Deaths at a hospital or aged care home
Death often occurs at a hospital or aged care home and in these instances, the staff are very experienced at assisting loved ones with the process.
The attending doctor or nurse will take care of officially confirming the death and issue a Cause of Death Certificate.
Deaths at home, or at another location
This one is a little bit different. If your loved one has died at their home or at another location, you need to call 000 and ask for an ambulance.
Once the ambulance crew arrives, they will contact the police or your loved one’s GP. In some cases, a GP will be unable to issue the Cause of Death Certificate, and in this situation the police will attend.
It is a necessary procedure to notify the coroner and prepare a report to establish the cause of death.
What to do once a death is confirmed
There are a few steps to take once you reach this point, so it’s important to have the personal details of your recently departed loved one ready.
You will likely need the following information when liaising with any organisations or businesses:
- Full legal name
- Date and place of birth
- Home address
- Next of kin
Is there a will?
It is essential to find out if your loved one had a will, as this will generally (but not always) name an executor and contain other important details.
Often you will already know if a will exists but if not, a simple phone call to their lawyer or accountant will provide the answer.
If there is no will, the next of kin can apply for letters of administration. If you find more than one will, the most recent will revokes any previous will/s made by your loved one.
If you uncover a document that sets out your loved one’s wishes and you are unsure whether it is a valid will, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.
Has an executor been appointed?
The executor of a will is the individual who has been appointed to carry out the wishes of a person after they die. They settle any debts and organise and distribute any assets as set out in the will.
Finding out who has been named as the executor of a will can be very simple, as their name should appear in the will. This, however, assumes that you have seen the will, or know where it is, which is not always the case.
If your loved one has not left a will, the court generally appoints an executor on their behalf.
Removing an executor
The only way to remove an executor is for the grant of probate to be revoked and a new executor appointed.
A grant of probate is a Supreme Court document that recognises someone’s authority to deal with the estate of a person who has passed away.
Removing an executor can be a difficult process. If the person appointed as executor feels they may be unable to fulfil their responsibilities, generally it is best practice for them to renounce their role as soon as possible.
Home care services
When your loved one passes away, any in-home services they may be receiving will stop. This is important to keep in mind, particularly if the deceased is your partner and you are relying on these services too.
You can contact Feros Care on 1300 763 583 to discuss this further, and we will be able to help ensure you have the appropriate support to live comfortably at home.
We have also compiled a comprehensive checklist of people, organisations and/or businesses you will need to notify in addition to home service providers.