Death becoming much more expensive

FUNERAL EXPERT: Ben Little of Dolphin Funerals, Murwillumbah.
FUNERAL EXPERT: Ben Little of Dolphin Funerals, Murwillumbah. John Gass

DEATH isn't what it used to be. These days, like most things, it's becoming much more expensive.

Funerals can cost from $4500 for a basic cremation to around $22,000 for a more elaborate casket, flowers, burial and headstone, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

That is, unless you want to skip the trimmings and keep it simple.

"You shouldn't feel obligated to purchase a traditional package if it doesn't suit your needs," said Ben Little, a third generation undertaker.

His grandparents Fred and Ivy owned Murwillumbah Funerals, Byron Bay Funerals and Beckinsale Funerals at Bangalow. Fred was also the local sheriff at Murwillumbah in the mid to late 1960s.

Ben has operated his own funeral business, Dolphin Funerals, since 2008 and said that a growing number of people want to do things differently when it comes to their farewell.

"They want something more simple and authentic and it's often not a price driven decision," he said.

Families often grieve differently and Mr Little said: "My responsibility is to help them understand all of their options."

A popular option is a reusable solid camphor laurel casket shell.

A private cremation, a $1903 service, is also in demand. It includes collecting the body 24 hours a day seven days a week, all mortuary attention and preservation, completion of all paperwork, an environmentally friendly cardboard coffin, and personal delivery of the ashes to the loved one's family or friend's home.

"It can be less stressful for the family if they arrange a family get together down the track, and sprinkle the ashes somewhere significant followed by a lunch or dinner party in memory of their loved one."

Mr Little said a traditional church or chapel funeral service followed by cremation using a polished flat lid coffin costs around $4600 with flowers and funeral notices additional.

He services a large area from Brisbane to Evans Head, Casino to Kyogle.



Basic cremation: From $4500

Elaborate funeral: $22,000 plus

Key things to consider: Casket, flowers, burial, headstone, wake

Topics:  death editors picks

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