Today the majority of deaths occur in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. In those cases the staff will usually handle the necessary medical formalities.If a person dies at home or in a location other than a health facility, the first step is to contact the person’s GP or other medical practitioner who can certify that death has occurred.
The next step is to contact a funeral director who will take the deceased into their care and assist in the funeral arrangements.The Australian Funeral Directors Association website publishes a list of funeral directors in Western Australia as well as general information to help you plan or pre-plan a funeral.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why have a funeral?
A: Like a birthday or a wedding, a funeral is a celebration – a celebration of a life lived. It provides a chance for people to reflect on that life and to formally say their goodbyes.
Q: Can I have a funeral on a Saturday or Sunday?
A: Yes, funerals can be arranged on Saturdays by prior arrangement; however there is an additional cost factor involved.
Services are generally not offered on a Sunday.
Q: Is it possible to undertake a funeral without using a funeral director?
A: Yes, providing a Single Funeral Permit is obtained and all Board requirements are complied with. By obtaining a Single Funeral Permit you become the funeral director and it is your responsibility to arrange for all permits, applications and authorities as well as all other matters associated with the funeral.
Q: Funeral directors sometimes refer to “up to the cemetery gates.” What does this mean?
A: When you engage a funeral director to handle the arrangements for a funeral, their part in the ceremony is termed “up to the gates” being the arrangements prior to and including the transport to the cemetery. From that point on any arrangements such as chapel, interment, condolence lounge and catering are arranged through the cemetery involved.
Q: Is it necessary to hire a hearse?
A: No, another type of vehicle, such as a station wagon, which is suitable and respectable, may be used to transfer the body and coffin within the cemetery.
Q: Do I have to pay to use the chapel at the cemetery?
A: A complimentary chapel time allocation is included with ALL cremations. Many families choose to purchase additional blocks of time.
Resources from other organisations that may help you make decisions at this difficult time:
The Council on the Ageing Western Australia (COTWA) have developed a useful checklist to assist individuals in planning for end of life. This and a range of other resources can be found on the COTA WA website.
The Goodbye Guide. End of Life Planner Checklist
Cremation and Burial Information
Health Department – Cremation Regulations in Western Australia
Department of Local Government and Communities – Burials Outside Proclaimed Cemeteries
When Someone Dies
Department of Human Services – What To Do Following a Death
Department for Child Protection and Family Support – Bereavement Assistance Program
ASIC MoneySmart – Paying For Your Funeral
ASIC MoneySmart – Losing Your Partner
ASIC MoneySmart – Indigenous Community Information: Paying For Your Funeral
Grief and Bereavement Support
Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
Palliative Care in WA