Frequently asked questions
What costs are involved?
Charles Berry & Son have always provided a funeral service on the basis of an honest and realistic price. The account we submit covers the following:
- Our charges for services provided as listed in the service of Charles Berry & Son.
- Selected coffin or casket.
- Cemetery or crematorium fee.
- Clergy offering.
- Additional Limousines.
- Press notices.
- Floral tributes required by family.
- Memorial fees. • Medical certificates.
- Any other services as selected by the family.
Should the deceased be viewed?
This is determined by personal choice. Our experience shows that most families request a viewing. Viewing has enabled many people to accept the reality of their loss with less difficulty. Private family rooms are provided for viewing either prior to the service, or the day or evening before. “Under the Cremation Act, 1891 - 1964, a person who personally knew the deceased shall, after the body of the deceased is placed in the coffin, prior to the body being removed to the crematorium, identify the body to be that of the person whose cremation the Funeral Director has been engaged to arrange, and shall sign a certificate for identification.”
How are the deceased cared for?
Hygiene and cleanliness to operating theatre standards are maintained in our preparation rooms. The deceased are treated with the same dignity and reverence they would expect in their lifetime.
Should the body be embalmed?
Modern embalming bears no relation to that practised by ancient civilisations. Embalming is not necessary in all cases. It fulfils the functions of hygienic preservation, eliminates the risk of infection and preserves the natural appearance of the deceased. This is particularly important where the deceased is to be viewed prior to the funeral service. Embalming is essential where the deceased is being transferred overseas. Embalming is a skilled process performed by trained practitioners. High standards as stipulated by the Australian and British Institutes of Embalmers are maintained.
The difference between a coffin and a casket?
The difference is basically that of design. Coffins are tapered at the head and foot and are wider at the shoulders. Caskets are rectangular and usually constructed of high quality timbers or metals to high standards of workmanship.
What clothing should be worn by the deceased?
This is again up to the family to make the decision. From our experience, families have appreciated the deceased dressed in their own clothing, whether it be formal or casual wear.
What is the procedure at the crematorium?
At the commencement of the service, the casket is placed on the catafalque until the committal period when it may be removed from sight. After the mourners have left, the casket is removed from the chapel and taken to the cremation area. Individually, each casket is cremated with the body of the deceased. Nothing is reused.
What is the cremation procedure at a single Service Funeral?
After a single Service Funeral at Berry’s private chapel or in your local church, our staff move the casket and take it to the cremation area of the crematorium. Similarly, the casket is then cremated with the body of the deceased.
Selection of memorials
Our staff can offer you professional advice on the selection of a memorial for either burial or cremation. Arrangements are usually made within a few weeks of the funeral. A sandstone plaque memorial can be purchased in Berry’s Memorial Wall at Norwood or cemeteries offer a wide selection of memorials such as:
- Niche walls with bronze or granite plaques.
- Granite walls with bronze plaques.
- Positions in rose or shrub beds.
- Positions at weeping roses, trees or special features.
- Family memorials of shrubs or trees.
Memorials may either be single or companion positions.
A private funeral
After the funeral is held, according to the family’s wishes, our consultants will insert a death notice in the press.
Are mourning symbols and dress necessary?
Mourning symbols have almost disappeared from our society. Black as a colour to be worn at funerals is becoming less customary although it is still worn by certain ethnic groups in the community.
Are funeral expenses an income tax deduction?
If the benefits are incurred for the funeral of a dependant, a certain amount of the cost is allowed as a tax deduction.
When should the funeral account be paid?
At the time of arranging the funeral, a deposit is paid. A detailed funeral account is sent out within 10 days of the funeral, with up to 30 days for the settlement of the balance of the account. The payment of the funeral account is not contingent on Probate being granted or Estates being settled. If funeral expenses are paid personally by a member of the family, that person is reimbursed from the estate in full before distribution of the estate. The person who signs the authorisation for the funeral to be conducted is the person legally responsible for the payment of the funeral account.
What funeral benefits are available?
Specified funeral allowances are available from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to the family of deceased ex-servicemen. Where death is directly connected to war injuries, the War Graves Commission provides a memorial. A small benefit is made available from the Australian Department of Social Security if you are in receipt of an age, invalid or widow’s pension, service pension, a wife’s pension, or supporting mother’s benefit.
The benefit is doubled in cases where the person responsible for the funeral expenses is also a pensioner. There may be other benefits available from Lodges, Unions, Aged & Invalid Pensioners’ Association of South Australia etc.
What should I do if death should occur whilst interstate or overseas?
Even if death occurs unexpectedly away from home, in another state or country, Charles Berry & Son can be of great help to you and can arrange to have the remains returned without additional worry. Similarly, if burial or cremation is desired overseas, in your native town or country for instance, we will see to it that all necessary arrangements are made.
What is the difference in cost between burial and cremation?
The same services are provided by Charles Berry & Son, clients select the appropriate coffin from the same range as for burial. The crematorium charge for cremation is comparable to the cemetery fee for re-opening an existing grave, but is substantially lower than the cost of most new graves.