When Someone Dies

If the family prefers, the deceased need not be taken away immediately. Some find it therapeutic to keep their loved one at home until the family has gathered. However, delays in taking the deceased to a funeral home will also delay later presentation for viewing by family and friends. The funeral director will discuss timings with the family.

When someone dies in hospital, staff will usually allow the patient to remain in the bed until the family have gathered. Where the hospital amenities are under pressure, the deceased may be taken to the hospital mortuary. Contact the funeral director as soon as possible after the loved one has died, so that arrangements can be made for the deceased to be taken into the funeral director’s care.

When someone dies unexpectedly the doctor may not be in a position to certify the cause of death. The Police become involved as agents for the coroner, who may ask for a post mortem (autopsy) to be carried out to ascertain the cause of death. Contact the funeral director as early as possible after hearing about the death. The funeral director is the best person to liaise with the coroner’s office and with the family regarding appropriate arrangements for the care of the deceased.


Official paperwork

Just as it is a legal requirement to register births and marriages, it is also a legal requirement to register a death. The funeral director will ask the family for details that are required by the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington, where records are kept. The funeral director has a duty to ensure the details are accurate and that they are forwarded to the Department in a timely fashion. Some time after the funeral, the funeral director will deliver the official death certificate to the family.

The records gathered by the Department of Internal Affairs are useful for those who are interested in genealogy, as well as for the government when assembling statistics for planning purposes.