Frequently asked questions
Understanding funeral fees
Some people believe that funerals are 'way too expensive'.
Before listing the typical costs associated with running a funeral company, I will say that not all funeral homes are created equal.
Many funeral providers have very high overheads and offer a luxurious or highly specialised experience for their clientele, which may include using top of the range European vehicles and/or horse drawn carriages etc, along with state of the art venues or having an abundance of staff present at every service.
Meanwhile others offer a more grass roots service – don't have any real estate, vehicles or staff and use interstate crematoriums to reduce their fees.
Our offering falls between the two extremes. We believe that every family and every service is different and so we start with a professional fee that includes all necessary elements required to conduct a funeral service then add other costs depending upon each family's specific requirements. This way, you only pay for what you need in order to create a fitting farewell for your loved one.
It is important to remember that while funerals may be expensive, you do only have one opportunity to lay your loved one to rest. It's worth considering the following information before selecting a funeral director. If you choose solely on price without considering the level of service you will be provided, you may be disappointed.
But when you consider the infrastructure required to be able to provide professional funeral services, it can put things in perspective.
A brand new hearse may be just a modified Commodore or Ford, but today even a regular 'Aussie' style vehicle can cost around $250,000 to purchase new. An older vehicle, perhaps 10 - 15 years old, can still cost the funeral company $100,000 to purchase.
Hearses can be hired (with a driver) as a one off or on a more regular basis if a hearse is in for repairs, and the cost of hiring vehicle and driver is quite high as well. The town car, or limo also needs to be available to transport family members to and from funerals if required. Horse drawn carriages can also be hired and these third party costs are passed on directly to the family without any loading from us.
Families can choose from a wide variety of local venues and locations, and pay the exact cost charged by the venue operator. This helps to make the funeral service more meaningful and tailored to suit each individual being farewelled.
Venues range from local community halls to yacht clubs and everywhere in between. Our preferred local venues typically cost less than $300 per event.
Our professional service fee is lower than any other provider in our region, which allows our client families to spend what they want on a venue of their choice, including their own church if applicable, rather than use a funeral director's chapel.
We provide a 24 hr on-call service, every day of the year, including weekends and all public holidays.
Directors; Andrew or Julie will personally answer your call and offer advice and guidance every step of the way.
We come to your home or invite you to visit our premises in McCrae or Dromana.
We and our staff care for your loved ones as we would want to be cared for ourselves.
Facilities and equipment
To better serve our local community, we built our own dedicated care facility, viewing room and offices in Dromana.
Families will know where their loved one is at all times and can visit for private farewells – at a time to suit them – not just on the day of the service.
If a 'No-Ceremony' funeral is chosen, family members still have the opportunity to say their private good-byes by visiting their loved one.
Our new clinical care unit is stocked with the very best resources and equipment.
Families have the option to meet with us at our offices in Dromana or McCrae.
Cemetery and Crematorium fees
Cemeteries have many overheads including cost of hiring staff to provide ongoing upkeep of the cemetery and grave sites and operating their crematoriums.
With limited space available in many cemeteries a new lawn grave can cost upwards of $3500. Rural Cemeteries vary more, but many are around $2000-4000.
Third party costs
Other elements that may contribute to a more personalized, memorable and comfortable service, include:
choosing the right celebrant for your family
audio/visual systems; live streaming, DVD and recordings
printing of orders of service etc.
newspaper tributes (can cost b/t $50–$100 per cm)
urns or scatter-tubes
adequate staff for large funerals and burial services
Choosing a Funeral Director
A loved one has been collected by another funeral director – are we obligated to use their services?
You are certainly welcome to choose your preferred Funeral Director.
If your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home or hospital, it's wise to think about who you'd want to have arrange their funeral should the need arise – and to request that staff document your chosen funeral director's name and phone number on the patient's file.
If a death occurs, and you have not been present or contactable, the care facility may call their usual funeral home to arrange collection of the deceased person without your consent or awareness. If this occurs, you are free to request that your loved one be transferred to your chosen funeral home. Be aware that you may be charged an extra transport fee for the relocation service.
Our Clinical Care facility
Where will my loved one be cared for before the funeral?
We personally care for loved ones in our fully serviced clinical care facility at U3/5 Trewhitt Crt. Dromana.
Local council by laws will only allow for mortuaries to be situated in industrial areas – regardless of which funeral provider you choose. Our chosen location – Dromana Industrial Estate – is a modern, well maintained area – more of a commercial district than a typical industrial one. Our buildings and grounds are well maintained.
We invite you to inspect our premises to understand how and where deceased persons are cared for until their funeral.
What happens when the deceased arrives at your facilities?
The deceased person will be collected by our professional patient transport team, brought to our clinical care facility, 'signed in' and placed directly into a climate controlled mortuary.
