What to do When Someone Dies

When a person dies in a private residence, a nursing home or a private hospital a death certificate will usually be signed by the family doctor (providing that he/she has attended the patient during the preceding three months).
If death occurs in a public or private hospital, the attending doctor will usually sign the certificate.

Once death has been confirmed, the family is able to contact a funeral director of their choice to transfer the deceased.

Coronial Inquiry
When a death occurs as the result of an accident, from non-natural causes, unexpectedly or when the deceased has not consulted a medical practitioner during the preceding three months, the death must be reported to the police, a doctor or the hospital authorities.

The coroner (a judicial officer) may then be called upon to inquire into the cause and circumstances of the death and assumes the legal control over the body of the deceased person. The body must not be moved or disturbed in any way without the permission of the police or the coroner.

A formal identification of the deceased is required by the coroner.

Coronial staff will assist the family in explaining the various processes.

To establish the medical cause of the death, post mortem examinations may be necessary. The senior next of kin may lodge an objection to the examination within 24 hours of death. The coroner has specific literature on this process.

Whenever an examination proceeds, every care is taken to return the deceased to their original condition. Most often it is best to allow 48 hours following the post-mortem before being transferred into the care of the funeral director for preparation for burial or cremation.

The possibility of organ retention can only be discussed with the coroner. Depending on the family’s wishes, this may further delay the funeral.

A hospital post mortem can take place at the request of the family.

In this instance, the knowledge gained can be of therapeutic, medical teaching or scientific benefit.

Understanding Funerals

Common Questions

Planning Ahead

Planning the Service

Suggestions for services

Grief Counselling

When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies at Home

When Someone Dies in Hospital

When Someone Dies in a Nursing Home

Unexpected Death

Newspaper Notices

Death of a Child

Registration of a Death

Who to Notify



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