Arranging a Funeral

What needs to be done for arranging a funeral varies slightly depending on the place and cause of death.

‘Expected’ or natural cause of death

By law, a certificate to confirm the death must be signed by a doctor. This is called a "Death Certificate" or "Life Extinct" form. Until this occurs, the funeral director cannot transfer the deceased to their funeral home.

If the death has occurred at home you will need to call your family doctor and providing he/she has seen the deceased in the last three months, certificates will normally be issued. Alternatively, when a death occurs in a nursing home or private hospital, the nursing staff will normally notify the doctor for you. When someone dies in a public hospital it is normal for the attending doctor at the hospital to issue the certificate.

If you have any uncertainty, all you need to do is call us and we will advise you.

‘Unexpected’, ‘Accidental’ or death resulting from ‘foul play’

In cases where a doctor is unable to determine the cause of death, it is necessary for the coroner to be notified - the police do this. The police prepare a report for the coroner who then seeks to determine the cause of death by contacting the doctor of the deceased or requesting a pathologist to inspect the body and carry out an autopsy.

The coroner usually becomes involved with the following deaths:

  • Person who has not seen a doctor in the last three months
  • Unexpected deaths in hospital
  • Deaths due to suicide, homicide, poisoning or drug overdose
  • Deaths due to fire or accident
  • Deaths that occur at the person’s place of employment
  • Deaths of persons accommodated or retained in government institutions
  • Deaths caused by road accident
  • Death in a public place
  • SIDS (Cot Death) and any other unexpected death that cannot be explained without a post mortem examination

Your Funeral Director will liaise with the coroner's department on your behalf.

In this section

We cover the following topics in relation to making funeral arrangements: