What to do when someone dies?

What to do when someone dies?

If you are lucky you may have to organise a funeral for maybe one or two people in your life.  Maybe your parents, your partner or a close family member or friend.  It may also be some-time between organising funerals so practices and protocols may change throughout the years.  In this article we explore the things that might be helpful for you to do when someone close to you dies.

Unexpected death at home:
If someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly at home, call emergency services on 000.  If the death is accidental, sudden, suspicious or the reason is not clear or perhaps your loved one did not visit their doctor regularly it may be necessary for the Coroner to be involved to confirm the cause of death.  This may involve medical scans, autopsy and a review of any previous medical records.

If your loved one’s doctor is happy to provide a medical cause of death, then a funeral director can be contacted to bring the individual into care.

Death in a hospital, hospice, aged care facility or at home under the supervision of a palliative care unit:
If your loved one dies when in any of these situations, the treating doctor will more than likely provide a medical cause of death.  The nurses who were caring for your loved one will provide a verification of death document and this is sufficient for the individual to be taken into the care of a funeral director.

Contact friends and family:
Your friends and family are in most cases always going to be your best support system when someone close to you dies.  It’s a good idea to reach out to your close friends and family members to share the news and also come together to discuss all the next steps to take, especially if you are not sure or have never had to co-ordinate a funeral before.

Donating your organs or your body!
Hopefully this is something that has been previously organised! If so, it’s a matter of making some quick calls to the relevant organisations so these wishes can be actioned swiftly so the organs can be donated and used as per your loved one’s wishes.  Always verify your loved one’s wishes through their donor cards or licences and other relevant paperwork.

Making arrangements for a funeral:

Choosing a funeral service provider:
When you need to decide on a funeral service provider there are many options but perhaps the best way is to ask for referrals from family and friends if they have used a company that they had a good experience with.
– You might also look on line and look for great on-line reviews!
– If you or your loved one were a member of a church or temple, they may also have a connection to a funeral service provider that knows how to conduct funeral services in line with you faith and cultural rituals and practices.
– The role of the funeral service provider is many and varied.
– They will provide transportation, care and accommodation for your loved one.  A dedicated funeral consultant will also guide and support you through all the options and decisions to make regarding the funeral for your loved one.

Pre-arranged or pre-paid funeral plans:
Your loved one may have put in writing their plans or wishes for their funeral.  It may be a good idea to look for any official documents that confirm what their wishes or instructions were.  It may be near where their will was kept and other personal items or documents or your loved one’s solicitor or executor of their will may have this information.

Booking and scheduling the funeral or memorial service for your loved one:
There is a fair bit to think about when booking or scheduling a funeral service or memorial service event.  You may have to line up a number of service providers so that everything can happen seamlessly on the day, your funeral director will help you with all of this.  This can include booking the services of the funeral director’s team; including their hearse and staff on the day of the funeral, viewing rooms leading up to the funeral, the church or temple if appropriate, the alternative venue for the service and then the cemetery for the burial or the cremation.  Everything has to work in together .  Then you will have to communicate the date and time of the funeral with family and friends, giving them enough time to travel or take time off work to come to the funeral event to pay their respects and to come to offer support to you and your family.

The official death certificate!
This is such an important document and one that every family askes after at each funeral arrangement meeting.  The funeral director will collect the necessary information required to apply for the death certificate for your loved one and on the day of the cremation or the burial, they will submit this information to the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where your loved one died and register their death.  The informant will receive an official death certificate within around 2-3 weeks, a bit longer if the person went through a Coronial Investigation process for their death.

Legal and financial documents:
There is a lot of administration around death! Locating all the important documents such as wills, funeral plans, life insurance plans, pension cards, all forms of ID, birth and marriage certificates are all very helpful and relevant for the purposes of administering a loved one’s estate.  If your loved one wished to be buried, then the details of grave will be important and the holder of right.  Other documents such as bank statements, property deed and other significant papers will also be important to the executor of the person’s will and estate.

Other items to consider:
Property: if your loved one owned a property, you may want to secure the property and make sure that valuables are kept safe in the event of a break-in whilst the property is not being lived in.

Legal Support: Hopefully your loved one had a trusted family solicitor who can take care of the administration of the estate. Again if you don’t have one, it’s a good idea to ask for referrals and recommendations from others who have used such a service.

Notifying relevant organisations:
The Dept of Human Services provides a comprehensive list of organisations that need to be contacted after someone dies.  It includes both financial, government and private organisations.  You may also need to cancel relevant subscriptions, utilities, social media accounts, memberships to sporting clubs and other organisations.  All insurance policies including health, home, auto and life insurance will need to be cancelled upon an individual’s death as well.

Take time to look after yourself:
If you are the main person doing all the co-ordinating, liasing and following up… managing the process of organsing a funeral and administration of a death can be a lot to deal with.  It’s important to take time out for yourself and even to seek the support of a medical practitioner if need be so you can receive any specialised support and care that you might need as well.

Just a Simple Cremation are your local funeral directors based in Dandenong South, Melbourne and we are here to support you and help in any way we can.  You are welcome to call us at any time on 1300 626 692; we welcome your inquiry and encourage your contact.



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