diy funerals image of cemetary with flowers

DIY Funerals: From the bed to the grave

DIY Funerals article as featured on eHospice Website

For the past 20 years, Zenith Virago at the Natural Death Care Centre (NDCC) has been empowering Australians to make more educated decisions when it comes to death, grief, bereavement and funerals.

Zenith has conducted over 100 ‘Do it Yourself’ funerals, involving everything from the transportation of the body from the place of death all the way through to their final resting place.

‘When I first began this work it was pioneering and sometimes I was met with obstruction, because service providers weren’t used to families taking responsibility and control of the situation,’ says Zenith.

‘I come from a legal background, so I would say ‘please show me the legislation saying I can’t do it, and I won’t.  If not, we will take responsibility for the body and the funeral process.’’

What is involved?

The service that Zenith provides is simple.  If people are interested in conducting their own funeral, she can send through the necessary forms provided by the NSW Department of Health, and speak with families who are interested about what is involved in the process.

If you do decide to take the path of doing your own funeral, you need to understand that this includes everything: transportation of the body from the place of death, organising and completing the necessary forms from various doctors and referees, organising the cremation/burial, and facilitating the ceremony at the final resting place of the person.

Zenith says that despite many misconceptions, in NSW where she is based, the process is legal.

‘If you are thinking about doing the whole process, like a DIY Funeral Director (which is legal with all the paperwork) … it is best to get that advice and information before you need it,’ says Zenith.

Why would people do this?

There are both positives and negatives to organising your own funeral; both depend on the family and individual. While some are motivated by the financial savings, others show an inherent desire to continue caring for their family members or friends well after death.

The reason why some people would decide to do this will depend on each family, but it all starts with a conversation.




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