Frequently Asked Questions
Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult and stressful experiences we ever face in our lives. Its times like these that we need to ask for help.
And help is available; it’s just a matter of knowing who to ask. Asking the right questions of the right people can save so much unnecessary anxiety.
In these pages we have outlined the ten things that seem to worry people most when a death occurs.
Please read through at your leisure. We are available at any time to answer your questions.
Q1: What do I do if a death occurs in a hospital or nursing home?
A1: Contact our 24 hour line a consultant will advise you on what needs to be done and will make all the necessary arrangements if you require.
Q2: What do I do if a death occurs at home?
A2: The first thing to do is to call your doctor. Then we suggest you call us before any further arrangements are made and we will advise on what to do next.
Q3: What happens if the doctor is unable to provide a death certificate?
A3: In cases of sudden and unexpected death, death from a cause other than natural, accidental or when there has not been any recent consultation with a doctor, the doctor is unable to provide a certificate and the coroner is then involved. You can phone and speak to one of our Funeral Advisors and he or she will assist with information regarding the procedures.
Q4: How can my Funeral Director help me?
A4: We are available 7 days a week to assist you on 24-hour free call assistance 1800 012 011.
As Funeral Directors our first role is to assist and advise you in any way we can when a death occurs. It is our responsibility to transfer the deceased to our central mortuary and make all the funeral arrangements in conjunction with the clergy/celebrant or cemetery of your choice.
We collect all the necessary certificates and send them to the appropriate authorities, arrange special certificates necessary for cremation, lodge death and funeral notices in the press, attend to Registration of Death and we contact Social Security and/or Department of Veteran Affairs.
In addition we make all the necessary payments such as cemetery or cremation fees, advertising, clergy or celebrant fees, floral arrangements and if needed refreshments following the service. We also liaise with R.S.L., Masonic Lodge and other organisations if required.
Q5: Arranging the Funeral – where do I start?
A5: Your Funeral Director is the person who starts the arrangement process; be guided and helped by them. The following are some guidelines.
Burial or Cremation
The wishes of the deceased may already be known. Otherwise it is up to you and the family to decide. The choice is yours. Costs differ with cremation often costing less. Cremations are usually carried out in your nearest Crematorium that have well appointed chapels.
Styles of Funerals
You may wish to have a service at a Church or our Chapel followed by the cortege proceeding to the cemetery for the interment. When cremation is the option usually a church or chapel service is held and the cremation takes place privately later. Clergy, Celebrants or family friends can be used to officiate at Funerals and it is common to have Masonic Lodge and R.S.L. Services. Some families prefer to just have a Graveside service at the cemetery or a Crematorium Chapel service. Refreshments quite often follow the service and these can be arranged with church groups etc.
People often feel that to view their loved one before the funeral helps and it is very important to them. This is a personal choice but we recommend it. We have private facilities for families where we arrange a viewing. Children should be considered also.
Choosing a coffin or a casket
A casket is rectangular and usually more expensive and a coffin is shaped being wider at one end. We have a range of both on display at our premises. The choice is made by you as to what suits your needs.
Health Regulations require that all cases being transported overseas must be embalmed. With modern transport facilities these days it is not always needed for interstate transfers however on some occasions it may be required.
Q6: Should children attend funerals?
A6: Open discussion with children about death and the funeral is healthy, they then seem to be better prepared. Let them take part and attend if they wish.
Q7: What are the costs of a funeral?
A7: The expenses for a funeral can be put into three main groups.
Firstly there are the Funeral Director’s professional fees or service charge, which in our service is one complete fee. This fee makes available our personnel (on call 24 hrs), our services and facilities, covers mortuary costs and the use of our hearse. It also provides for administration work such as preparing and inserting press notices, registration of the death and arranging cemetery, crematorium, clergy, floral tributes and all services in accordance with your wishes.
Secondly the cost of a coffin or casket can range from the low hundreds up to thousands of dollars. We keep a range in stock for you to choose from to meet your requirements.
Thirdly there are the disbursement costs or cash payments the Funeral Director makes on behalf of the family and which are out of his control and not included in the professional fee – eg: Crematorium or cemetery charges, doctor’s certificates, floral tributes, clergy or celebrant fee, organist, soloist, press notices, certified copy of Death Certificate and others. GST is now payable on all funeral costs.
Q8: Who can help me with grief?
A8: Should you or any member of the family have the need, we can put you in contact with a reputable counselor. There are also support groups that meet regularly. Most clergy can be of assistance when a counselor is needed. Professional Counselors have set fees that they charge. We have a small library of books on our premises which we lend out when needed.
Q9: How can I make it easier for my loved ones when the time comes?
A9: One of the most important things to do is to make sure you have a valid and up-to-date will. It must be easily located or instructions as to its whereabouts left with someone close to you. We have a personal record folder which can assist you in this area. Make sure all your family history is documented so as to be available when needed.
Q10: What to do and who to notify after a death has occurred?
A10: In the event that the death is expected and occurs in the home the family should first contact their doctor who will issue a death certificate. Once the doctor has been the family then contact Bell Funeral Services and your call will be answered by one of our family members who will carefully take down all the details and assist you by guiding you through the maze of arrangements.
If the death is unexpected immediately call 000. The ambulance and the police will attend. The police will assist you in whatever way that they can. They will also arrange for the government undertaker to take your loved one into the care of the coroner.
For help or advice on arranging funerals, please call our 24-hour free call assistance 1800 012 011.