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Funeral Advocate

As a funeral advocate, I provide support and assistance during the process of planning and coordinating a funeral. My role includes helping you understand your rights and options, guiding you through the various decisions that need to be made, and ensuring that the funeral is carried out according to your wishes. I may work with the person who is planning their own funeral or memorial service, or with their loved ones who contact me after they have died. I can be a liaison between you and funeral service providers, helping to negotiate costs and services if you choose to use one. Essentially, the aim is to make the funeral process less stressful and less costly for you.

There are ethical and client focused funeral providers, and there are many that are not. Unless someone has planned their funeral in advance or has a prepaid funeral plan, the loved ones will need to make stressful decisions in a very short space of time, whilst dealing with their grief. This is during the worst time for when you need to be focused, assertive and clear headed, but it is least likely to be the case.

Unfortunately, this is also the perfect time to be taken advantage of as you are vulnerable. You are more likely to accept the suggestions offered and to agree to products and services you do not require or cannot afford.

Do you know, there does not need to be a funeral at all? You are not required to use a funeral provider, or you can use some of their services but not others. There are only three legal requirements in Victoria when someone dies (and it is not a Coroner’s case). They must be certified dead by a medical practitioner (and a second one if they are to be cremated), the body must be lawfully disposed of, and the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages must be notified.

Otherwise, there are few rules and regulations; you can be as creative as you wish to honour the memory of your loved one or to plan the funeral of your choosing. Maybe you wish for a family-led funeral, or a green funeral.  Perhaps you prefer to keep your loved one at home for a longer period until interstate or overseas mourners arrive (this can be achieved easily by using a cooling plate, which I can hire on your behalf).

If you do engage with a funeral provider, you have several choices of coffin; you can provide your own coffin (you can buy one at Costco), or make your own, or choose burial in a shroud. This is rarely suggested by funeral providers, and you may be advised it is not possible, as it may mean a lower profit margin for the funeral provider. There can be huge mark ups on flowers, catering and venue hire, urns and so on.

You are likely to be allocated a celebrant, but that individual may have less autonomy than a privately appointed celebrant. This is a minefield, and although there are good people out there, you will not be able to review and choose wisely. You will be deep in grief and likely feeling time pressured.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using a funeral company, and there’s a hybrid option. As your advocate, I can work with you to enact your wishes, or offer suggestions for alternatives that you may not have considered.

Are you or one of your loved ones going to die from a life-limiting diagnosis?

Elderly couple