ALTHOUGH the funeral itself might seem like the end of the process, there are other things that you need to consider.

After the funeral, acknowledgement of family and community is usually placed in a local or national newspaper after the funeral and is an opportunity for the relatives of the deceased to publicly thank people who have given them support and assistance.

In addition, you will have to deal with:

  • Placement of the ashes
  • Affairs of the deceased
  • Wills and estates
  • Coping with grief

 


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Placement of the ashes

When arranging the funeral, you may not have been sure of the final resting place for the deceased’s ashes. There are a number of options and choices available.

Scattering ashes

This can be carried out in a number of places including in the grounds of the crematorium, on a family grave, in your garden, at a place with fond memories, in woodland or the bush, at sea, abroad. In some cases, permission may be needed from the appropriate authority.

Burying ashes

People choose to bury ashes for a variety of reasons. For instance, families can then visit the place of burial and put up a memorial at the site, while others place the ashes of more than one family member together.

You may be able to bury ashes within the grounds of the crematorium, in a churchyard, in a grave or in your garden.

In each case, you will need to seek permission from the appropriate authority. When ashes are scattered or buried in a churchyard, cemetery or a different crematorium, the appropriate authority may also require the Certificate of Cremation provided by the crematorium.

Keeping the ashes

Some people prefer to keep the ashes at home in a casket or urn designed for that purpose. In some cases this is so that when a spouse or partner dies, the remains of both can be scattered or buried together. Others place a small amount in a piece of jewellery, for example a specially designed locket.

 

Affairs of the deceased

There are many legal, tax and administrative matters concerning the deceased’s affairs and estate, many of which need to be attended to quickly. You may need to write to inform organisations of the death. Here is a sample letter:

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I wish to notify you of the death of:

Surname:

Given Names:

Date of Birth:

Street Name and No:

Suburb:

Postcode:    

Date of Death:

I understand that he/she had dealings with your organisation.

The reference number/membership number/client number for your organisation was:

Please contact me on telephone (  ) or by email (  ) should you require further information.

Signed:

Name and Address:

Relationship to the Deceased:

Date:

 

RECORD OF IMPORTANT CONTACTS AND INFORMATION

The following list will help you put the pieces of your loved one’s life together and provide information that will assist in sorting and managing the deceased’s affairs in an orderly manner after the funeral. Give your family easy access to contact them by filling in the information below as accurately as possible.

 

Key Contacts

 

Family and friends

Name Relationship Telephone No.

 

Important contacts

Advisor  Name Telephone No.
Executor/Administrator
Lawyer
Funeral Advisor
Accountant
Financial Advisor
Insurance Agent
Stockbroker
Bank Manager
Employer
Landlord
Doctor (general)
Doctor (specialist)
Dentist
Minister of Religion
Celebrant
Veterinarian
Other

 

Service Providers

Provider Name Reference # Telephone No.
Water
Electricity
Gas
Public Trustee
Medicare
Centrelink
Local government
Veteran Affairs
Post Office
Australian Taxation Office
Bank
Nursing Home
Home Help
Other

 

Insurance Information

Insurance Type Policy # Insurance Company Contact Information
Health
Life
House & Contents
Mortgage
Annuity
Car
Dental
Disability
Pet
Boat
Caravan/Trailer
Funeral
Business
Other

 

Important documents

An Executor/Administrator or family will need to gather a variety of documents following a death in order to settle the deceased’s affairs. Recording the location of them can help.

Document Location
Birth Certificate
Will
Citizenship Certificate
Military Discharge
Drivers Licence
Insurance Policies
Marriage Certificate
Divorce Papers
Trust Documents
Property Deed(s)
Vehicle Ownership
Passport
Social Security Cards
Safe Deposit Box Key
Adoption Papers
Other

 

Assets

A family or Executor/Administrator will need information about the deceased’s assets. Simplify the process by compiling your asset information below.

 

Bank

Account Type Account # Bank Name
Safe Deposit Box
Savings
Term Deposit
ATM/Debit Card
Investment
Business
Other

 

Investments

Account Type Account # Institution Name
Brokerage Account
Funeral Bond
Superannuation
Investment Fund
Shares
Other

 

Pension/s

Pension Type Account # Organisation Name
Aged
Disability
Veteran Affairs
Family Tax Assistance
Spouse
Health Care Card
Family Support
Rental Assistance
Single Parent
Other

 

Property

Property Type Description Location Address
Real Estate
Car
Boat
Caravan/Trailer
Motorcycle
Art Work
Jewellery
Collections
Other

 

Debts

In addition to your assets, an Executor/Administrator or family will need information about any outstanding debts the deceased had. To simplify the process, compile your liability information below.

 

Debt Type Account # Lender Name
1st Mortgage
2nd Mortgage
Home Equity Line of Credit
Reverse Mortgage
Car 
Boat
Personal
Caravan/Trailer
Business
Motorcycle
Investment
Other

Credit Cards

Company Name Credit Card Type Card # Expiry Date

 

Pets

Your pets are an important part of your life. You will need to let your family and friends know about your pets so that they are looked after and cared for in the event of your death.

Pet Type Name Sex

 

Wills and Estates

A will is a written document that sets out how the will-maker wants their property and possessions (their ‘estate’) divided after their death. Many people first come across the law relating to wills when they have to make a will of their own. For others, it is when they are appointed executors or trustees of an estate and have to manage the affairs of someone who has died.

It is always better to make a will — that way the deceased person decides who will inherit their estate, rather than having intestacy rules apply. This will save the family and loved ones a great deal of administrative work, anxiety and pain, rather than making them go through the process of establishing themselves as eligible relatives.

You can choose to benefit your favourite charity, a friend or a remote relative who may not be included under the intestacy rules.

 

Coping With Grief

It’s generally accepted that grieving is a normal process, but unfortunately we don’t all know how to do it.

Many people wrongly assume that the funeral spells the end of the grieving process, when in actuality it’s often the beginning. Grief counselling — and occasionally grief therapy — can help people come to terms with their loss and move on with their lives.

Getting the right support is paramount, and not just from other family members and friends, but also from support groups and professionals.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross defined what became known as the “five stages of grief”, based on the feelings of patients facing terminal illness.

  • Denial:  “This can’t be happening to me.”
  • Anger:  “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
  • Bargaining:  “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
  • Depression:  “I’m too sad to do anything.”
  • Acceptance:  “I’m at peace with what happened.”

 

Are you need of assistance

If you are in need of urgent grief assistance please contact your local GP or if you need to talk to someone straight away call:

  • Lifeline
  • Kids Helpline
  • Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement