Avoid a funeral RIP-off

Funerals can be expensive So you might choose to plan and save for a funeral now to ease the burden later

But when the time comes, you want to make sure the money will still be there, and that there will be enough You may already be covered without realising it Your superannuation or health insurance policy may include life insurance, or pay a funeral benefit Your family or your carer may be able to get help to pay for the funeral Check what help may be available from your local indigenous lands council, your local indigenous organisation, or the Department of Veterans Affairs if you have served in the defence force

Centrelink also offers a bereavement payment to eligible family members and carers, to help them adjust to the change in their financial situation If you decide to arrange funeral cover separately there are a few different options, but some may be more suitable for you than others One of the easiest ways to pay for a funeral is simply to save for it Set up a savings account, and then deposit how much you want, when you want You won't lose money if you stop making payment, or if you can't deposit money every fortnight

Speak with your bank first to make sure your family will be able to access the money quickly when you pass away Prepaid funerals let you pay for your funeral in advance through your director You can pay in full, or make regular payments over time You can choose the type of funeral you want, and pay for the cost of the funeral at today's prices Before you sign up, check if you can get a refund if you change your mind

In some states, funeral directors must put your payments into a registered funeral fund, which protects your money if their business goes broke Funeral bonds may be offered by funeral directors, friendly societies, or life insurance companies You can pay as a lump sum or make regular payments The money is invested and will grow in value It can only be used for your funeral, and normally can't be accessed earlier

If you sign up for funeral insurance, sometimes described as funeral cover or a funeral plan, you will need to make regular ongoing payments which may increase over time Ask how long you will be making payments Some policies require you to make these regular payments until you pass away Be aware that you may end up paying a lot more than the actual cover you will get Ask about when there won't be a payout

Some policies don't pay in the first two years in certain circumstances And, with most funeral plans, if you stop paying then you will lose all the money you have paid If someone comes to your door selling funeral cover don't sign anything Just ask for a copy of the brochure and tell them you'll think about it Never feel pressured to buy anything

Be careful signing up children If you sign them up when they are young you might end up paying a whole lot more than what the funeral will cost Before you sign up, talk to someone you trust, such as another community member or a community worker before signing up for funeral cover And see the booklet "Paying for Funerals" for more helpful tips If you are having problems with a funeral product you have bought talk to a financial counsellor

They offer a free service to help you sort out money problems Or, you can call your local consumer protection agency So remember, see if you already have cover, and if you are thinking of getting cover think about different options available and consider which features are best for you Ask questions before you sign up, and talk to your local consumer protection agency if you have any questions