Frequently Asked Questions

Purslowe's funeral directors have provided answers to some of the questions they are most frequently asked.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to raise them with your Purslowe funeral director and they will do their best to answer them.

  1. What is the first thing I need to do when a death occurs?
  2. What happens when someone dies in a hospital or nursing home?
  3. Who should I notify?
  4. May I participate in a funeral service?
  5. How long between death and the funeral service?
  6. What factors do I need to consider when selecting the day and time of the funeral service?
  7. How do I get a Death Certificate?
  8. Can funeral services be held anywhere?
  9. What is embalming?
  10. Is embalming always required?
  11. How long does it take to prepare the body?
  12. Should we have a viewing?
  13. What happens if death or burial is away from home?
  14. Does having a cremation mean there will be no funeral service?
  15. Why do people choose burial versus cremation?
  16. Should children attend the funeral?
  17. Is it appropriate for a child to attend a family gathering or ‘wake?
  18. What should I include when writing a eulogy?
  19. Should I request donations to a charity rather than flowers?
  20. Isn't prepaying a funeral just for older people?
  21. Are we running out of space for burials?
  22. What is the difference between a cemetery and a memorial park?  

1) What is the first thing I need to do when a death occurs?

When a family member passes away, the first thing to do is give yourself time to register and take in what has happened. You should call a family member or a friend to let them know what has happened.

After that you should notify their doctor. If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, then staff there will usually do this for you. However, if it was the deceased’s wish to donate their organs then a hospital should also be advised as soon as possible.

Once you have spoken to the doctor, you will need to contact one of our funeral homes on (08) 9444 4835 to arrange for the transfer of the deceased into our care. This can be delayed for a little while if you would like some private time. Whatever the circumstances, we are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Back to top.

2) What happens when someone dies in a hospital or nursing home?

If death occurs at a public hospital, the hospital administration will complete most of the formalities required for the issuing of death and other certificates. However it will still be up to the family to contact a funeral home directly. As most public hospitals have a mortuary we will usually move the deceased from the hospital into our care during weekday business hours.

If death occurs at a nursing home or private hospital and you are not already there, the staff will usually contact the next of kin once death has been confirmed.

It is common at private hospitals and nursing homes for a funeral home like Purslowe Funerals to be pre-nominated and therefore to be contacted in the event of death. In this case they will contact us to arrange a prompt transfer as on-site mortuary facilities may not be available.

Back to top.

3) Who should I notify?

Of course there are always the family and friends of the deceased to notify. It can help to have a trusted family member or friend act as the point of contact for all these people.

But there are others who also need to know, though not necessarily straight away. This list might be of help in taking care of this important detail.

  • The Executor nominated by the deceased
  • Centrelink 
  • Department of Veteran's Affairs 
  • Superannuation companies 
  • Solicitor and/or public trustee 
  • Accountant 
  • Banks, building societies, credit unions, financial institutions, credit card providers and loan companies
  • Employer/former employer 
  • Trade unions or professional associations 
  • Australian Tax Office, Australian Electoral Office, Medicare  
  • Insurance companies including life, accident, home and contents, vehicle 
  • Friendly Societies
  • Doctor, dentist, specialists, hospitals, chemist, health benefits fund  
  • Main roads - car registration
  • Clubs, organisations and associations 
  • Church or religious organisation 
  • Household help, gardening services or Meals on Wheels 
  • Home nursing service 
  • Home delivery services - e.g. newspapers and milk 
  • Home appliance rental, medical aids rental company  
  • Post Office for mail delivery 
  • Local Government for Rates, fire levy, etc. 
  • Ambulance Service 
  • Telephone company, electricity company 
  • School or college
  • Companies - e.g. for directorships 
  • Chamber of Commerce 
  • Service organisations - e.g. Rotary, Lions, Apex, Zonta, Red Cross, and
  • Blood bank.

Back to top.

4) May I participate in a funeral service?

