What is the first thing I need to do when a death occurs?
Whether a death occurs at home, in hospital or in a public place, the first person who should be contacted is generally the person’s doctor. A doctor must certify that death has occurred. Normally funeral arrangements cannot be completed until the doctor has signed and issued a Death Certificate. The Funeral Director can then take the deceased into their care.
In Australia the great majority of deaths occur in hospital or other care facilities, in which case those authorities take care of the medical formalities.
In certain instances it may not be legally possible for the doctor to issue a Death Certificate and there is necessity for police and coronial involvement.
We would advise that you contact the relevant authorities for full details as regulations do vary from state to state.
How much choice does the family have in funeral arrangements?
The family has absolute choice in all of the funeral arrangements. There are only a few rare exceptions due the coronial investigations.
Who should I notify after a death has occurred?
After friends and family, you’ll need to notify your loved one’s bank, service providers, the post office and any subscriptions, at the very least.
How long between death and the committal service?
The length of time between death and the committal service can vary depending on your instructions and the circumstances of the death.
Who is responsible for arranging a funeral?
It is most common for the executor named in the will, or for family members or friends to arrange a funeral in conjunction with a funeral director.
When is a coroner needed?
When death occurs due to non-natural causes including violence, accidental, unusual causes, and unexpected death.
How do I get a Death Certificate?
Death certificates are issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state. Once the death is registered a certificate will be issued.
What is embalming?
Embalming is carried out by a qualified embalmer and is a chemical treatment of a body which disinfects and preserves it.
What happens when someone dies in a hospital or nursing home?
If death occurs at a public hospital, hospital staff will take care of all relevant formalities. At a nursing home, more onus falls on the family.