funeral services faq frequently asked questions

Funeral, Burial & Cremation FAQ Sydney | Central Coast

In our modern society, we rarely encounter death, and very few people have any experience organising a funeral, so it’s normal to have a few questions. We’ve put together this comprehensive list of questions and answers to try to answer as many of your questions as possible.The questions and answers are separated into four topic groups:

Funeral FAQ

Who is authorised to make the funeral arrangements?

If the deceased doesn’t have a Will, or no executor was named, the person who is responsible for arranging the funeral is the closest next of kin, e.g. wife, eldest child.
If the deceased has a Will, then the executor of the Will is the person who is authorised to make the funeral arrangements. If the will contains instructions about the funeral arrangements, then the executor does not legally have to follow those instructions, except for instructions about whether the deceased should be cremated or buried (which are legally binding). Read more about this at

What percentage of funerals are burials and cremations?

NSW Government data shows that in 2020-21, 29.5% of funerals were burials, and 70.5% were cremations.

Can we have a viewing before a cremation or a burial?

Yes. A viewing is usually a sentimental moment for the family, that helps provide closure following the death of a loved one.
A viewing can be held as either:
  • as a separate event, a day or two prior to the funeral. This allows you to choose to make it a private event for just a select group of family and friends, if you wish; or as
  • part of the funeral ceremony

How soon after death should the funeral be held?

It is possible to hold a funeral as soon as 24 hours after the death, except if it was an unexpected death and the Coroner needs to be involved.
Most funerals are held after two or three days, but can be delayed for weeks if necessary.

Where can a funeral service be held?

The three most common places are at a church, a chapel, or by the graveside at the cemetery. However, it is also possible to have it at family or other private residence, and it is also possible to arrange to have a funeral service at some outdoor venues such as beach or garden – ask Deborah, our funeral director, about what is possible.
Churches will request a donation to hire the church. Crematoriums and some cemeteries have onsite chapels available for hire. The cheapest option is to use the chapel at our funeral home in Hurstville, Sydney.
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How can a funeral service be personalised?

There are many ways to personalise a funeral service, including:
  • Place a photo of the deceased on the coffin.
  • Place other personal items on the coffin, such as a favourite hat, chessboard etc.
  • Have the deceased’s favourite music playing.
  • If they were a member of a club or organisation, invite them to attend and perhaps form a guard of honour.
  • Have family of close friends read a eulogy, poem or religious passage.
  • Organise for family and/or friends to be pallbearers.

May I participate in the funeral service?

Yes. Common ways that the family can participate is to deliver a eulogy and to form a guard of honour. If the funeral ceremony is being led by a celebrant, then you can be even more innovative in the ways you participate—it’s all up to you.

How should I write a eulogy?

See our page of tips for writing a eulogy.

What’s the difference between a coffin and a casket?

The primary differ is the shape. Coffins are tapered at the head and foot whereas coffins are rectangular.

What is embalming? When is it necessary?

The chemical treatment of a human body to preserve and disinfect it is called embalming. Embalming is usually only done in the following circumstances:
  • When the delay between death and a viewing exceeds the NSW Health guidelines.
  • When the deceased must be transported interstate or overseas.
  • When the deceased will be buried above ground in a crypt, vault or mausoleum.

Does the government provide any financial assistance following a bereavement?

Centrelink offers a variety of bereavement payments for Australian residents:
  • Single Pensioners: The estate will receive one full pension payment after the person’s death.
  • Sole Parent Pension: If a child dies, the parent may be entitled to a further 14 weeks following death. It will be paid in a lump sum.
  • Married Pensioners: If your spouse dies, you may be eligible to receive a further 14 weeks of their pension, which may be paid in a lump sum.
  • Carers Pension: If you are receiving carers pension and the person you’re caring for dies, you may be entitled to receive a further 14 weeks of pension, which will be paid in fortnightly payments.
  • Surviving Spouse – Bereavement Allowance Pension: If your spouse dies, and you do not have sufficient means to support yourself, then you may receive 14 weeks of bereavement allowance.
  • Widows Allowance: If the surviving wife has no recent workforce experience and is over 60, she may be entitled to regular payments.
You can find more information at the official government web page about the available assistance

Can a deceased body be donated to science?

