Prepaid funeral agreements

What is a prepaid funeral agreement?

Many people pay for funerals in advance to ease the burden on families of paying at the time of a funeral.

A prepaid funeral agreement must be made following the Prepaid Funerals Act 2004.   The agreement must be:

  • in writing,
  • signed by each party to the agreement, and
  • printed in a minimum font size 10 points.

The prepaid funeral agreement must include the following information:

  • the name and address of the funeral business
  • the name and address of the person entering into the prepaid funeral agreement either for their own or someone else's benefit (the contributor)
  • the name of the approved prepaid funeral trust or deposit scheme such as the Catholic Development Fund, where the money is saved until the funeral service is provided
  • full details and costs of each funeral service
  • the due date on which full payment is required.  If payments are to be made by instalment, the amount owing and the due date of each instalment must be provided
  • any terms or conditions
  • any fees, brokerage or commission that must be paid
  • any GST or other amounts
  • any other information outlined by the Regulations.

The contributor must be given a signed copy of the agreement within 14 days after making the agreement.

There are penalties if these requirements are not met.

It is recommended you seek legal advice before signing a prepaid funeral plan.

Refunding prepaid funeral payments

The custodian is a person in charge of a funeral trust.

A funeral business must tell the custodian straight away when a prepaid funeral agreement is cancelled. The custodian has 14 days after finding out to make any refunds to the person that has paid into the funeral agreement (the contributor). The Director of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading can allow longer.

The refunded amount may not include:

  • any reasonable costs for the custodian, and
  • any reasonable costs for the funeral business.

Ending a prepaid funeral agreement

You may be a contributor to a prepaid funeral agreement for yourself or for someone else. You may write to a funeral business and cancel your prepaid funeral agreement if:

  • you or the person the funeral agreement is for (the recipient) no longer lives in Tasmania
  • you or the person the funeral agreement is for has recently changed their relationship status
  • the Director of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading says it's unreasonable the agreement should continue and/or the payments would cause serious hardship
  • the funeral business has stopped trading
  • the funeral services have already been given.

If you are a funeral business you may write to a contributor and cancel a prepaid funeral agreement because:

  • your business has stopped trading
  • your business is unable to provide the funeral services due to unforeseeable reasons.

Your funeral business can apply to CBOS to cancel a prepaid funeral agreement.  Your funeral business can do this through our online contact form.

Changing the costs to a prepaid funeral agreement

As a funeral business you cannot increase the cost of anything in the agreement after a prepaid funeral agreement has been signed. However, extra funeral services and charges can be added to the agreement.