It is natural that you may be unsure of what to do, what steps to take, and who to call when a death occurs in your family.
You're probably so sad that arranging a funeral is the last thing you want to think about.
Rest assured there are stages and procedures, and people who look after all the details for you.
For instance, did you know that when someone dies, a doctor must sign a certificate that confirms the death?
Also, funeral arrangements can't be completed until the doctor has signed and issued this certificate.
It is extremely important that when a death occurs in a hospital or aged care facility that you pass on the details of the funeral director on behalf of the family.
In most cases, a medical certificate stating cause of death will be issued by the attending or family doctor.
Occasionally, when a sudden or unexpected death occurs, a medical certificate cannot be issued immediately and the coroner needs to be notified.
It does not necessarily mean that untoward circumstances are suspected, it is simply a procedure that must be followed to prepare a report for the coroner to establish the cause of death.
Under these conditions, the funeral director will let you know the procedures and further timing once they are authorised to proceed with funeral arrangements.
Once the necessary clearances and releases are obtained, your loved one is then transferred to the funeral home for appropriate care.
There is no set time-frame between death and the funeral service, however, it is good to allow more time than less.
Normally this is at least four to five days. When the funeral is over you will be thankful that you allowed yourself enough time to create a fitting farewell for your loved one.
The role of a funeral director is to provide a very special service and ensure the wishes of the family and the deceased are filled. A funeral director can do the following:
- Arrange all matters requested by the family taking into consideration the legal, social, cultural and religious considerations relating to the deceased and to the mourners.
- Transportation of the deceased from the place of death to the mortuary.
- Preparation of the deceased
- Collation of certificates from hospital or doctor's surgery
- Completion of statutory requirements
- Preparation and insertion of newspaper notices
- Contact with clergy or funeral celebrant
- Organise bookings at the venue, church, cemetery and/or crematorium
- Officially register the death
- Obtain copies of the death certificate
- Organise all details of the funeral service, including the supply of vehicles and pall bearers.
A funeral is a very special event, the ceremony needs to be a fitting farewell and a celebration of a life well lived.