Frequently asked questions.
It’s only natural to have questions about ‘what to do’ when someone dies. Here are answers to some of the questions we are asked most often.
1. What happens when an unexpected death occurs?
When an unexpected death occurs in a home, hospital or public place then that death is referred to the State Coroner’s Office. At this point you may require the more immediate assistance of a Funeral Director.
We will liaise with the State Coroner’s Office on your behalf. The funeral will not be able to be advertised until such time as the Coroner’s Office has determined the date that they will ‘release’ the deceased.
2. What do I do when an ill or elderly person dies at home?
When somebody close to you dies at home you will need to contact his or her doctor. It can also be comforting to ask another family member or friend to be close by to support you.
Once you have spoken to the doctor, contact your nominated funeral director. You can call Bellarine Memories on (03) 5255 5500. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We will then transfer the deceased person into our care.
If someone dies unexpectedly at home the Police and Coroner might be involved.
3. What do I do when someone dies at a hospital or nursing home?
When a death occurs in a nursing home or at a hospital, the first person to contact is generally the doctor. The nursing home or hospital staff will do this on your behalf. By law, a certificate to verify the cause of death must be signed by a doctor or the Coroner.
Most private hospitals and nursing homes now ask families to nominate their preferred funeral company at the time of admission. If we have been nominated by you, the hospital or nursing home will contact us directly.
4. How do we arrange a funeral?
When you contact us we will work with you to organise a time that’s convenient to meet with you and any other family members to arrange the funeral. This will generally take place either at one of our venues or in the comfort of your own home.
For further details please see the ‘Arranging a Funeral’ section on this web site.
5. Are all funerals the same?
No. Generally the more personalised the service the more meaningful it will be. For instance, some families have a service in one of our chapels whereas others may prefer a local church or venue.
Together, we will go through the styles of services we offer and provide guidance on how best to recognise and celebrate the life lived.
6. What do I need to consider when selecting the day and time of the funeral?
The best advice we can give you is not to rush the funeral. For instance, you may have relatives coming from interstate or overseas. Are there religious or cultural issues that need to be considered? Is your preferred celebrant, priest or minister available?
If the death has been referred to the Coroner this will have an impact on when the funeral can be scheduled. We will liaise with the Coroner on your behalf and keep you informed. After a deceased person comes into the Coroner’s care it usually takes from six to nine days before they are returned to the family’s chosen funeral company in Geelong.
7. When is the Death Certificate issued?
We will contact the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages on your behalf and register the death. It generally takes three weeks from the date of the funeral for the certificate to be provided. The Registry will send the Death Certificate to the person responsible for the funeral arrangements.
This certificate is extremely important and you will need it when contacting places such as the deceased’s bank, Centrelink, Health Funds, Veterans’ Affairs and so on.
Please contact us if you do not receive the death certificate as unresolved issues or incomplete information might be holding up finalisation. We are able to contact the Registry on your behalf and can frequently assist with providing the information that the Registry needs.
Please note that if the Coroner has conducted investigations the certificate usually takes from six to ten weeks to arrive. We can order an interim certificate that can be used for some estate purposes.
8. What is embalming?
Embalming is the art and science of temporarily preserving the body and is carried out by a qualified embalmer.
Embalming has a very long and cross-cultural history. There are many ways of preparing a deceased person for viewing and embalming is frequently not necessary. Our Funeral Consultants can answer basic questions you may have about embalming or other mortuary procedures. Our mortuary team is also available to answer more detailed questions.
9. Do I have to view the deceased?
No. This is a personal decision and entirely your choice to make. Viewings, however, can be very beneficial in the grieving process.
Generally, a viewing will take place at one of our chapels. We will be available to provide the support you might need.
10. What happens if the funeral is to take place interstate or overseas?
We will be able to assist you in finding a suitable funeral company, whether interstate or overseas.
11. Do Bellarine Memories cater for both burial and cremation?
Yes we do. The choice is entirely yours and can often be influenced by religious or cultural beliefs.
12. How can you personalise the funeral?
We are here to provide you with all the support and guidance you will need in determining the content of the service. Some of the special touches that we can co-ordinate are:
- Order of Service or Mass Booklets
- Floral tributes
- Precious Moments DVD presentations
- Thank You stationery
- Dove releases
- Selection of music
13. Why do people prepay their funeral?
Preplanning a funeral can help reduce some of the emotional and financial impact of a death. With a Kings Pre-paid Funeral you purchase at today’s prices no matter how prices increase in the future.
Specialists like Julie Spriggs are here to help you pre-arrange and prepay for a funeral. With our professional guidance, you’ll find that preplanning gives you more time to consider all your options and make things easier for your family.
Please refer to the ‘Pre-paid’ section on this website.
14. How much does a funeral cost?
Answers to this question will vary. Services can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish and your decisions in this regard will affect the costs.
We will guide you through the various options so you can be assured that everything is clear and transparent. For example, it is normal for cemetery or crematorium costs and the cost of other items (such as printing, catering, funeral notices, flowers, clergy or celebrant fees, registration of death fees, doctors fees) to be added to our service fees in the total cost.
Our professional service fee covers the use of our facilities, preparation of documents, collection of certificates, allocation of required staff, vehicles, transfer of the deceased, mortuary care and viewing preparation.
15. Should children attend a funeral?
This is a decision for each family to consider. You may choose to ask the child and explain to them what is likely to take place. Quite often children would prefer to be involved and appreciate the support that is offered by those who attend.
Children can also be involved in the celebratory or creative elements of a funeral such as:
- Reading or writing something that can be incorporated into the service
- Placing a personal note or drawing into the coffin/casket
- Lighting a candle
- Releasing balloons, doves or butterflies
Phone (03) 5255 5500 for any assistance you might need. Remember, we are here to help 24 hours of every day.