What do I do (when someone dies)?

At home.  If you are alone, call a friend or neighbour.  No matter the circumstances, you need to take a pause to fully register what has happened.  Then it will be time to contact the doctor who has looked after the person during the previous months.  After the death certificate has been written, call Boyd funerals to assist you.

The majority of natural deaths now occur in a hospital or nursing home. In this case the attending physician will then write the death certificate and the cremation certificate if required.
Unfortunately, most private hospitals and nursing homes may not have on-site mortuary facilities, so you may only have a little while if you would like some private time.  For your peace of mind, Boyd funerals can be contacted 24 hours a day, all year, to arrange for your loved one to come into our care.

In the case of an accident or sudden death, the person will be transferred into the care of the Coroner.  An autopsy/post mortem is usually performed.
There is a list of Coronial Flags for a reportable deaths of which the Coroners office must be notified.  Following are some of the more common reasons.

Due to a violent or unnatural  death

As a result of accident or injury

Under suspicious or unusual circumstances

During or as a result of an anaesthetic

Where a doctor is unable to issue the death certificate

Where a person’s identity is unknown

Due to neglect

Where a person was in care prior to death

Who do I notify?

Of course there are always the family and friends of the deceased to notify.  It can help to have a trusted family member or friend act as the point of contact for all these people.  But there are others who also need to know, though not necessarily straight away. This list might be of help in taking care of these important details.

The Executor nominated by the deceased

Department of Human Services [Centrelink]

Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Superannuation companies

Solicitor and/or public trustee


Banks, building societies, credit unions, financial institutions, credit card providers and loan companies

Employer/former employer

Trade unions or professional associations

Australian Taxation Office

Australian Electoral Office

Medicare / Health insurance

Insurance companies including life, accident, home and contents, vehicle

Friendly Societies

Doctor, dentist, specialists, hospitals, chemist

Motor vehicle registration

Clubs, organisations and associations

Church or religious organisation

Household help, gardening services or Meals on Wheels

Home nursing service

Home delivery services – e.g. newspapers

Home appliance rental, medical aids rental company

Post Office for mail delivery

Local Council for Rates, etc.

Ambulance Service

Telephone company, electricity and/or gas company

School or college

Companies – e.g. for directorships

Chamber of Commerce Service organisations – e.g. Rotary, Lions, Apex, Red Cross, Blood bank

Coffin or Casket?

A coffin is tapered to the head and feet from the shoulders and has 6 sides.  A casket is rectangular in shape and generally made from higher quality materials.

Is makeup necessary?

There have been excellent improvements in mortuary cosmetics.
Sometimes there is no need for cosmetics or if required then some lipstick is all that is needed for women and men often nothing.  If a loved ones pallor is extremely ashen, then a light foundation could be used.
Some funeral directors will use ‘temporary preservation’ (TP) if a viewing is arranged for the deceased and this adds a more natural/pinker look to the skin.

What about embalming?

There are three reasons to embalm.
Hygiene ~ To protect any person coming into contact with the deceased.
Preservation ~ Allowing family to spend quality time with their family member without the concerns of decomposition or odors.
Restoration ~ An embalmed body generally looks better.

Embalming is usually performed if there is a longer than average delay between death and the funeral; the deceased needs to be repatriated; for an above-ground burial in a crypt or mausoleum; to improve the appearance for a viewing.
If you aren’t sure about embalming, Boyd funerals can provide you with further guidance and assistance.

What clothes do I provide?

You should consider how your loved one liked to dress and was comfortable.  You wouldn’t want to dress someone in a suit and tie when they hated every minute of the 40 years they were forced to wear one?
If your loved one has been in a nursing home for a time, they may be more comfortable in pyjamas, slippers and a dressing gown.
It is important consider providing clothing including underwear, socks, stockings or knee-hi’s or for some, a belt for trousers, the omnipresent handkerchief in the pocket or a favourite handbag including the preferred lipstick.

Should there be a viewing?

Boyd funerals respect individual’s requirements and we believe that no one should be pressured to do so or be prevented from doing what they wish.  Sometimes one family member may feel it important to view, while others do not.

A viewing may assist with the reality of the death.  This can help if your loved one died unexpectedly or sometimes a loved one may have experienced a long illness and it may help to see them without the pain they suffered during their illness.

If you do decide to attend a viewing, this is a personal time and an appropriate moment for family to place personal items such as letters, photos, flowers and other memorabilia with your loved one.

It is a personal decision whether children are allowed to view.
Children (at the viewing, or not) could create a painting, drawing or their own private note or letter in an envelope that is their private little thing.  Children should not be excluded from the funeral, after all they have lost someone from their circle of family or friends and having something to give helps with their own grief.

How can I be certain I have the correct ashes?

Our crematoriums abide by Government regulations and adhere to guidelines and codes of ethics.  Unlike older days, each person is cremated individually.  There are strict policies and procedures in place to ensure the name plate on the coffin remains alongside the deceased throughout the cremation process and returned along with the cremated remains in the urn .  Boyd funerals entrusts their confidence in the professional standards of our crematoriums.

How do I obtain the Certificate of Death?

The Certificate of Death is issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.  Your funeral director will register the details with the Registry within 7 days of the burial or cremation.  Once the death is registered, Births, Deaths and Marriages provide a formal Certificate of Death, which is also a necessary document for any legal and estate issues that need to be attended to.