When Someone Dies

Practical steps when someone dies

There is a popular phrase, that when someone dies, reach for kettle and not the phone!

If it was known that your loved one was nearing the end of their life, then grabbing a cup of tea to collect your thoughts, and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of this moment is vital.  What is the point of jumping on the phone and calling friends and family, or an ambulance or the funeral director?  Just be in the present.

People who have never experienced the death of a close one may not know how to deal with the practicalities after a death. Here they are in brief:

·       If the person dies in hospital, the hospital will organise for the attending doctor to sign a certificate confirming the death.  The funeral home can then take over and attend to all the practicalities once the doctor has certified that the cause of death was natural. Read more about funeral companies and about paying for the funeral here.

·       If the person dies of natural causes at home, you will have to contact a doctor yourself.  If you belong to an organised religion (for example, Jewish, Muslim, Christian), they usually have dedicated services that swing into action to take care of all the practicalities when someone dies, including getting the death certified and removing the body.  Keep their phone number handy.

·       However, if the death requires police involvement, they will organize for the body to be taken away for a post mortem.

What companies and other institutions do I need to inform when someone dies?

If you are the executor or a family member, you do need to let certain government and private companies and professional services know when someone has died.

These could include:

Financial authorities and service providers

·       Australian Taxation Office

·       Banks

·       Credit unions

·       Centrelink payments

·       Credit card/hire purchase

·       Foreign pension authority

·       Funeral insurance

·       Landlord

·       Financial advisor

·       Local Community Information and Referral Service for financial help

·       Rural Financial Counselling services

·       Financial Counselling Australia

·       Financial Information Service

·       Australian Electoral Commission

The employer


·       Medicare services

·       Doctors

·       Physiotherapists, and other professionals

·       Hospital Insurance companies

·       Health benefits fund

Executor of the will


·       Family and friends

·       Post office

·       Library

·       Utilities (electricity, gas, water etc)

·       Vehicle licensing and registration

·       Mailing lists to be removed from

·       Social media accounts to be closed

Where can I go to help me deal with the death of a loved one?

After a death, many people feel lost, angry, sad or unable to cope. You may benefit from talking to someone about your feelings, and you may also meet other people in the same situation as you by contacting:

Help Me Through:  Our resident Bereavement Councellor can Help you Through!

Lifeline: This is a national charity with 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Headspace: This national youth mental health foundation helps young people who are going through a tough time.

Solace Australia supports grieving partners.

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