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The things you need to know

Losing a loved one hurts, but planning a funeral shouldn’t add to the pain

Everything we do at Great Goodbyes is designed to make the journey easier for you. Because it is a journey, and a tough one, we know you’ll have a heap of questions, so we’ve included some of the frequently asked ones here. Feel free to email us also if what you need to know, isn’t covered here:

While few decide to cremate or bury based on environmental criteria, it is worth noting that natural or no embalming fluids, along with an eco-friendlier casket, free of resins, glues and varnishes, can make both cremation and burial kinder to the planet than traditional approaches. Cremation uses more energy than burial and results in more green-house gas emissions.
A body can be buried in a public burial ground like a cemetery, a private burial ground like a church, at sea, or in special circumstances, at home.
If not already pre-arranged, you will need to purchase a plot in the cemetery or burial ground of your choice. You will also have to pay an internment fee which covers the cost of digging the grave and ongoing maintenance. Finally, there is the purchase of a memorial or headstone. Burial plots prices vary from district to district. Check with your local council.
If agreement can’t be reached about where to bury, or whether to bury or cremate, the person with the legal power to make such decisions will be the executor named in the deceased’s will. If there isn’t a will, or the will is invalid or did not name an executor, then this decision-making power usually lies with the closest family member as the person with the strongest legal claim. There is a legal order of priority for who is considered closest, starting with spouse or partner, then children, parents and so forth.
There is growing interest in natural or eco-burials. There are no national standards to govern natural burials, but they typically involve the burial of an un-embalmed body in a bio-degradable casket or shroud. The burial is in a relatively shallow plot to promote rapid aerobic decomposition of the body. In most cases the burial sites are marked by plantings rather than headstones.
When a death occurs overseas, you will need to contact your nearest Embassy or Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade office. They will guide you through the options and costs for local services and help you find a funeral director in the area. The family are responsible for all costs. There are no customs restrictions to bring ashes back. There are some restrictions to bringing a body back, and you will need to work with a funeral director to make arrangements. Again, the costs will be borne by the family.
A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is a form completed by a health professional that states the cause of a person’s death. A MCCD is legally required before a body is buried or cremated, unless the death is being dealt with by a coroner. There is often a cost for a MCCD. A death needs to be registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages within three working days of burial or cremation. It’s free to register the death. Anyone can organise the burial or cremation of a body. You will need to complete an application to bury or to cremate. The MCCD needs to be taken to the local council or crematorium. A further medical form, the Certificate of Medical Practitioner, is required. This form needs to be completed by the doctor who saw and identified the body after death. This form gives more information about the circumstances of the death. If you are using a funeral professional, they will work with the relevant authorities and people to complete the necessary paperwork and register the death. This cost is covered by the funeral service fee. If you are not using a funeral director, you can check the requirements here.
A funeral director role is one of organiser. They can take care of every detail, or you may choose to take on some aspects yourself. Most funeral director services include:

1. Liaising with authorities and registering the death.
2. Transporting the person’s body.
3. Meeting with family to understand their wishes.
4. Embalming, care and presentation of the body.
5. Organising burial or cremation.
6. Arranging the funeral service and any function afterwards.
7. Arranging flowers.

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Ideas and Inspiration

We are all unique; our funeral and memorials should reflect that. Here you’ll find themes, ideas and inspiration to help you.

Planning a Great Goodbye

Put your unique ideas together in our Great Goodbyes planner as you create an unforgettable funeral.


We’ll connect you with great providers in your area, people who will help turn your Great Goodbye into reality.


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