Answers to all your questions
Everything you need to know
Do you have questions about funerals? Maybe you want to know more about coping with grief? Walter Carter Funerals can help you find the answers you need.
After a death
What happens when someone dies at home?
What happens when someone dies at a hospital?
What happens when someone dies at an aged care facility?
What happens when someone dies overseas or interstate?
When someone dies overseas or interstate, you may wish to bring them home for their final farewell. This is called repatriation. At Walter Carter Funerals, we can make all the necessary arrangements.
When will the deceased be transferred to the funeral home?
When is the Coroner needed?
If the doctor is unable to certify the cause of death, the police will be contacted. The police will then liaise with the Coroner. Instances where this may happen include where the death:
- is not by natural causes (including by accident or due to violence)
- occurs while under anaesthetic (or within 24 hours thereafter)
- is unexpected
- occurs in an institution, while in prison or police custody, or at a drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre
- is someone diagnosed with dementia.
Coronial staff or a government-appointed funeral company will transfer the body to the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner will conduct an autopsy to establish the cause of death. Where the deceased has been diagnosed with dementia, this may not be deemed necessary following police investigation.
How soon should the funeral be held?
There is no set time period within which you need to hold a funeral. It can vary depending on the funeral arrangements you want to put in place and the circumstances of the death. The important thing is that you take the time you need – there is no need to feel rushed. However, it should be noted, that some religions require the funeral and/or burial to occur within a specified timeframe. If there is some delay, preservation work on the body may be required.
Who should I notify about the death?
How do I get a death certificate?
Certified death certificates are issued by the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages. At Walter Carter Funerals, we register the death electronically on behalf of the family or executor. This normally occurs the next working day after the funeral. Once the death is registered, the Registry will issue a formal Death Certificate.
Arranging a funeral
Why is it important to have a funeral?
Funerals help us say goodbye. They help us to begin to acknowledge the reality that someone in our life has died. According to Alan D Wolfelt PhD – a respected author, educator and consultant to the funeral industry – when we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral serves to satisfy a number of needs:
- The need to acknowledge the reality of death
- The need to move toward the pain of loss
- The need to remember the person who died
- The need to develop a new self identity
- The need to search for meaning
- The need to receive ongoing support from others.
Who is responsible for arranging a funeral?
Who is responsible for paying for a funeral?
How much does a funeral cost?
What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?
Where can the funeral service be held?
Can I participate in the funeral service?
How do I choose a funeral director?
Every funeral home is different, as is every family. So when you’re choosing a funeral director you should ask yourself:
- Where is the funeral home located? A local funeral home will likely be more convenient when making arrangements and may cut down on some costs (such as transfer charges).
- What is the range and cost of services? A funeral is a very personal thing, so you need to be sure that the funeral home you select will be able to cater for your choices and will be transparent regarding costs.
- Does the funeral home come highly recommended? Recommendations from doctors, clergy, family and friends can be a good yardstick when making your choice.
- Does the funeral home’s style fit with that of you and your family? The quality of service and amount of information provided is important when selecting a funeral home. So it’s helpful to look at the funeral home’s website and their other resources when making your decision.
- Is the funeral home a member of the Australian Funeral Directors Association? The AFDA is the only national professional association for funeral directors. Members adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct designed to meet both community needs and expectations in all aspects of service delivery. Walter Carter Funerals is an AFDA member.
What does a funeral director do?
Can you help me find a minister or celebrant for the funeral service?
What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?
What is a eulogy?
What should be included in a eulogy?
Being asked to deliver a eulogy is a great honour, but it can also be quite daunting. We’ve put together some helpful tips to get you started. Of course, you can also always speak to one of our funeral consultants at Walter Carter Funerals for advice.
What is an Order of Service?
What music should I choose?
What flowers should I choose?
Though you can have any type of flowers or style of arrangement at a funeral or memorial service, there are some that are more common than others. Traditional arrangements include:
- Casket sprays, which sit atop the coffin or casket
- Standing sprays, which may be in the form of bouquets, wreaths, hearts, crosses or other shapes
- Bouquets or a number individual blooms in baskets or vases.
What do different flowers symbolise?
Unsure about what flowers to send to a funeral? Before you tell the florist to “put something nice together”, take a moment to consider what your flowers are actually saying:
White lilies – Purity
Stargazer lilies – Sympathy
Oriental lilies – Eternal life
White roses – Reverence, humility, innocence and youthfulness
Red roses – Respect, love and courage
Pink roses – Love, grace, appreciation and gentility
Dark crimson roses – Grief and sorrow
Yellow roses – Friendship and strong ties
Pink carnations – Gratitude, remembrance and a mother’s enduring love
Red carnations – Yearning and true love
White carnations – Purity, faithfulness and innocence
Yellow tulips – Cheerfulness
White tulips – Forgiveness
Purple tulips – Royalty
Red tulips – Perfect love
No matter what the colour, they say “I will always love you”
The meaning of their colours varies globally, but overall they’re seen to express grief, sadness, sincerity and loyalty.
