for the final time. Someone will. At the critical moment of death, someone will perform these tasks for the person whom we have loved and cared for all our lives. Why would we give those meaningful rituals away to a stranger? Why do we give away the best stuff?” — Annie Connor
The simple answer to the question “can you organise a funeral yourself?” is yes.
Arranging a simple and personal do it yourself funeral involves organising:
- The transportation, care and preparation of the body
- The disposal of the body, whether through cremation or burial
- The medical and legal paperwork, including a death certificate and permits for burial
- The funeral arrangements, including the flowers, food, music and other aspects of the service
As it stands today, there is no legal requirement for individuals to seek the services or counsel of a funeral director when arranging a funeral. However, many people still choose to contact a trusted funeral director because they find it helpful in allowing them time to grieve.
Recent laws introduced in 2009 now require funeral directors to provide a “basic funeral” option, that is the lowest cost funeral service package, to all customers. This is the most helpful solution for families seeking to farewell their loved ones with a simple and beautiful service, while also minimising costs and alleviating the stress of organising different arrangements. For the families considering the financial aspect of farewelling their loved ones, a basic funeral or a DIY funeral are both affordable options.
Considerations for those choosing do it yourself funeral arrangements
For those thinking through their options and wondering if a DIY funeral is the right choice for your loved one, it’s important to keep these considerations in mind. While a funeral director is not a necessity for the process, often the helping hand of a professional is beneficial for navigating the legal and administrative processes and for offering supportive guidance.
Some of the administrative tasks that are made easier by including a funeral director:
- The nature of the death — If the nature of the death is sudden or unexpected, additional information and paperwork may be required by the coroner’s mortuary.
- Publishing a death notice — Many newspapers no longer publish death notices submitted by the general public, due to hoaxes in the past.
- Obtaining a coffin — Many coffin makers do not sell to the public, however there are options available.
- Organising repatriation — Funeral directors can easily navigate complicated legal processes.
For those seeking to farewell their loved one in a unique and beautiful way, we’ve compiled a funeral planning checklist. Download the free guide below to assist in planning and ensuring you’ve covered all the necessities. If you’re planning the funeral of your loved one and need the support and assistance of an experienced professional, you can contact our team today.