Yes. At Purslowe Funerals we encourage families to participate in a funeral service. From forming a guard of honour to delivering a eulogy, participating in a funeral allows you to express your feelings and provides a means of personalising the funeral for the deceased.

In our experience, the service is much more meaningful if it is personalised and unique.

Back to top.

5) How long between death and the funeral service?

The length of time between death and the funeral service can vary depending on your instructions, your cultural requirements and the circumstances of the death.

Importantly it will take as long as you need. There is no need to feel rushed.

Things that might influence the time between death and the funeral include:

  • Whether the death has been referred to the Coroner. This will happen when the death occured at a workplace, where the cause of death is unknown or suspicious, or when certain transmittable diseases are known or suspected.
  • How long it may take for friends and family of the deceased to be available to attend a funeral, or
  • Whether the deceased is being repatriated to another state or country for the funeral to take place. 

Back to top.

6) What factors do I need to consider when selecting the day and time of the funeral service?

Some religions require that a body be buried or cremated within a certain period, such as within 24 hours. This may be a determining factor in scheduling a funeral.

Otherwise, always allow enough time for out-of-town guests to make travel arrangements to attend the service.  Family and friends should also have enough time to read the obituary and arrange for time off from work. 

If the death has been referred to the Coroner, it may be necessary to factor in their requirements before a funeral can take place. If this is the case, your Purslowe funeral director can liaise with the Coroner and keep you informed.

Back to top.

7) How do I get a Death Certificate?

These are issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state. Usually a funeral director such as Purslowe Funerals is responsible for registering the death with this Registry within 7 days of the burial or cremation.

Once the death is registered, Births, Deaths and Marriages provide a formal Death Certificate, which is often a necessary document for any legal and estate issues that need to be attended to.

Applications for a copy of a Death Certificate can only be made at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and must be accompanied by at least three forms of identification to ensure your privacy and that information is only released to those who are entitled to it.


Back to top.

8) Can funeral services be held anywhere?

The most common sites for holding funerals are at a church or one of Purslowe Funerals beautiful chapels.
 
Another option is to hold the entire ceremony at a graveside service. A funeral service can also be held at a family residence.

Back to top.

9) What is embalming?

Embalming is a chemical treatment of a body which disinfects and preserves and must be carried out by a qualified embalmer. Embalming may be needed when:

  • There is a longer than average delay between death and the funeral
  • The deceased needs to be transferred overseas or interstate
  • The deceased’s wishes call for an above ground burial in a crypt or vault, or 
  • Improving the appearance of the deceased for a viewing.

If you have any questions about embalming or other mortuary practices then our funeral directors can provide you with further assistance and guidance.

Back to top.

10) Is embalming always required?

No, a common misconception exists that embalming is required by law. Embalming is not required by law unless:

  • the deceased is being transported over long distances, or
  • the deceased is going to be placed in a crypt or a vault.

Embalming can be beneficial if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a viewing.

Some religions and cultures prohibit the practice of embalming and call for the body to be buried or cremated within 24 hours.

If you are unsure whether embalming is required then your Purslowe funeral director can provide you with further assistance and guidance.

Back to top.

11) How long does it take to prepare the body?

Under normal circumstances, preparing the body for the funeral service and burial takes at least 4-5 hours.  It typically takes around 3 hours to embalm the body and around an hour to dress the body and do any cosmetology work.

These times are a guide only as there are many factors which can increase the time needed including whether an autopsy has been performed, and the manner of death.

Back to top.

12) Should we have a viewing?

Viewing the deceased is a very personal decision and it is entirely up to you. In the experience of Purslowe’s funeral directors a viewing has many benefits. It not only helps the bereaved to face the reality of death but it also allows for quiet times of reflection and good-byes.

Most viewings are held at our funeral homes with our caring, experienced staff available to offer you their support.

Back to top.

13) What happens if death or burial is away from home?

Purslowe Funerals is an Australian owned funeral services provider with associated funeral homes all around the country. Because of this Purslowe is able to make arrangements to transport a deceased person interstate or internationally at short notice.