Yes, under the Anatomy Act 1977 there are two ways that a person’s body can be donated to science:
  • the person who wishes to donate their body must provide consent for the donation in writing before their death.
  • Or, the senior available next of kin can provide consent in writing after death, as long as they are not aware that the person would have objected.
You can read much more about donating your body at the NSW government web page

How should I deal with grief?

We’re available on 0401 839 700 right now (24/7). Call us or click Contact Us to get in touch.‬‬‬
Servicing all of Sydney and the Central Coast

Cremation Funerals FAQ

What is cremation?

Cremation is the use of intense heat to reduce a body to its basic elements. The process takes place in a special furnace called a retort or cremation chamber, with temperatures between 900 and 1100 degrees Celsius.

Is cremation environmentally friendly?

Yes. While, in the short term, cremation produces more CO2 than burial. Studies have demonstrated that in the long term, 10-50% less CO2 is produced. This is unexpected outcome occurs because a burial plot and the cemetery grounds must have their lawn mowed and maintained far into the future. The lawn may also require fertilising and watering to keep it looking good.

When does the cremation take place?

For an attended cremation, it will begin immediately after the funeral service. Non-attended cremations will take place within about 48 hours. During that time the coffin will be stored in a refrigerated holding room.

Is a coffin necessary for cremation?

Yes, use a coffin must be used for all cremations, including direct cremations, according to the NSW Public Health Regulation 2022. If you want the coffin or casket to be present during a funeral ceremony, then you’ll probably want one that is at least basically presentable. But if you are opting for a direct cremation, or will only hold a ceremony after the cremation, then we will use an very affordable, low-cost coffin.

How long does the actual cremation take?

The actual cremation process usually takes two to three hours for an adult, depending on the weight of the person. There will also be an additional hour or two required for preparation and then for cooling of the ashes.

Can the family be present during the cremation process?

Families can only be present to watch the coffin entering the cremator, but the crematorium will charge an additional fee for this.

What can be done with the ashes?

There are several main options:

  • The ashes can be memorialised at a cemetery or memorial garden by either:
    • Placing them in a wall niche.
    • Burying them.
  • Ashes can be placed in an urn and kept at home.
  • Burying the ashes and planting a tree over the top.
  • Scattering the ashes in one or more places.

There is no rule that the ashes must be kept together, so some family members may wish to keep a portion of the ashes and the rest can be scattered, or any combination.

Can I take ashes overseas?

Yes, it is legal to take cremated ashes overseas. However, before you go, you need to contact the consulate of the country that you are travelling to and comply with their requirements. The ashes must be transported in your hand luggage in a sealed container or urn, with a copy of the death certificate, and a copy of a statement from the crematorium identifying the deceased person, noting when and where the body was cremated.

Do I need permission to scatter the ashes?

Yes, to scatter ashes you must get permission from the owners of private land, or the Trustee of parks and reserves, or from local council for parks, beaches and playing fields, because scattering of ashes in some circumstances may be illegal according to the air or water pollution guidelines. Councils and other government authorities may determine when and where scattering of ashes can take place, and may also impose other conditions.
You can get more information from the NSW government health website about what you can do with ashes.

Where are the crematoriums in Sydney located?

There are currently eight crematoriums in Sydney, located at: Kellyville Ridge, Leppington, Matraville, Macquarie Park, Minchinbury, North Ryde, Rookwood, and Sutherland.
We’re available on 0401 839 700 right now (24/7). Call us or click Contact Us to get in touch.‬‬‬
Servicing all of Sydney, Hornsby, and the Central Coast

Burial Funerals FAQ

What are some reasons for choosing a burial funeral?

The main reasons for choosing burial are:

  • Tradition: It just feels ‘right’.
  • Religious reasons.
  • Some people really don’t like the idea of cremation.

Is there any difference between interment and burial?

Legally, there is no difference between the two, but ‘interment’ is the term that’s normally used in legal documents.
In everyday language, however, there traditionally, there hasn’t been any difference between the two. However, with the increased popularity of cremation, it is more common to use ‘interment’ when referring to what is done with ashes, even when the ashes are placed in an above-ground wall niche. And ‘burial’ is more commonly used when referring to what is done with a coffin or casket—even when it is placed in a mausoleum, crypt, or vault it is called an above-ground burial.

