The Australian Government has introduced restrictions on public gatherings and social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means that the delivery of certain aspects of some funeral services in the manner and time intended by the deceased may be delayed for some months.
Current government restrictions limit the number of people able to attend funerals and require the observation of social distancing.
We would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the funeral industry for playing a vital role in supporting our communities during this very challenging period. We also thank members of the industry for taking innovative steps to provide live-streamed funeral services allowing greater numbers of people to farewell the deceased.
Noting the evolving advice from government authorities and the degree of uncertainty about the duration of such restrictions, the type, timing and delivery of a number of funeral services may need to be reassessed. For example, provision is often made in pre-paid funeral arrangements to cater for wakes and other gatherings, which cannot occur at this time.
Funeral directors may be prevented at this time–through no fault of their own–from delivering all of the contracted funeral services agreed with the deceased (or the family or representative of the deceased).
In these circumstances, we expect that they will remain in regular communication with the family to agree to provide a service at a later date, or if a decision is made not to proceed with such arrangements, that any residual amount from a pre-paid funeral bond that won’t be used is paid as soon as practicable to the deceased’s estate.
We encourage funeral directors to stay up-to-date with Australian Government and state government announcements as the COVID-19 issue continues.
Executive General Manager, Life & Super, Australian Unity