Why should I choose burial versus cremation?
Is burial more expensive than cremation?
What is the difference between earth burial and interment in a mausoleum?
What is cremation?
Is a coffin or casket required?
How long does a cremation take?
Is more than one person cremated at the same time?
How do I know I’m getting the right ashes?
Does cremation mean I can’t have a funeral service?
Are special cremation urns and momentos available?
What is embalming?
There are many reasons to embalm a body:
- To satisfy requirements for transporting a body by air, sea or other long-distance transportation
- To assist in maintaining the cleanliness of the body
- To enable others to handle a deceased person without the risk of infection or contamination
- To prepare the body, by firming tissue, for any required reconstructive and cosmetic work
- To try to remove the devastation caused by long-term disease or illness
- To help minimise the results of trauma, chemotherapeutic drugs and the visible post-mortem changes that have started to appear
- To enhance the appearance of the body and return the deceased person to a more natural presentation for a viewing by family and friends
- To temporarily preserve the body, so that the funeral does not need to take place immediately
- To meet government legal requirements (if applicable).
Do I need to wear black?
- For women – Think conservative. Funerals tend to be solemn events, so take care to dress in a manner that reflects a respectful attitude. This might include a nice business suit or a simple dress. Overly casual clothing such as jeans should be avoided, as well as any revealing clothing like mini skirts. And use good shoe sense. Funerals normally involve a lot of standing and walking, so leave the sky-high heels at home. The last thing you want to be thinking about is sore feet.
- For men – Again, think conservative and dress in a respectful manner. A suit and a collared shirt is generally an appropriate choice. Wearing a tie is optional, but if you do take a pass on loud colours. Avoid wearing casual clothing such as jeans, short-sleeved shirts, althletic shoes and caps. And don’t forget to take an extra minute to shine your shoes.
You also need to be mindful of religious customs. For some cultures wearing black clothing is still the norm, while for others it is viewed as inappropriate. The funeral director will be able to advise you.
Do I need to turn my mobile phone off?
Should I send flowers?
Can I bring young children to the service?
How do I become a funeral director?
Being a funeral director is by no means an easy career option. It can be both emotionally and physically challenging – and very stressful. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. It takes a special type of person to listen to a family’s needs, understand their emotions and, through conversations with the family, get to know the person who is now gone. It’s a true privilege to be asked by a family to organise the final goodbye for their loved one. For more information about a career as a funeral director, go to the Australian Funeral Directors Association website.
What is the difference between pre-planning a funeral and pre-paying for a funeral?
When you pre-plan a funeral you make decisions about the arrangements for a funeral, however no money is involved. When you pre-pay for a funeral, you make the necessary arrangements and pay for them.
What is a pre-planned funeral?
Pre-planning a funeral involves making decisions about the arrangements you want in place for your own funeral or the funeral of a loved one. What sort of service will it be? Will there be a burial or cremation? What music should be played? Who will give the eulogy? These are just some of the things you need to think about. Our My life – My farewell – My funeral choices funeral planning booklet steps you through the decisions you need to consider. Contact us for your copy.
What are the benefits of pre-planning a funeral?
By pre-planning your own funeral, you can ensure that your final farewell reflects what you want and best celebrates your life. It also saves your family the emotional burden of having to make these decisions when they’re grieving after you have died.
What is a pre-paid funeral?
What are the benefits of pre-paying for a funeral?
Just some of the benefits of pre-paying for a funeral are:
- Costs are fixed, so you can pre-pay for the funeral you want at today’s prices
- Your money is securely invested in compliance with strict government guidelines
- You make the choices you want for your funeral
- You can pay in a lump sum or by instalments. If you pay by instalments, you have up to three years to pay in full
- You are not locked into a particular funeral director. The pre-paid contract is transferable.
- A pre-paid funeral can be cheaper than a funeral bond or funeral insurance if you live longer than another five to 10 years
- The amount you pay for the pre-paid contract will be exempt from any asset and income means testing when assessing eligibility for the aged pension.
If I pre-pay for my funeral, can my family pay for extras at the time of my funeral?
What happens to my money if I pre-pay for a funeral?
What is funeral insurance?
What are the benefits of having a viewing?
A viewing can have many benefits, some of which are:
- It provides family and friends with a chance to express personal thoughts, talk to the deceased and maybe just hold their hand
- It’s an opportunity to deal with any unfinished business
- If the deceased struggles in life or suffered from a long-term or devastating illness, a viewing can assure family and friends that the person is now at peace
- It can help some people move through their grieving process.