What To Do When Someone Passes Away

Which Funeral Director?

There is much to think about when your loved one passes away and if you haven’t experienced this before you can feel at a loss with what to do.

At Home

If the death occurred at home and the death was unexpected, then the first thing to do is telephone “000” to inform the police who will then take over the situation. The police will contact the Coroners who will then determine the cause of death. At this time, you can also contact a funeral director who will be able to guide you through the process. Just talking to someone experienced can certainly put your mind at ease. Make sure that you feel comfortable with that person, it can make a big difference when you are feeling vulnerable at the very emotional time.

If the death was expected because of a terminal illness in which the deceased wanted to be closer to the family and their home, then you can contact your regular family doctor who will write out a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Then you can contact a funeral director who will speak to the doctor when it is time to take your loved one into their care. After the transfer takes place, you can proceed to make funeral arrangements.


If the death was an accident at work, e.g. then telephone “000” to inform the police. There will be other things to consider, was it a workplace accident or did the deceased have a heart attack and die of natural causes. Either way the coroner will take control of the situation. There are many things to consider.

Hospital or Nursing Home

If the deceased passes away in a hospital or nursing home, then the deceased’s doctor will prepare the medical certificate of cause of death and hand to the funeral director when they are transferring into their care. The hospital will usually ask if you have a funeral director arranged, but if not, you can call one of your choice.

The Funeral Arrangement Process.

If you have not already called your funeral director, you may need to ask someone close to you about someone that they have used and if they were happy with that company. This is the time not to rush into choosing anyone.

Some large companies have much higher fees because of the number of branches or because of what they spend on their advertising. Someone has to pay for that and it is usually you.

Just because someone only has one branch and charges a lower price, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be professional in everything they do.  Most times it will be this company has that more time to spend with the family and not rushing off to another arrangement. Make sure that you ask the funeral consultant at the first telephone call, if they have to go to another appointment straight after you.

You want someone who will spend enough time with you to make sure that they are getting the details right. They will ask a lot of questions, so if you have had time to think about the following things, it will make it easier at the arrangement.

  • Where the funeral will be held (Church, Chapel or other venue, park, etc.).
  • If it is a burial of cremation
  • Which Cemetery or Crematorium.
  • Clergy or Celebrant
  • What type of coffin you would like for your loved one. (Ask the funeral director if they have a website you can look at the coffins before they arrive at your home).
  • What type of flowers your loved one liked.
  • What music you would like to play at the service.
  • If you would like to have a DVD presentation.
  • You may like to have a singer.
  • Viewing.
  • Write out your death notice before the funeral director arrives, this will save time. It can also be an emotional time when you are constructing your wording.
  • If you would catering after the service.
  • Memorial Book or pages
  • Getting clothing ready for your loved one to be dressed in for the Viewing


The Funeral Director

The funeral director will make all the bookings on your behalf with the church, chapel and cemetery or crematorium. They will also be able to advise you on all the prices for each cemetery. They usually will ring funeral and death notices through to the newspaper whilst they are with you, except if it is after hours.

They will also give you a written itemised invoice for payment. This is a requirement under the Funeral Act 2006.


the funeral director with the priest at a graveside service

Prepaid Funerals


Your loved one may have already prepaid their own funeral, so most of the arrangements would have already been planned making it easier at the arrangement.

However, if they haven’t prepaid their funeral, you may like to think about it before the death occurs.


Why Arrange a Prepaid Funeral?

Most of us plan for many things that may go wrong in our life to protect loved ones and ourselves, e.g. Fire Insurance, Vehicle Insurance and House Insurance, however we sometimes forget about the worst thing that can happen and that is prepaying our own funeral.

We know that one day the inevitable will happen, death will come for us all no matter how old or young, rich or poor we are, whether we are a male or female, it really does not matter.

Nowadays, a lot of couples are arranging a prepaid funeral to take the worry from the shoulders of their family.  Knowing that it will be inflation proof is an added bonus. Once you have arranged your prepaid funeral, you will never have to worry about it again.

You may see advertising on the television about funeral plans where you pay a small amount each each. However, by the time that your time comes, you may have already paid much more than your funeral. It is much better to arrange a prepaid funeral with a funeral director where the price is locked in. These can also be changed to other funeral directors if you move states, e.g.


Prepaid funerals also may have a benefit relating to Centrelink payments.

Speak to Centrelink about this on 13 23 00 Australia Wide.