When a Death Occurs

What to do First

Please remember  there is no need for you to feel rushed. When someone dies, you may feel an urgency to organise everything as quickly as possible. When you are grieving, it is hard to think clearly, so take your time and do not feel pressured.

Contact Heritage Funerals to Assist you

Contact us as soon as possible so that we may begin to give you our full support.

Transfer to our Care

We will arrange to transfer your loved one from their place of death into the care of our funeral home , and will obtain the necessary medical certificates for the burial or cremation service. We provide a 24 hour, 7 day a week service.

Contact your Family and Friends

Contact those people who will offer you support at this time, for example your family, friends, neighbours and Church Minister if you have one.

Making the Arrangements

When you are ready, we will arrange to meet you in your own home or at our funeral home to make all pre funeral arrangements needed.

Please allow 1½ – 2 hours for this meeting. We will assist you to plan the funeral details and complete the necessary paperwork.

When a Death Occurs at Home

When a natural death occurs in a family home, a doctor  will need to be contacted. As long as the doctor is satisfied as to the cause of death, a Medical Cause of Death Certificate will be issued and the doctor will advise you to contact us. We will then transfer the person who has died into our care.

In a Nursing Home or Hospital

Many people die either in a hospital or nursing home. When this happens, the nurse in charge will arrange for the doctor to issue a Medical Cause of Death Certificate. You will need to notify the care facility of your choice of funeral home, usually the hospital or nursing home will contact us to take the person into our care. However, some hospitals, such as public hospitals, will require the family to notify us of the death.


In cases where a Doctor is unable to sign the Death Certificate, such as sudden or unexpected deaths, the local police will be called and the Coroner notified. In these cases a “Government Contracted” undertaker will transfer the person from the place of death to the Coroner’s mortuary to determine the cause of death. This may involve a post mortem examination. The Coroner will then issue an order for release when the investigations are completed. It is important to remember that in Coroners’ cases, the family still have the right to select a Funeral Director of their choice and arrange the funeral in accordance with their wishes.

Interstate or Overseas

Sometimes the death of a loved one can occur while they are interstate or overseas. If this happens, we can make arrangements to bring the deceased home and attend to all the legal and customs requirements.

It is also common for the family of those born overseas, to want to repatriate the deceased back to the homeland for the funeral. If this is the case, we can attend to all the necessary documentation and liaise with authorities on your behalf.

The cost of repatriation varies and is often much less than people think. It is worth making enquiries before a final decision is made as to the place of burial or cremation. Click here to make an enquiry