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Questions & Answers

What is the first thing I should do after a death occurs?

One of the first things you should do is to call the deceased’s doctor but you should also call friends and family who can support you at this time.

If the death has happened at a hospital or nursing home, the staff there will usually notify the doctor for you. However, if death has occurred at home and it was the deceased’s wish to donate their organs, then a hospital should be advised as soon as possible.

Once the doctor has been told, contact a funeral home such as AUSIA Funerals to arrange the transfer of the deceased into their care. This can be delayed for a little while if you would like some private time. You shouldn't worry about what time you call, because AUSIA Funerals is available 24 hours, 7 days a week on (02) 9724-0488

What happens when someone dies at a hospital?

The hospital administration will complete most of the formalities required for the Death and other certificates however it will be up to the family of the deceased to contact a funeral home like AUSIA Funerals directly.

What happens when someone dies at a nursing home?

If death occurs at a nursing home or private hospital and you are not already there then the staff will usually contact the next of kin once death has been confirmed.

At many private hospitals and nursing homes it is common for a funeral home like AUSIA Funerals to be nominated in advance to be contacted in the event of death. In this case, the nominated funeral home will be contacted. Transfer of the deceased to the care of the funeral home will usually take place straight away because most nursing homes and some private hospitals don’t have their own mortuary facilities.

As most public hospitals have a mortuary, we will usually transfer the deceased from the hospital and into our care during weekday business hours.

We have never been a religious family - do we need to have a priest or a Buddhist monk to take the ceremony?

There are a number of alternatives. Ask your AUSIA funerals director for more information on what your options are.

Who should I notify?

Of course there are always the family and friends of the deceased to notify but there are others who also need to know, though not necessarily straight away.

This list might be of help in taking care of this important detail.


• The Executor nominated by the deceased

• Centrelink 

• Department of Veteran's Affairs

• Superannuation companies 

• Solicitor and/or public trustee 

• Accountant 

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

• Employer/former employer 

• Trade unions or professional associations 

• Australian Tax Office, Australian Electoral Office, Medicare

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

• Friendly Societies

• Doctor, dentist, specialists, hospitals, chemist, health benefits fund  

• Main roads - car 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 and milk  • Home appliance rental, medical aids rental company 

• Post Office for mail delivery 

• Local Government for Rates, fire levy, etc. 

• Ambulance Service 

• Telephone company, electricity company 

• School or college

• Companies - e.g. for directorships 

• Chamber of Commerce 

• Service organisations - e.g. Rotary, Lions, Apex, Zonta, Red Cross  • Blood bank.

Do I have to register the death before arranging a funeral?

No. If not already done by so the hospital or nursing home, your AUSIA Funerals arranger will coordinate the registration of the death for you.

Once you’ve called AUSIA Funerals on (02) 9724-0488, you will be given all the information and advice you need to make the funeral a fitting farewell for the deceased as well as matching the service to your cultural, emotional and financial needs.

How do I get a Death Certificate?

Our Funeral Directors will help you to fill in the necessary forms to get the Death Certificate. These are issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state. Usually our funeral director is responsible for registering the death with this Registry within 7 days of the burial or cremation.

Once the death is registered, Births, Deaths and Marriages provide a formal Death Certificate, which is often a necessary document for any legal and estate issues that need to be attended to.

Applications for a copy of a Death Certificate can only be made at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and must be accompanied by at least three forms of identification to ensure your privacy and that information is only released to those who are entitled to it.

What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?

In Australia, coffin usually means a container for the deceased that is similar in body shape to human dimensions: it will be broader at the shoulders and narrower at the feet. Coffins normally have a removable lid and are made of wood.

Caskets usually are rectangular containers with a hinged lid. Caskets may be made from wood or metal. AUSIA Funerals has a range of coffins and caskets to suit a range of budgets and tastes.


What is a cremation?

A cremation is where the deceased along with their coffin, casket or other covering are placed in a cremator. The cremator acts like a furnace and renders the contents to ash which are then individually collected, gathered and kept for collection.

