I want to take control_sally BANNER
FUNERAL PLANNING

‘I want to take control’: Sally’s search for a simple funeral turns complex

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  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • August 11, 2020
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Tasmanian mum, Sally Catherall, is a woman who knows what she wants in life and death – but she’s finding it hard to get.

Sally has a terminal, but treatable, form of cancer, but still has a lot of fight left in her. She’s also not backing down on her challenge to pre-plan an affordable and fuss-free funeral to take the stress off her kids.

The Kingston woman contacted Bare after experiencing funeral directors who were inflexible and vague about their services and pricing. Sally says other funeral providers insisted on extra – and costly – components of a funeral service that she didn’t want.

The 61-year-old also wants to leave as much of her estate as possible to her two adult children, rather than handing over thousands to funeral directors.  

“I want to take control,” Sally says of her end-of-life planning. The self-professed Atheist says she doesn’t want a church service – just a simple burial that doesn’t cost a fortune. 

“I don’t want flowers. I don’t want a memorial service. I don’t want a minister – all this stuff. I don’t want all the frills.

Tasmaninan mum Sally Catherall in hospital receiving treatment for cancer.
Sally Catherall stands confidently in hospital while receiving treatment for a terminal, but treatable, form of cancer.

“My children will have enough to deal with when they are grieving. And I want to take away from them the pressures that can be put on by funeral directors when my children will be so vulnerable,” she says.

Sally’s experience in arranging her mother’s funeral about 10 years ago was a wake-up call to what she describes as “real price-gouging” in the funeral industry. She says the funeral parlour charged inflated prices for components including newspaper advertising, the casket and sandwiches at $50 per person. 

“They get you at a time when you are most vulnerable and they upsell. You’re being told by the funeral director that you need to do this and that. The whole thing blew out ridiculously. You end up agreeing to all sorts of things… People just accept it and get the bill at the end. Because to challenge anything after someone has just died sounds petty.

“There is always fluffing about and trying to up-sell unnecessary ‘stuff’ without any direct answer,” Sally says. “They wouldn’t give me a specific price. They also wouldn’t tell me what I could delete [to bring down the price]. I just could not get a definitive answer on costs. That just ticked me off so much!”

No-frills funerals meet the needs of a shifting demand

She says people’s attitudes to funerals are changing, and Bare Cremation is addressing that need. “People don’t want [traditional] anymore. People want more transparency. People are more savvy.

“The thing Bare offers is a no-frills funeral. Many people don’t want their estate to go to paying for a funeral. They want their estate to go to their kids. A lot of people want their children to inherit as much as possible. Funerals are $5, $10, $15,000 – and they take that off the inheritance.

Tasmanian mum Sally Catherall wants as much of her estate to go to her kids as possible when she dies, rather than to a funeral director.
Tasmanian mum Sally Catherall (middle) with daughter Savannah and son Connor. She wants as much of her estate to go to her kids as possible, rather than to a funeral director.

“I am not interested in spending money unnecessarily; I want as much of my estate as possible to go to my children.”

While Bare only offers direct cremation services, we love hearing stories like Sally’s. We fully support people having choice and ultimately going their own way.

You can find out more about how a Bare Cremation is different from a traditional cremation here, and get some tips on how to plan your own DIY funeral here.

Read what inspired some of our customers to pre-arrange their cremations with Bare in our customer stories section on our website.

If you have any further questions or to get a quote for a prepaid cremation visit the Bare Cremation website or call 1800 431 584.

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