Frequently Asked Questions

The below questions are provided as a guide only and answers may vary depending on the funeral director – please contact your local funeral director.

 

Many people don’t know whom to contact when someone dies. In most instances, it will depend on where and how the person dies.

When someone dies at home, his or her Doctor is the first person who you should call. The Doctor will prepare a death certificate. Then call the funeral director to arrange for the deceased to be transferred into their care.

When someone dies in a Nursing Home, the staff at the facility will call the funeral director nominated by the family at the time the now deceased first moved in. The staff will also make arranges for the Doctor to issue a medical certificate noting the cause of death. If the deceased is to be cremated, you should notify the Nursing Home as additional documentation will need to be prepared.

When someone dies in a hospital, the family calls the funeral director of their choice who will make all the necessary arrangements with the hospital, transfer the deceased to the funeral home, confirm arrangements for cremation or burial and attend to all the details involved in arranging the funeral.

When a death is sudden and unexpected, accidental or a suicide, the doctor or the family must notify the police. In these circumstances it is important the deceased is not moved without the authorisation of the Coroner.

The Police will contact the government appointed funeral home to transfer the deceased from the place of death to the Coroner’s mortuary. The Coroner will always investigate the cause of death, which may involve a post mortem examination. This investigation may delay the funeral arrangements.

When someone dies interstate or overseas, the local procedures must be followed and local authorities will liaise with your funeral director while making arrangements for the deceased to be brought home.

Because so many Australians are migrants, there are those who wish to be interred in the lands of origin. Your funeral director will attend to this responsibility on behalf of the family.

The funeral arrangement is the initial meeting that you have with the funeral director. This conference is generally held either at a family home or at the funeral director’s premises 1 – 2 days after the death occurs.

Generally the meeting will take between 1 – 2 hours and you will discuss both the practical and celebratory aspects of the funeral.

You will need to make a series of decisions and that’s why generally speaking a number of family members will be in attendance. The type of decisions you will need to make include (dependent of funeral director):

  • What date and time you would like to hold the funeral?
  • The location of where the funeral will be held?
  • Will you require a Memorial Book to capture the names of those in attendance?
  • Will a member of the clergy, civil celebrant or family member lead the service?
  • How many vehicles are required to transport family members to the service?
  • Will the death and funeral be advertised in the newspaper?
  • Will there be a viewing? At what location is the viewing to take place?
  • What clothing you would like your loved one to wear?
  • Will you require catering to be provided either at the service or the gathering afterwards?
  • Will music (taped or live) be a part of the service?
  • Will a DVD Tribute be played as a part of the service?
  • Will there be any personal items of significance on display at the funeral?
  • Will you or the funeral director be providing the pallbearers?
  • Will you require any printed materials to be prepared for distribution at the funeral?

There are a number of things that you can do prior to the initial meeting and these include:

  • Gather the personal details that are required to complete the Registration of Death form.
  • Decide on whether the funeral will be a burial or cremation.
  • Draft the wording for your family tributes for newspaper notices and placement on the funeral director’s website (where applicable).
  • Start gathering the content for the DVD Tribute. Generally the DVD will need approximately 30 photos and one piece of music.
  • Start to bring together the personal items that you might want on display at the funeral.

Don’t be concerned if any or all of the above haven’t been done its just a helpful list of the things you might like to start and think about.

Our staff will ensure that everything is taken care of on your behalf. Those families that have booked vehicles will be collected in time to arrive at the venue just prior to the commencement time. On arrival at the location one of our experienced funeral directors will greet you and will look after all aspects associated with the service.

It is our role to ensure that the service runs smoothly and in accordance with your wishes.

The costs associated with a funeral can vary significantly depending on the choices a family makes. As a guide, an appropriately conducted funeral may cost anywhere between $4,000 and $12,000.

Funerals are very personal events and therefore each family will make different decisions on the style of service they wish to have. These choices will reflect the personal, cultural and financial needs of a family and can significantly impact on the overall cost of the funeral.

To obtain an accurate cost we suggest you have a face-to-face meeting with your funeral director so that all the options can be explained and all costs can be itemised.

What elements can influence the cost? The following are some of items that impact the cost of a funeral:

  • Whether the funeral involves a cremation or a burial. Generally speaking cremation is cheaper than burial, particularly if you need to purchase a new grave.
  • Whether the funeral will be held on a Saturday.
  • The cost of burial can also be impacted on whether it is below ground or above ground in a vault.
  • The choice of coffin or casket. Generally you will have the option to make a selection of coffin or casket, which will vary in cost due to the materials and workmanship.
  • The extent of floral tributes or catering.
  • The length, style and number of death and funeral notices placed in newspapers.
  • Charges made by celebrants and the clergy.
  • Facility charges made by operators of crematoria and cemeteries.
  • Personalising the funeral with items like printed materials or a DVD Tribute.
  • The quality of funeral director facilities including hearses, mortuary, chapel and viewing suites.

The burial and cremation rates in Australia are generally the same. The overall cremation rate for Australia is just over 50%.

Why are more people choosing cremation? Factors such as religion or financial circumstances can influence a family’s decision as to whether they choose burial or cremation.

Generally speaking cremation will be a cheaper option to burial.

You have the opportunity to determine what will happen with cremated remains. Some families choose to memorialise within cemetery/crematoria grounds whilst others may wish to purchase an urn. Also some families may wish to place the cremated remains at a place that was significant to the person or scatter them at sea.

A coffin is tapered at the shoulder and has a lid that can be removed. A casket is rectangular and has a hinged lid.

There can be many things that can impact on the timing of the funeral including religious beliefs, whether family members are interstate or overseas, whether a priest or celebrant is available, whether the selected venue is available.

The best piece of advice we can provide you with is to not rush your decisions or setting the date of the funeral. The date of the funeral is entirely up to you. Provide yourself with plenty of time so that all the elements can be planned and coordinated without feeling any pressure. The funeral is the final opportunity for family and friends to honour the life lost.

It is not uncommon now for a funeral to take place between five to seven days after death.

Under the Coroners Act of 2003 Coroners are responsible for investigating reportable deaths. A reportable death is where:

  • The identity of the deceased is unknown.
  • The death was violent or unnatural, ie accidents, falls, suicide or drug overdoses.
  • The death happened in suspicious circumstances.
  • A ‘cause of death’ certificate has not been issued and is not likely to be issued.
  • The death was a health care related death.
  • The death occurred in care or custody.
  • The death occurred as a result of police operations.

The process of embalming is necessary in certain circumstances but your funeral director can guide you depending again on your personal preferences.

This is a very personal question and whilst a viewing can be perceived as an unpleasant experience for many in a calm and tranquil environment the viewing can be very therapeutic and help with the grieving process.

A viewing is at the discretion of each family member or friend and should be discussed with your funeral director.

In Australia burials at sea are regulated under the Sea Dumping Act, which is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities. A permit is required for the sea burial of bodies, however no permit is required to scatter ashes.