Once we receive instructions from the family or executor, we will prepare the body for cremation or burial.
This may simply entail bathing and dressing the person before placing in the chosen coffin. In some cases make up will be applied according to family wishes, especially if a viewing is to take place.
Many of our client families ask that their loved one be allowed to rest peacefully without any treatment at all.
Does the deceased need to be embalmed?
In most cases embalming is not required as our climate controlled facility can keep the deceased from the time of death until the funeral.
Embalming requires the use of toxic chemicals and is not recommended unless under special circumstances, which may include:
if the deceased is to be kept for more than 2 weeks before the funeral is to occur (especially if a viewing is required)
the coffin is to be placed in a mausoleum or crypt, or
if the deceased's remains will be repatriated interstate or overseas.
Embalming does add a significant extra cost, and will be arranged upon request.
Can I visit to view and say my private farewell before the funeral?
Yes, private viewings are arranged at Mornington Peninsula Funerals Dromana offices, at a time to suit you. There is no surcharge for out-of-hours visitations – whether it is during the week, or after hours; on a weekend or public holiday.
We endeavour to present each deceased person in a very genuine manner and it assists us to have a photograph in order to create the most natural impression.
It is also possible for family members to attend and dress their loved one, and assist with hair and make up should they wish to do so.
Can we have a lock of hair or a fingerprint as a keepsake?
Yes, we can certainly provide you with a lock of your loved one's hair.
For fingerprint memorials, we call upon Slade Shaw at Love Me Always to collect prints from your loved one and create an original, handcrafted piece of jewellery as a precious keepsake.
Coffins and Cremations
Some typical questions we are asked about the cremation process.
Can we put any special items into the coffin?
Is the coffin cremated with the deceased?
What are the most environmentally friendly options?
But possibly the most common (and important) question is:
How do I know that the cremated remains belong to my loved one?
Good question. A common myth is that the ashes you receive are a mixture of all of the cremated remains from that day at the crematorium, or that you will only receive a portion of the ashes and the rest are discarded. This is certainly not the case in Victorian regulated crematoriums. More specific (in depth) information is provided here.
Can we put any special items into the coffin?
Yes. Many families choose to place sentimental memorabilia or special items in the coffin of their loved one. You can do this at the viewing, or we can place the items for you prior to the funeral.
Items that are often placed in a coffin are:
photographs (in a frame is ok if no glass present)
memorabilia such as medals, footy scarfs (may be draped on coffin for the service and proceed to cremation with loved one)
dolls and teddies
Please keep in mind that any bulky items, eg. bibles and other books, included in coffin may add significantly to the volume of the cremated remains.
Is the coffin cremated with the deceased?
Yes. The coffin, including handles and all included items is transferred directly into the cremator.
Floral tributes will usually be cremated along with the deceased.
Indepth Cremation Information
How do I know that the cremated remains I receive belong to my loved one?
At Mornington Peninsula Funerals, we are committed to the highest standards and processes that guarantee the identity of your loved ones.
For that reason we only ever use Victorian regulated crematoriums. There are many checks and confirmations along the way.
The checks in place consist of the following:
the person must be pronounced as being deceased by a medical professional
personal identification is placed on their wrist and ankle
appropriate documentation is completed
the person is transported to our facility by a professional patient transport team and signed in
a medical death certificate or coroner's release form is obtained before any mortuary care is scheduled
identification checks occur in our mortuary before any personal care is carried out
the deceased is placed in their coffin or casket with printed nameplate fixed to lid
an identity check by an independent GP is then carried out before coffin lid is sealed
the deceased person is signed out from our facility before being transported to their funeral service (if applicable)
the deceased person will be transported to the appropriate Victorian crematorium with dignity in our hearse by one of our funeral directors
upon arrival at the crematorium, more documentation checks take place as care of the deceased is transferred to the authorised crematorium staff
here in Victoria, where cremations are highly regulated, each individual in their coffin is placed within a separate cremator for the appropriate time
Upon completion of the cremation process:
remains accumulate at the base of the cremator in an individually tagged drum
the drum is then taken from the cremator and allowed to cool
special machinery removes any metallic remnants from the deceased and their coffin, then
cremated remains are deposited into a sealed container identified with an engraved number corresponding to the booking advice
You will receive 100% of the reclaimable cremated remains of the deceased.
Family members are always welcome to make their own personal checks and identification at any step along the way. We do offer families the option of:
– following to the crematorium for final farewells, and
– witnessing of the cremation (the Crematorium will charge a fee for this service).
People are sometimes surprised at the weight of the ashes they receive. The human body is over 70% water, which evaporates, and bone density (especially among women) can also affect the weight of cremated remains.