When someone passes away, it can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience even if the situation doesn’t come as a shock and is expected.
Most people are not experienced in this area, and many questions will arise on what to do and in what order.
If you have the knowledge in place, you will be less stressed and better equipped to handle the situation and plan ahead.
Here is a list of essential steps you need to take when a loved one dies.
There are a few different procedures in place depending on where the person dies.
- Death at a hospital or nursing home
If a person dies while in care in a hospital or nursing home, the staff will handle most formalities.
Next of kin will be notified, and arrangements can be made of where the body will be until a funeral is arranged.
- Death at home
If someone dies at home, it’s important to remain calm in the moment. If the death was expected, their regular GP can be called or the police.
A doctor will need to examine the body before issuing a medical certificate.
A funeral cannot be arranged without this formal certificate.
If the person dies unexpectedly or there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the nature of the death or you’re not sure if the person is dead, call 000 immediately.
Once the ambulance arrives, they will be able to assess the body, and if the person is dead will be able to call the police.
In some cases, a coroner may be called to determine the exact cause of death.
What about organ donation?
If the person dies in hospital, the staff will check if they are registered to donate their organs and on the Australian Organ Donor Register.
The deceased will have needed to have given prior consent for it to go ahead.
It’s an important conversation to have with your next of kin, so your decisions are upheld.
Find out if there are any funeral arrangements in place
The deceased may have already chosen a funeral director and may have already taken steps in the funeral arrangements.
They may also have entered into a pre-paid funeral agreement, so you’ll need to see if this is already in place with a chosen funeral director.
The will in itself isn’t enough to ensure funeral arrangements, and it’s up to the deceased’s next of kin or executor of the will to arrange the funeral.
If there are no current funeral arrangements in place, a funeral director can be contacted to help with the next steps.
Why contact a funeral director?
A funeral director will do everything to help you with the next steps of organisation and make every effort to reduce the burden to the family in a caring and compassionate way.
Before you decide, make sure you choose a reputable funeral director and have everything in writing.
A funeral home with a good reputation will be able to answer your questions in detail and give you a good amount of information and upfront prices.
A funeral Director will assist on a range of matters, including:
- Transport the deceased to the funeral home or mortuary
- Prepare the body
- Collect and organise the certificates from the hospital or GP
- Help with decisions surrounding legal, social, cultural and religious implications
- Decisions on the type of service and funeral
- Preparing a viewing
- Organise flowers, music and personal touches throughout the service
- Prepare newspaper announcements
- Advise the family on finance options and ways to pay for the funeral
- And more
What should a funeral cost?
Funerals can range in price depending on the type of funeral and all the different arrangements that can be made. It’s worth getting a few quotes before you decide and have everything in writing. The funeral director will be able to go through all the costs and adapt a funeral service to meet your budget needs. They can also guide you through payment options and ways the government may assist in certain circumstances.
What happens after the funeral?
After the funeral service, there will still be many things to be organised.
A couple of things to consider will be:
- Organise the Death certificate, which the funeral director can arrange
- Close bank accounts
- Sort out life insurance and other insurances
- Organise sale or transfers of the deceased estate
- Claim any superannuation or death benefits
- Notify government departments, banks, telecommunications, utilities, councils, memberships, mailing lists.
- Deactivate social media accounts
Seek additional help
Grief can be a complicated emotion to deal with, especially after organising a loved one’s funeral. It’s ok to feel like you may need to speak with someone, and a GP can refer you to see a counsellor or psychologist.
There are also support groups that are trained to help in times of loss, including:
- Beyond Blue
At Newhaven Funerals, we can provide a wide range of services to suit your precise needs. We will discuss your preferences and requirements and are fully flexible when it comes to assisting you with the planning of appropriate funeral and burial or cremation arrangements.
We understand how emotional and difficult the planning stages can be, and we offer exemplary services to help you pass this difficult phase of your life without excessive stress.
We have included a PDF copy of the article for you to download for future reference. Please click “What To Do When Someone Dies” to download a copy.
Article by Tim Connolly Funeral Director – Newhaven Funerals
Tim Connolly – Funeral Director
Newhaven Funerals Brisbane & Gold Coast.
Growing up around funerals since the age of six allows Tim a unique understanding of how a family owned funeral business should be.
Since leaving school in 1992 Tim has been deeply involved in all aspects of operating their family owned business, including operating crematoriums, memorial gardens and pet cremation business.
Tim is always available to assist all clients with any request