In Western culture we have become very detached from the cycle of life and death. Only those who work in specific industries will be accustomed to the fragility of life, but for most of us it’s something that will happen in the unforeseen future, so we try not to engage with it too often.
The overwhelming emotional shock we feel when we lose a loved one, whether sudden or expected, is natural.
Inside of this tumultuous time, we are faced with the reality that life goes on, and we have to engage with paperwork, practicalities and an often-times pragmatic process that feels devoid of the emotional engagement we’re longing for.
If we can talk about the practical side before dealing with a loved one passing, we can be better prepared.
In most cases a Notice of Death needs to be filed, confirmation of the cause of death must be established and we will need to contact a funeral director.
Here are a few extra practical guidelines of which to be aware:
In the case of natural causes
Natural causes include cancer, heart attack and stroke as well as other illnesses. If your loved one loses their life while in hospital, the attending doctor would need to issue a Notice of Death.
Where there is suspected foul play – especially when the death happens unexpectedly or at home – the police would need to be called to bring a forensic pathologist who will perform a post mortem and ascertain the cause of death before issuing the Notice of Death.
For someone who passes away while they are a resident at a nursing home, the Notice of Death would need to be completed by the last doctor in attendance (customarily handled by the nursing staff).
Your appointed funeral director will need this notice before being able to assist with the next steps. If the hospital does not offer mortuary services or if the body is to be cremated, finding a funeral director who can handle that responsibility is often the best option.
Should death occur overseas, there are funeral directors who are registered and authorised to make arrangements for exporting and importing remains.
In the case of unnatural causes
If a fatal accident occurs, the police need to be called and a pathologist may be necessary to discern the cause of death. The Notice of Death we mentioned earlier is also issued here too.
When your loved one leaves due to unnatural causes, your funeral director will need to wait for the pathologist to be satisfied with their examination results before collecting the body.
The last step is to prepare for life after the funeral. Life and funeral cover are invaluable products to help ease the stress of settling debts and covering extra expenses with a diminished income.
It’s essential to plan for these events and have conversations with your family and financial adviser before they happen to be in the best emotional and financial space to positively deal with this tragedy.