When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies

Often the first thing that is said to us when someone has died is I dont know what to do’.

When someone dies it can be difficult to know what to do. If you feel overwhelmed, take the time to call a family member, or a friend, who can support you at this time. What you do next depends on where the person died, and how the death occurred.

If someone has passed away at Home and a doctor has attended and issued a life extinct or cause of death certificate then you can call us and we will organise to transfer your loved one into our care.

If someone has passed away at a Nursing Home or Private Hospital, then the staff will usually contact the nominated Funeral Director.

If death occurs in a Public Hospital, the hospital administration will complete formalities such as the Cause of Death Certificate, however it will be up to the family of the deceased to contact the Funeral Director. It is usual for people to be unsure of what to do in the immediate aftermath of a bereavement. We take you through the initial steps and provide advice on other things you may need to think about when someone you know dies.

We understand that you may not have been in this position before. We will help you every step of the way.

Once you have entrusted your loved one to us we will take care of them with the same dignity and reverence they would expect in their lifetime.

Your loved one will be taken from their place of death to our mortuary.  We wash and dress everyone in our care and some people like to provide us with items such as your loved ones’ favourite clothes.

Our trained practitioners maintain the highest standards and will carry out your wishes carefully and respectfully.

In some rare circumstances embalming may be required. Embalming delays the natural processes that take place after death. We will inform you if there is a legal requirement for embalming and we will arrange this for you.

Under certain circumstances a death must be reported by the police, doctor or hospital to the coroner.

In this case there will be no Cause of Death Certificate. These legal processes take time and can not be rushed.

  • We will organise everything for you including the required legal paperwork.
  • We will apply to the coroner to have the deceased released into our care.
  • We will keep you informed.
  • We will advise you of an appropriate time line for when a funeral may take place.

What is an autopsy?

An autopsy is a post mortem examination of a body performed by a medically qualified pathologist using scientific means. It may be required by the State Coroner to determine the cause of death. During an autopsy the body is examined externally first, then is opened so internal organs can be examined. If required, organs may be removed for further test. Families need to be aware that an autopsy can delay the Funeral.

Once you have entrusted your loved one to us we will take care of them with the same dignity and reverence they would expect in their lifetime.

Your loved one will be taken from their place of death to our mortuary.  We wash and dress everyone in our care and some people like to provide us with items such as your loved ones’ favourite clothes.

Our trained practitioners maintain the highest standards and will carry out your wishes carefully and respectfully.

In some rare circumstances embalming may be required. Embalming delays the natural processes that take place after death. We will inform you if there is a legal requirement for embalming and we will arrange this for you.

Questions to consider before meeting with your Funeral Planner.

The most common statement we hear when people contact us is ‘We don’t know where to start’.

Community Funerals have developed a comprehensive list of questions that will help guide you through the process. You do not need to answer any or all of the questions prior to meeting with the Funeral Planner

These questions will help focus your discussions with other family and friends as you prepare for the meeting with the Funeral Planner.

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  1. Which family member, partner or friend will be the main contact for arranging the funeral ?
  2. Do you have the information required to register the death? Your Funeral Planner will register the death on your behalf and help you locate any missing information. You can download A Death Registration form here or complete online.
  3. Does the deceased person have a written funeral plan of their wishes?
  4. Does the deceased person have any Funeral Insurance or a Funeral Bond? If so, do you have a copy of the policy or do you know the name of the provider?
  5. Is there a preference for burial or cremation?
  6. Where would you like to hold the funeral service? Would you prefer a church, funeral chapel, community venue, outdoor venue or a private service?
  7. If burial is preferred, what cemetery is to be used?
  8. If burial is preferred is there an existing plot, reservation or preferred part of the cemetery?
  9. If burial is preferred would you prefer a headstone or a plaque in the lawn section?
  10. Who would you like to conduct the funeral ceremony? Would you like to use our Funeral Celebrant or do you have a preferred minister, priest or celebrant?
  11. Would you like a viewing of the deceased person? When would you like to hold the viewing?
  12. What clothing would you like the deceased person dressed in and who will provide these to the Funeral Planner?
  13. Is the deceased wearing any jewellery, rings or other valuables that you would like returned?
  14. Do you have any special items to place in the coffin or casket e.g. religious symbols, photos, letters or personal belongings?
  15. What variety, colour or style of flowers would you like placed on the coffin or casket?
  16. Would you like any charities mentioned in the funeral notice or at the service? Some people prefer donations in lieu of flowers and we can have donation envelopes available at the service.
  17. Would you like to nominate Pall Bearers to carry the coffin or casket?
  18. Would you like a printed service sheet or booklet?
  19. Would you like any newspaper notices ? What newspapers would you prefer?
  20. Is there any special music that you would like played at the service?
  21. Would you like a musician, piper or organist to play at the service?
  22. Will a eulogy be read at the service? Who will write the eulogy and who will read it?
  23. Is the deceased a War Veteran or previous member of the services, and would you like the RSL involved in the service?
  24. Would you like to involve any clubs or social groups in the service?
  25. Would you like an audiovisual presentation at the service? Please note that audiovisual presentations are not appropriate in some venues.
  26. Would you like a release of balloons or butterflies at the service?
  27. Would you like the funeral service professionally recorded?
  28. If cremation is preferred would you like to purchase an urn for the ashes.
  29. Are you holding a wake or gathering after the service? If so, where will you hold the gathering and who will be responsible for organising this.

Your Funeral Planner will do this for you and ensure that you receive a copy of the State Death Certificate as soon as it is available. If there has been a Coronial investigation the Death Certificate may be delayed.

It is helpful to bring copies of any Birth and Marriage certificates to the meeting if they are available. To assist the Funeral Director register the death you need to have the following information:

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Deceased Details

  • First name:
  • Middle names:
  • Family name:
  • Gender: M / F
  • Date of birth:
  • Date of death:
  • Age:
  • Place of death:
  • Residential address:
  • Main occupation or profession during life:
  • Place of birth:
  • Year arrived in Australia (if born overseas):
  • Aboriginal: Y / N
  • Torres Strait Islander: Y / N
  • Current marital status:
  • Number of marriages in total:
  • Place of marriage:
  • Age at time:
  • Name of spouse:
  • Father’s full name:
  • Father’s occupation:
  • Mother’s full maiden name:
  • Mother’s occupation:
  • Total number of children of deceased:
  • All children’s first names & dates of birth: (including any deceased children)

What are the costs of planning a Funeral?

Our Funeral Services are always provided on the basis of an honest and realistic price.

The account we submit generally covers the following:

  • Professional service fees, including paperwork and liaison with external parties to coordinate the Funeral Service
  • Your selected coffin or casket
  • Cemetery or crematorium fee
  • Clergy/Celebrant offering
  • Newspaper notices
  • Floral tributes
  • Medical certificates/permits
  • Memorial printing (service sheets/order of service)
  • Any other additional services as requested by the family

We offer the following checklist as a guide if you are responsible for the affairs of someone who has died:

  • Solicitor
  • Banks
  • Centrelink
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Medicare
  • Finance companies
  • Hospitals
  • Local government – rates
  • Electricity, gas and telephone providers
  • Home nursing service
  • Insurance companies
  • Credit card providers
  • Professional associations
  • Social clubs including RSL
  • Medical practitioners
  • Department of Transport – vehicle registration
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Public Trustee
  • Superannuation funds
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Dentist
  • Electoral office
  • Accountant
  • Gardening/mowing services
  • Health insurance fund
  • Employer
  • Church
  • Pharmacist
  • Australia Post
  • Home delivery services
  • Telephone and internet providers

Click on this link to go to the Australian Bereavement Register.

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