What should I do when a family member has died?
If the deceased has been ill for some time and the death is expected, the family should first call a GP who will need to visit the deceased and officially declare them dead (“certify life extinct”). If a person is to be cremated, the doctor who has been treating the deceased before death should see him/her after death and issue two certificates. One is the “Certificate of Cause of Death” often referred to as the “death certificate” (though this is not the official death certificate) which will state a cause of death. The second is a cremation form.
Alternatively, if the deceased is to be buried, then only the “Certificate of Cause of Death” form is required. The family should then phone us here at Grinter’s Funeral Home to begin making the appropriate arrangements. Generally, a funeral director will not transfer the deceased from the place of death until the attending doctor has issued the required documentation.
Occasionally, if a doctor is unable to sight the deceased at the time, they may give permission for the funeral director to transfer and make arrangements to view the deceased later. This may occur if the doctor is away, off duty or otherwise unavailable.
How much does a funeral cost?
Funeral costs can vary considerably from one funeral home to another and obviously with the requests and chosen service arrangements. Asking “what does a funeral cost?” is like asking “how much is a new car?” It is important for families who are ringing different funeral homes to get prices based on the same services so they can compare relevant estimates.
Will Grinter’s Funeral Home provide a cost estimate?
Yes, Grinter’s Funeral Home can provide cost estimates without any obligation.
Who chooses between burial and cremation?
When the wishes of the deceased are made in writing, they are generally followed. If they are not known, then it usually becomes the decision of the executor and/or family.
Embalming – is it necessary?
Although the common current practice in New Zealand is to routinely embalm, embalming is often not actually required. At Grinter’s Funeral Home, we try to avoid unnecessary embalming. That said, occasionally we do make the decision with the family to embalm. This is often because of time delays for viewing or the funeral service, or because people wish to have the deceased at home for a period of time. We discuss the options with each family, and make these decisions together on a case by case basis.
If a death occurs in the night, do I have to call the funeral director immediately?
No, in fact people are choosing for the deceased to stay at home until family members arrive to say their goodbyes. If you wish, we are able to come to the home to ensure the deceased looks as good as possible for those wishing to spend time with them.
Why is the Coroner involved?
The coroner will become involved when a person has died unexpectedly; it may be due to an accident, suicide or someone being found dead without any warning of prior illness. When this happens, the death becomes a “coroner’s case” and the death is immediately reported to the Police.
If an ambulance is called and attends the scene, then it is the ambulance staff who will notify the Police if they have not yet been informed. This is often a traumatic situation for families having to deal with so many different people, along with the sudden death of a family member.
Once the Police have attended and an official identification of the deceased has taken place, the Police will call a Police doctor who will officially confirm the death. The Police will then contact the duty funeral director who has the Police contract for the area to transfer the deceased to a mortuary where a post-mortem (also known as an autopsy) will be conducted. It is then up to family to choose their own funeral director to continue with the arrangements. The funeral director will arrange to have the deceased transferred to the funeral home.
May the family choose the casket?
Yes, we offer a range of different styles of caskets at different prices. When choosing a casket you should consider what you see as practical, what you regard as a fitting tribute to the deceased and the affordability of the casket.
In cremation, what happens to the casket?
The casket is cremated too. In New Zealand, cremation procedures are laid down by law.
Should children attend funerals?
Everyone in a family is affected when someone dies. Dealing with the death of someone close is hard at any age. Children and teenagers grieve for the loss too, though they often express it differently.
It’s hard to watch a child struggle with the pain of loss, especially when you are grieving yourself. We often just long to make it better for them, but ultimately we can’t fix grief or protect children from it. However, there are things you can do to make a difference – things that help them feel supported and understood – to help them cope. The choice of whether to attend the funeral or not should be left up to the child.
Visit the children & grieving section of the website for more information on this topic.