What to do when someone dies?
This is a challenging time, and it can be difficult and confusing to know what to do when someone dies. Our team is here to gently guide you through the process, one step at a time.
1. Call us, as funeral directors, or call the police
Who to call depends on the circumstances of the death, and where the death occurred. If you’re not sure, just give us a call – we offer a 24-hour service.
Who else may be involved?
If the death took place at home, or anywhere that isn’t a medical facility, you’ll also need to contact the deceased person’s doctor to certify the death.
In cases of sudden, unexpected death – or when the doctor is unable to ascertain the cause of death – the Coroner may be contacted.
2. Contacting others
You will need to contact the deceased’s next of kin, as well as the Executor of their Will (or the lawyer).
3. Deciding who has authority
We will need to establish early on who has authority to make the funeral decisions. If there is a Will, it would usually be the Executor. If there is no Will, the next of kin has legal authority – this would usually be the surviving spouse or partner – or else the children of the deceased.
4. Select a funeral director
The family will need to organise the funeral, and can choose their preferred funeral director. There is no obligation to use the funeral director contracted by the police and coroners at the initial transfer.
Resthaven Funerals can tailor funerals to suit any budget, whether you’re looking for something simple, or would like a grand farewell.
The funeral can incorporate any cultural or religious traditions - or be non-denominational, spiritual or atheist - so it is a true reflection of the life and beliefs of your loved one.
5. Meeting the funeral director
Once your loved one is in our care, we’ll arrange a meeting with you at either our Howick or Manurewa funeral home.
Please bring the following items with you to the meeting:
- Clothing you would like your loved one to be dressed in.
- Any personal items to be placed in the casket.
- A recent photo of your loved one, so we ensure their hair and makeup is in their preferred style.
- Details for the death certificate.
At the meeting, we’ll discuss whether your loved one is to be cremated or buried, and discuss options for caskets and urns, as appropriate.
Later on, we’ll also ask for photos for the service sheet and photo presentation, but they’re not necessary at the initial meeting.
6. Death notifications
One of the most arduous tasks to do when someone dies is to close accounts with banks and utility companies, and notify the IRD, Ministry of Social Development, Work and Income, Passport Office, and so on.
The free myTrove service streamlines this process and reduces a lot of the paperwork. The website even has information on how to do things such as closing down social media accounts, or checking for unclaimed money with the IRD.
You can use the myTrove service yourself, or ask your lawyer to do it on your behalf. Visit the myTrove website.
7. Grief support
Everyone deals with grief and copes in a different way, and in their own timeframe.
Resthaven Funerals is committed to providing on-going care and grief support to our bereaved families, and will contact you in the weeks after the funeral to provide any advice, support, or information you need.
We’ll also give you a free book, "Grief After Loss" from the Grief Centre.
As part of our grief support, we can also provide you with details and information regarding support groups and other resources to help you. Please reach out to our Auckland funeral directors at any stage if we can help you.