Will the ashes I get back really be those of my loved one?

Yes. There are many checks and balances relating to cremation and all crematoriums go to great lengths to ensure that ashes do not get mixed.
If you need to send the ashes of your loved ones back to their Homeland, our funeral directors will advise you on the necessary process.

Are the same services available for a cremation as for a burial?

Whether you decide on a burial or cremation, the same services are available to you.

You can celebrate the person’s life or have a more traditional approach to the service. You can still have a viewing, a church funeral or a modern, secular service at a venue that meets your needs. And, of course, afterwards you can still have a family gathering or ‘wake’. AUSIA Funerals can advise you on your choices.

What are the main types of cemeteries, and how do they differ?

Cemeteries are usually divided into two categories: traditional cemeteries and memorial parks. Typically, a traditional cemetery has both upright and flat monuments, usually made of stone.  Memorial parks are a newer type of cemetery in which monuments are placed level with the ground so that they blend in with the landscape. They often feature expansive lawns with a variety of trees and gardens.

There are a lot of differences in cemeteries. Some will have dedicated sections for particular communities such as Polish, Filipino, Orthodox, Buddhist or Muslim. Many offer private and/or community mausoleums and cremation niches which are all used for above ground interment.

An emerging trend in burials is the green, or natural, burial. This type of burial is being adopted as a method for protecting and restoring the natural environment.  With a green burial, the body is returned to nature in a biodegradable casket or shroud. 

Are special cremation containers and caskets available?

Yes, AUSIA Funerals offers a wide variety of special cremation containers, including caskets, to meet each family's needs.

A cremation casket is specially constructed from materials that are environmentally friendly. It appears very similar to a burial casket and may be used for a viewing and/or a funeral ceremony or gathering. As with all cremations, a special container or casket is cremated along with the deceased.

AUSIA Funerals can advise you on your choices.

Do cemeteries require burial vaults and/or grave boxes?

If you choose to have an earth burial, most but not all cemeteries require you to purchase a burial vault or a grave box (also called an outer burial container).  In most areas of Australia, state or local law does not require an outer burial container be purchased to surround the casket in a grave.  However, many cemeteries require one be purchased so that the ground will not sink.

What happens in the case of an autopsy?

It can be devastating to learn your deceased loved one will be required to have an autopsy performed. However, it is a legal requirement that the coroner makes all efforts to establish the actual cause of death. For medical reasons you may also be asked permission for the hospital to perform an autopsy.  In this case the choice is yours.  It is strongly suggested that before any decision is made the subject is discussed fully with your doctor and other family members. 

What are the symptoms of grief?

• A lack of energy and general fatigue • Headaches and upset stomach • Excessive sleeping or the drive to overwork or be excessively active • Memory lapses, distraction, and preoccupation • Irritability • Depression or feelings of euphoria • Extreme anger or a deep resignation to the situation • Feelings of being closer to their faith or feelings of anger and outrage at their faith.

How do I cope with grief?

Grief is not well understood by our society and it is not easy for people to deal with. The main way to manage grief is to let these feelings come and to give yourself time to change to your new circumstances.

You will change. Your routine will change. Your moods will change. In some ways life will never be the same, but at the same time you'll find strength, peace and hope you might not know you had inside you.

Everyone deals with grief differently. Even members of the same family will show grief in different ways, and can recover from grief at different times. Understanding that grief is a personal experience can help you to understand your own actions and emotions and those of others.

Common reactions to grief are:

• Crying (I can’t cry or will I ever stop crying)  • Anger (It’s not fair)  • Relief (I’m glad the suffering is over)  • Shock (I can’t take it in)  • Numbness (My body seems to be on ‘auto pilot’)  • Guilt (If only I could turn the clock back)  • Frustration (Why don’t people understand me)  • Panic (How will I cope)  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)  • Fear (What if I can’t cope)  • Low Energy (I’m too tired)  • Confusion (I can’t think straight)  • Rejection (How could they do this to me)  • Emptiness (I feel like something is always missing).


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