When someone dies, there are a number of people and organisations that need to be notified. This guide sets out everyone that you need to notify, including:
- Who to notify immediately
- When to notify the coroner
- People who should be notified
- Companies and organisations to be notified
- Government organisations to be notified
- Who is responsible for notifying
- Junk mail
- Funeral arrangements
1. Who to notify of a death immediately
When someone dies, it will be necessary to alert certain people immediately.
Who to notify if someone dies at home
If someone dies at home and the death was expected, call the deceased’s doctor who will certify the death. You don’t need to call the police or ambulance.
If someone dies at home and the death is unexpected, depending on the circumstances of the death, you should call the police and/or your doctor. In certain situations, the death will need to be reported to the coroner for further investigation and determination of the cause of death. For more information, see “When to notify the coroner about a death” below.
Who to notify if someone dies at the hospital
If someone dies in hospital, notify the staff who will arrange for a doctor to certify the death. Hospital staff will be available to help you through the process and answer any questions you might have.
For more guidance, see our Checklist: What to do when someone dies in Australia.
2. When to notify the coroner about a death
Deaths that have occurred unusually or unexpectedly must be reported to the Coroner.
How do you report a death the Coroner? In most situations, the police officer or doctor attending will notify the Coroner if it is a reportable death.
Below is a list of circumstances for which a death may need to be reported:
- If the death was unexpected
- If the deceased had not been seen by a doctor in the 6 months before the death
- If the death was violent
- If the death was unnatural (for example, as the result of a suicide)
- If the death was caused by an injury or accident
- If the death was the result of a medical procedure
For more information about reporting a death to the Coroner in each state see the links below:
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, New South Wales
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, Victoria
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, Queensland
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, Western Australia
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, South Australia
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, ACT
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, Northern Territory
- When to notify the Coroner of a death, Tasmania
Coronial investigations and funerals
If, after reporting a death to the Coroner, it becomes the subject of a coronial investigation, you will not be able to hold the funeral for the deceased until the body is released. Generally, a body is only released for cremation or burial once the cause of death has been determined – although in some circumstances, the body may be released before the investigation is complete.
3. People to notify of a death
While there are no set laws or regulations on who you must notify of a death, you should consider notifying the following people:
- Immediate family (including children and partner)
- Parents of the deceased
4. Companies and organisations to notify of a death
It will also be necessary to notify a number of companies and organisations when someone has passed away to ensure that subscriptions are cancelled and mail does not continue to be delivered. Depending on the organisation, you may need to write a letter enclosing a copy of the death certificate.
Below is a list of the service providers and organisations you may need to notify after a death:
- Bank and financial institutions
- Newspaper subscription
- Entertainment subscriptions
- Online subscriptions
- Automatically refilling medical prescriptions
- Social media
- Insurance / Funeral Bond
- Government departments (see below)
5. Government departments to notify of a death
Some of the government departments you will need to notify of a death include:
Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support
If the deceased was receiving assistance from the government, such as a retirement pension, child support, disability, or unemployment benefits you will need to notify the Department of Human Services (DHS) of the death.
To notify DHS of the death, complete the Advice of Death Form (SA116A).
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
You will also need to inform the ATO of the death. This can be completed via an online form or by mail.
If you are the executor of the deceased’s estate, you will also need to lodge a final tax return for the current year as well (as the previous financial year if one has not already been submitted).
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
If the deceased was receiving a pension or other benefit from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, they will need to be notified of the death. Click here for details on contacting the DVA
Depending on your circumstances, you may also be eligible for a death benefit from the DVA. For more information, see our Guide to Funeral Assistance in Australia.
6. Who is responsible?
As you can see, a lot of work is required to notify all the relevant people, companies and organisations of a death.
Generally speaking, the deceased person’s executor or next of kin will be responsible for making the relevant notifications.
7. Junk mail
If you want to stop marketing and advertising being sent to the deceased, you can register their details on the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising website. Alternatively, you can make a written request to the postal address:
GPO Box 3895
Sydney NSW 2001
8. Funeral arrangements
Once you have notified the relevant people of a death, you will need to arrange a funeral. You may find the following resources useful when you are ready to plan a funeral:
When you’re ready to find a funeral director, Gathered Here lets you easily compare the prices and reviews of the funeral directors in your area:
- Go to www.gatheredhere.com.au
- Select the type of funeral you are arranging
- Type in your location and click “Compare”
We hope you have found this guide on who to notify of a death helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by leaving a message in the comments section below or at email@example.com
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