No one wants to have to plan a funeral. But when it happens, what needs to be done, needs to be done. Where do you begin? If you find yourself in the position of having to handle the logistics of a loved one’s death, here are some things you should be doing.
1. Get a certificate of cause of death (CCOD)
If death occurs at the hospital, the doctor will issue the CCOD. If the death occurs at home, contact your family doctor or any general practitioner who is willing to make a house call to certify the cause of death.
If the cause of death cannot be ascertained, the police will be contacted to transport the body to the Mortuary@HSA. There will be a coroner’s inquiry to investigate the cause of death. If need be, an autopsy may be conducted.
2. Contact a funeral director
Once you have obtained the CCOD, you can contact your preferred funeral director or funeral company. From there, they will take over the bulk of the logistical work, like transporting the body, cleaning the body, and embalming it.
On your end, the family will be asked to provide a set of clothing for the deceased.
3. Discuss the funeral proceedings
Although the funeral director can handle much of the arrangements for you, there are a few key decisions you need to communicate to them.
Cremation or burial: This could be determined by the deceased’s wishes communicated before their death, stipulated by religious beliefs, or the choice of the family. You’ll also need to let the funeral director know the preferred crematorium or burial site.
Type of funeral: Let the funeral director know what sort of funeral you are looking at, including the religious rites you want to include, number of days for the wake, the venue of the funeral, and so on.
If you plan to hold the wake and funeral at a void deck, you will have to contact the relevant Town Council to obtain a permit for the usage of the void deck.
4. Register the death
While the funeral planning company is sorting out the details for you, you can head to register the death with the Registry of Births and Deaths (RBD) at the hospital or nearest police post. Bring along the CCOD, the deceased’s IC, as well as your own (the informant’s) IC. You will need to notify the officer of the cremation or burial site, and they will issue you the death certificate and permit for burial or cremation.
5. Notify people about the death
A death in the family is important news that you ought to alert your relatives and close network of. Take time to call your relatives and the deceased’s friends to notify them of the news.
If you wish to put up an obituary, you also need to prepare items like the obituary writeup, list of relatives, and a photo of the deceased. These days, you are not limited to newspaper obituaries – you can also do an e-obituary.
6. Prepare to receive the casket at the funeral venue
The planning process is more or less completed, and by this time, you can expect to receive the casket at the funeral venue. From there on, the wake or funeral will commence as planned.
Planning the best funeral service can be so overwhelming, especially because very few people take their time to plan for death before it occurs. Knowing what to do when death occurs will go a long way in ensuring that you get it right.