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Losing a loved one is devastating, and the family members left behind find themselves in a very delicate and uncertain space. Many arrangements need to be taken care of quickly, so families need a funeral services provider that not only honours the lives of those who have passed on, but one that has experience and is able to assist the family with empathy.

South Africans spend over R12 billion on funeral services each year with formal and informal service providers consisting of at least 70 000 undertakers and 15 000 funeral parlours, according to the independent research organisation Who Owns Whom.

What does it cost?

The cost of a funeral varies, depending on the extras (transport for mourners, catering, gazebo and tent rentals, etc.) that are added. FinMark Trust puts the average cost of laying a loved one to rest at R40 000. Having sufficient funeral insurance with a reputable company can go a long way in covering the costs associated with a funeral.

What distinguishes the best providers of funeral services?

It is essential to deal with an experienced service provider with a good track record and understanding of South Africa’s different beliefs, customs, traditions, and values. A group like AVBOB, who has been in the business for more than 100 years, is in the fortunate position of offering funeral insurance and burial services under one roof, streamlining the whole process. And when a person insured under an AVBOB policy passes, the family has access to FREE member benefits*over and above the insured amount.

Also important is to have access to a firm that can give 24-hour assistance, including a national telephone number that you can dial at any time. It is encouraging to know that there are companies out there that can immediately assist with trusted undertakers who will take care of all the arrangements, including contacting a doctor to issue a death certificate and the transportation of the deceased to the service provider arranging the burial.

Arrangements are traditionally made at a funeral home, but undertakers also offer the option of planning the burial or cremation from the family’s home. In this way, families are given privacy and time to mourn, with no need for unnecessary travelling.

Undertakers assist with an array of arrangements

Some of the organising that an undertaker can assist with includes the following:

  • Organising the burial, cremation, or aquamation (water cremation)
  • When and where the service will take place
  • Arrangements with the pastor, priest, minister, or spiritual leader
  • Having an organist, pianist, and/or other musician
  • Organising a family viewing of the deceased
  • How the deceased will be dressed and whether the deceased will be in an open casket
  • The type of coffin or casket to be used and deciding on the pallbearers
  • The type of ash coffin to be used if the loved one is cremated
  • Helping with planning who will deliver the eulogy
  • Assisting with compiling and placing death notices in newspapers
  • Deciding on flowers and whether they should be donated after the service
  • How to personalise the ceremony and whether to offer catering
  • The choice of a tombstone

*Ts and Cs apply. FSP 20656. FREE funeral benefits only apply if AVBOB Funeral Service conducts the funeral. AVBOB is an authorised financial services provider. AVBOB is a level 2 B-BBEE contributor. FSP 20656.

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