Arranging a funeral 

What to do when someone dies

Planning a funeral service can be overwhelming. Nobody shows you how. Nobody even talks about what to do when a loved one dies. Trying to make funeral arrangements in the aftermath of a tragedy can be one of the most difficult things you will ever face.



We’re With You Every Step of The Way

This guide is a simple and straight forward way to take care of every aspect of the funeral from beginning to end. This may seem like a lot of information to process at once, but I promise if you go through this funeral planning checklist step by step, it will be very manageable.

Step 1: Organise when and where

Step 2: Selecting a coffin or casket

Step 3: Selecting floral tribute

Step 4: Funeral Notice

Step 5: Completing statutory forms

What to do when someone dies

Losing someone close to you can be incredibly difficult, and if you’re responsible for handling funeral arrangements and personal affairs, the experience is often overwhelming.

What you do when someone dies depends on the where the death occurs and sometimes the circumstances of the death. If you’re in doubt, contact Joannides Funerals to seek advice.

You shouldn’t worry about what time you call, because we are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

When someone dies at a hospital or nursing home

Many people die in a hospital or nursing home and if this is this case the staff will handle most of the formalities. Also any next of kin will be advised what steps need to be taken.

Most public and some private hospitals will have their own mortuary and the deceased can be kept there until the body is transferred by a funeral director if you choose to appoint one. 

When someone dies at home

If someone you know dies at home it’s important to try to stay calm.

If the person’s death was expected it’s likely that their doctor may have been in touch with you or other close friends or family to discuss what will happen, and you can call the doctor’s surgery to ask them visit as soon as possible. If the deceased doesn’t have a regular GP the police should be called instead. 

A doctor is needed to examine the body to attempt to ascertain the cause of death and write a medical certificate. A funeral cannot be arranged until this certificate has been completed.

If the death is unexpected or you aren’t sure if the person is dead call 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance and explain as best you can what the problem is and describe the circumstances. Once the ambulance crew arrives they will either contact the person’s GP or the police. 

It’s important to know that if the death was unexpected, not clear, is suspicious or the person did not have a regular GP, the police must be called. In some cases the coroner may also be involved to conduct a post mortem to determine the cause of death.

When someone passes away unexpectedly or traumatically

The coroner’s office is responsible for investigating unexplained deaths. Usually, a police officer or medical professional will inform the coroner of what is known as a ‘reportable death’, a death that may require investigation.

After the death is reported to the coroner, they will decide whether or not to investigate. If you feel that the death is reportable but you are not certain that it has been reported, you can do so yourself by contacting your local coroner’s office.

If the coroner is involved in the case of an unexplained death, coronial staff will transfer the deceased from the place of death to the corner’s premises. An autopsy may be required to find out why the person died.

When someone passes away overseas

When someone passes away overseas and you wish to bring the body back to Australia, you need to contact a local funeral directory to assist you. 

It is possible to do some of the transportation organising yourself, but it requires extensive planning. You will need to obtain an overseas death certificate and complete importation papers. For health reasons, the body will need to be embalmed overseas and returned to Australia in an outer coffin or crate suitably prepared for transportation. You may also need to check that the container meets any specific airline requirements. Non-embalmed bodies will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.

Given the time constraints involved, it is more common for arrangements to be carried out by funeral directors liaising between Australia and the overseas country involved.

Step 1 – When and where?

Choosing a time and day to hold the funeral service is a personal choice. Sometimes, this can be influenced by funeral director, parish church or even cemetery availability. When considering when a funeral will occur, be sure to consider the following things:

– Timing of other events such as direct family members’ birthdays or anniversaries
– Preparing a eulogy if one is not already written
– Relatives who need to travel to attend the service
– Gathering photographs and music for an audio-visual slideshow presentation

Step 2 – Complete Statutory Forms

There are a variety of statutory forms that must be completed as part of the funeral planning process. Many families find it more convenient to fill out these forms online, where they have plenty of time to locate all the relevant details.

Registration Of Death (Death Certificate)

This information is required by Births Deaths and Marriages when lodging for your loved one’s official Death Certificate.

Complete Registration Of Death

Hospital Release Forms

These forms are used when requiring hospital clearances prior to releasing your loved one into our care.

Austin Hospital Release Form

Royal Melbourne Hospital Release Form

St Vincent’s Hospital Release Form


Step 3 – Neos Kosmos Notice

A funeral notice is a listing placed by the family, usually through a funeral director. They will generally appear in Melbourne, Victoria newspapers as paid ads in the Classifieds or Obituaries section.

Melbourne’s Greek community newspaper, Neos Kosmos is published every Monday and ThursdayDeath and funeral notices are much shorter than obituaries and usually give basic information. A death and funeral notice usually contains the name of the deceased, place of birth and date of death. In addition, the time, date and location of the funeral is usually included as well.

Step 4 – Coffin Selection

Choosing a coffin or casket is an important aspect of arranging a funeral. We therefore offer a wide range of coffins and caskets which vary in many ways, including their shape, construction, design, workmanship, colour and other components, such as the handles and drapery.

Step 5 – Floral Tributes

We recommend selecting a funeral arrangement or tribute that really captures the essence of the person who has passed. If he or she had a favourite flower, or if there’s a flower that comes to mind when you think about the person, start from there.

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