What happens at the cemetery?

The casket or coffin will be brought to the cemetery in a hearse and placed onto a coffin trolley which is then wheeled to the burial plot. If a funeral ceremony has already taken place at a church or chapel, then the mourners will usually follow the hearse to the graveside where a second shorter service, called a committal service will be held. The family may choose whether to have a private committal service that is only for the closest family or whether to open it to all mourners. If a funeral service has not yet been held, then the entire funeral service may be held at the graveside. Upon completion of the graveside service, the casket or coffin will be lowered into the grave. Some mourners may wish to throw a flower or a little dirt into the grave. The cemetery staff will fill in the grave after the mourners have left.

Do we need pall bearers to carry the coffin or casket to the burial plot?

No, that’s not necessary. You may, if you wish to, but these days, it’s more common to use a coffin trolley, which can wheel the coffin or casket from the hearse to the grave.
We’re available on 0401 839 700 right now (24/7). Call us or click Contact Us to get in touch.‬‬‬
Servicing all of Sydney and the Central Coast

How Much Does A Burial Funeral Cost?

In Sydney, the main part of the cost of a burial funeral is the cost of the burial plot itself, which must be paid to the cemetery. The average cost of a burial plot in Sydney is over $9000, which is more than the rest of the funeral costs.

The price will vary depending on whether you chose a one or two service funeral because venue hire and hearse costs will differ.

Allow us to arrange a beautiful, dignified farewell for your loved one,
to suit your wishes and your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cemeteries & Burial Plots

Where are the cemeteries in Sydney?

There are currently eight cemeteries in Sydney, located at:  Kellyville Ridge, Leppington, Macquarie Park, Minchinbury, Matraville, North Ryde, Rookwood, and Sutherland.
Here is the government’s full list of the cemeteries in NSW

Is buying an interment right the same as buying a burial plot?

In everyday English we say ‘Buying a burial plot’, but legally, you are not buying the land, you are only buying the right to use it. Until recently, you would have the right to use a burial plot forever. But new legislation in NSW now allows cemetery operators to sell two types of interment rights (burial plosts):
  • Perpetual interment rights: are the same as before. You buy the right to use it forever.
  • Renewable interment right: the initial purchase price, only gives you the right to use the burial plot for 25 years. If you wish to use it for another 25 years, you must renew your right by paying an additional amount. You can renew it up to three time (for a total of 99 years of use). If an interment right is not renewed, the cemetery operator may place the human remains in an ossuary box and either re-inter it at a greater depth in the same plot, or move it to an ossuary house. The interment right for that plot will be sold to someone else and the plot re-used.
For more detail see the NSW Government’s Guide to the interment rights in NSW.

Who can be buried at a burial plot?

The registered holder (‘owner’) of the interment right, is officially known as the Grantee, and they specify who can be buried in the plot. One person may not legally own three or more interment rights at a cemetery. Interment rights may be bequeathed in a will and transferred like an asset.

Is burial on private land allowed?

Yes, burial on private land is legal, however, you must get approval from your local council, as it must comply with requirements such as not contaminating the drinking water, and the property must be at least five hectares in size. For full details see the NSW government’s fact sheet for burial on private land.

Is there any difference between burial and interment?

Legally, there is no difference between the two, but ‘interment’ is usually used in legal documents.
Traditionally, there has not been any difference between the two. But now that cremation is has become more popular, it is common to use ‘interment’ when referring to what is done with ashes, even when the ashes are placed in an above-ground wall niche. And it is more common to use ‘burial’ when referring to what is done with a coffin or casket—even when it is placed in a crypt, vault or mausoleum it is called an above-ground burial.

Who many people can be buried in one grave?

Most cemeteries allow more than one person to be buried in a grave, one above the other. But you must check with the specific cemetery.
We’re available on 0401 839 700 right now (24/7). Call us or click Contact Us to get in touch.‬‬‬
Servicing all of Sydney, Hornsby and the Central Coast
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