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Here’s What To Do When Someone Dies


● Official Notification

● Establish Your Role

● Organ Donorship & Other Official Paperwork

● Companies To Notify

● Funeral Arrangements

● Look After Yourself

When someone dies it’s difficult to see past the grief and cope with this alongside trying to remember what needs to be documented and reported. To make this easier we will take you through the practicalities that need to happen for safety and for compliance reasons, so you don’t have to worry about remembering it all.

Also remember that these tasks can be really hard emotionally, so having support during this time is extremely important for your mental and physical health. If you don’t have family or friends to help you through this period then there are counselling services you can reach out to 24 hours, 7 days a week. A great place to start is with your family GP. H. Parsons Funeral Directors (4228 9622) are here to help you or you can call Lifeline Australia (131 114) or Beyond Blue (1300 224 636).


Between the organisation of practicalities and the emotional toll of losing a loved one, the period between a person’s death and their funeral can be very taxing. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t feel the need to rush through any checklists, and allow others to help where possible.


The first thing you need to do, and we recognise that this can be extremely difficult, is have the death recognised officially.

If the death has happened in a hospital, staff will be able to guide you through the official death notification and other papers and they will take care of the medical formalities. If the death happens at home or outside of a hospital, there are two avenues depending on how the person died.

  1. In the event of an expected death - contact the person's General Practitioner to issue a death notification.

  2. In the event of an unexpected death - contact the police. The police will determine whether the circumstances of the death require the involvement of a coroner.

In any event, if the family has chosen a cremation, there are additional obligations for the Funeral Director and Medical Doctor to ensure all battery-operated devices are removed before the cremation takes place.


The Next of Kin plays a special role in the period after a person's death and prior to their Estate settlement. It is important to know if you are someone’s Next of Kin, to have paperwork to that effect, and to understand your responsibilities. In many situations it is only the Next of Kin who is able to officially notify organisations of a person’s death. This is not to be confused with the Executor of a Will, who is named in the Will to administer the Estate. Clarify if the deceased has made any pre arrangements for their funeral such as a funeral bond or funeral insurance, as these plans usually indicate the chosen Funeral Director and any other specific arrangements. You can read more about pre-planning, funeral bonds, or funeral insurance in the blog: Pre-planning, funeral bond, or funeral insurance - What's the Difference?)


The Funeral Director arranges the transfer of your loved one to their mortuary where they will be cared for. They will then be in touch to make specific arrangements in relation to all aspects of the funeral. The Applicant (usually the Next of Kin) is legally responsible for signing the statutory declaration for a cremation, the funeral arrangements and the funeral contract and payment of the funeral.


While the person who has passed may have many types of paperwork regarding their death, including an Advanced Care Directive, a Will, enduring Power of Attorney or Guardianship, the time-sensitive item relates to organ donorship.

Where a person has expressed a desire to be an organ donor, consent from the Next of Kin is still required. Where there is no registered desire, or expressed will against donorship, it is the job of the Next of Kin to decide.


There are several companies that require notification when a person dies. These are usually not urgent, although ongoing costs may be incurred if there is a delay in notifying some organisations. The list below is a starting point for who may need to be notified:

● Landlord

● Bank

● Telephone

● Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Internet)

● Insurances (Home and Car as well any personal or health insurances)

● Additional Health Service Providers

● Clubs & Associations

● Online Profiles

● Centrelink & Other Government Departments

● Post Office

The Australian Death Notification Service allows you to notify multiple organisations online that someone has died so their accounts can be closed or transferred. It can take around 12 months for an estate to be finalised or longer, if it’s complex or contested.

There is a lot to consider when preparing a funeral and it can be an emotional time. H.Parsons are experts in caring for you and your loved ones and we are committed to ensuring your service is personal, respectful and dignified. Make sure you talk to our team via our contact form, calling (02) 4228 9622 or visiting us at one of our locations.


An outline of some of the practicalities of dealing with death, whether planned or unplanned. Including who decides what and when, and who to notify.

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