Costs and how to compare prices

01 January 2021
Costs and how to compare prices


Costs vary, based on a number of different factors.

  • Burial or Cremation. While many people believe that cremation is less expensive than burial, this is not necessarily the case. Costs will depend upon the memorial location within the cemetery and the type of memorial option chosen.
  • Choice of the cemetery. It may be the case that costs will be higher in historic cemeteries as there may be very little available land and, therefore, limited opportunities to purchase. In these instances, it is important that fees are set at an appropriate level to contribute to the ongoing maintenance of the cemetery.

Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation reporting to the Department of Health. This structure ensures services are available for the whole community and the prices are government approved and gazetted.

We offer an extensive range of burial and cremation memorial options to suit a variety of cultural and personal needs. Prices will vary, depending on the nature of your preferences. Our Client Services Consultants will carefully guide you through your options.

For information on pricing, please visit our Graves, Crypts and Cremation services pages.

Comparing prices

When comparing prices, it is essential to ensure that:

- Your quote specifies and covers all of your needs. For example, purchasing a grave not only involves the cost of the land itself but also requires a fee to be paid for the interment. Always inquire about any additional charges.

If you are comparing costs between cemeteries, you are comparing like locations. If you are unsure, our Client Services Consultants will advise you.

You have viewed the locations that have been quoted to ensure that they meet your expectations. Choosing a place is an important long-term decision with many factors to take into account.

Planning Ahead

Many families choose to benefit by planning and securing positions at today’s prices with a not-for-profit community cemetery. Planning helps to reduce the pressure for the family at what can be a very emotional time while providing clear instructions on how to honour loved ones.

Advantages of planning:

  1. -Protection against future price increases. On the date of the deposit, prices are fixed so you are unaffected by any future price increases.
  2. As the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust administers each cemetery, your funds are securely invested in a not-for-profit organisation that has been serving the community since 1852.
  3. Family members are not burdened financially. When decisions are made and paid for in advance, there is nothing more to pay and no ongoing fees.
  4. Purchasing ahead of time provides an opportunity to secure specific locations so that the memorials of family members will be positioned together.
  5. Critical decisions are made and accurately recorded to ensure that wishes are carried out and family members are reassured that they are doing what was wanted.
  6. You also have the option of purchasing now with interest-free, extended payment terms available.
  7. Cemetery plots are not counted as assets and therefore do not impact pension payments.
  8. You have the ability to cancel in the future if required and receive a refund. Refunds for cemetery plots are based on the current day value e.g. if you purchase today and cancel in 10 years time, the refund is based on the price in 10 years time, not the price originally paid.

If you would like to arrange an obligation free appointment to discuss the options available, please contact us.

For a list of current funeral directors throughout Victoria that can support you, with a filtered option for SMCT registered funeral directors across SMCT's nine cemetery and memorial locations, please see our Funeral Director Search.

Beware of alternative pre-planning options.

If you have considered alternative ways of pre-paying funeral expenses, please ensure that you understand what you are receiving.

It is important to understand that:

  • some providers allow you to make small regular payments over a period of time, however often the price is not fixed until the last payment is made only some pre-paid funeral plans offered by funeral directors offer a refund if you wish to cancel
  • funeral Bonds offered by Friendly Societies and Life Insurance Companies may attract annual fees, which can vary. Also, the money invested can only be used to cover your funeral and cannot be accessed earlier or for any other reason.

Beware of the fine print with funeral insurance given:

  1. during the first 12 or 24 months, you are usually only covered for accidental death
  2. the older you are, the higher the premium
  3. missing the payment of a premium will mean that you are no longer covered. The entire benefit is lost and all past premiums paid are forfeited
  4. with a typical contract, from age 60 to age 85, for a $15,000 payout, premiums amount to approximately $54,593*. This is likely to be many times the cost of one funeral!

* Rice Warner Actuaries Report, September 2010.

Please note. If you have already committed to Funeral Insurance, please talk to one of our Client Services Consultants who will guide you in relation to your options.

Comparing the Alternatives

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