Purslowe Funerals has links with some of Australia’s, and the world’s, largest funeral homes. This means we can help you regardless of whether you would like to bring a deceased home to Australia or send a deceased back to their country of origin.

We facilitate this by liaising with various Australian Government Departments and the Consulate General of the other country. We will organise everything and ensure that all the necessary documentation is provided to the Governments concerned.

Back to top.

14) Does having a cremation mean there will be no funeral service?

Not at all. There can be a funeral service in exactly the same way as there is with a burial. The only difference is that at the end of the funeral service the remains are cremated rather than buried.

Back to top.

15) Why do people choose burial versus cremation?

An individual's choice of burial over cremation is often based on family traditions or family/individual beliefs. Whatever you choose, Purslowe’s funeral directors will be able to accommodate every detail.

Back to top.

16) Should children attend the funeral?

The death of a family member can be a very confusing and bewildering experience for children.

Attendance at the funeral may be helpful for a child to realise the finality of death, and also allows the child to share in the emotional experience with the family. However, you should not insist that they attend. Let the children express sorrow in their own way and do not force ideas on them, such as grieving or funeral attendance. Talk with younger children. If they want to attend the funeral, prepare them for the experience and answer any questions they may have.

Back to top.

17) Is it appropriate for a child to attend a family gathering or ‘wake?

It is entirely up to you whether you feel it is appropriate. It is a good idea to ask the child and explain what is happening. At Purslowe Funerals we have found that children want to be involved - not left out. Being part of the gathering means they are surrounded by the care and support of family members.

Back to top.

18) What should I include when writing a eulogy?

As a helpful guide, the following may be of assistance in preparing a eulogy:

  • When and where was the deceased born
  • Nicknames and/or names known to others
  • Parents names - where they met and married
  • Brothers and Sisters
  • Early childhood - localities and interests
  • Schools attended, awards gained
  • Academic or trade qualifications and achievements
  • Some interesting items about childhood days
  • Details of any war or military service if appropriate
  • Details of marriages, divorces, children, significant relationships
  • Details of grandchildren/great grandchildren
  • Details of any Club memberships, position held
  • Details of sporting achievements
  • Details of any hobbies or interests, travel, crafts etc.
  • Details of historical significance
  • Preferences, likes and dislikes
  • Details of activities e.g. music, theatre etc.
  • Any special stories, sayings, qualities that are significant to others
  • Special readings, music or poetry to be included if you wish.

Our funeral directors can provide you with further assistance and guidance.

Back to top.

19) Should I request donations to a charity rather than flowers?

This is entirely up to you and your family. Some families prefer the money that would be spent on flowers be donated to a charity. This is a personal choice as many people feel comforted by flowers at the funeral. Even if the family doesn’t request flowers some people will still feel more comfortable sending them.

Back to top.

20) Isn't prepaying a funeral just for older people?

No. Prepaying a funeral is a smart decision for anyone who wants to relieve their loved ones of emotional and financial decisions in the future. Planning ahead like this can help lighten the burden placed on your family at a difficult time.

It's something you can do now, takes very little time, and it's affordable. It gives you more time to consider your options and is easier for your family and friends who will have less to worry about at the time of passing.

More information on prepaying a funeral is available

Back to top.

21) Are we running out of space for burials?

No. There is plenty of space in most parts of Australia. If you are trying to decide between burial and cremation, space should not be a consideration. At Purslowe Funerals we will be able to help you make the choice that best suits your family. 

Back to top.

22) What is the difference between a cemetery and a memorial park?

Typically, a cemetery offers upright monuments and markers or memorials flush to the ground or on stone bases while a memorial park only offers markers flush to the ground or on stone bases.

In Memorial parks, visitors can experience a park-like, tranquil setting while remembering their loved ones. In many memorial parks, benches, pergolas and other garden features have been positioned to provide seating and shade.

If you are unsure about the options available at a memorial park or a cemetery, give us a call and one of our knowledgeable funeral directors can discuss it with you.

Back to top.