What to do when a death occurs??

The death of a loved one can be an emotionally draining and planning a funeral is something most of us may only experience a couple of times. Because of this many aren’t aware of the process of what to do in the event of a loved one passing away. Cornerstone Funerals has put together a short step by step guide for you so can ensure you know what to do. 

At Time of Death

1. Contact the appropriate services

  • If the death was unexpected and didn’t occur at hospital you should call 000 and go through the appropriate emergency procedures.
  • If the death occurred at a hospital, nursing home or hospice speak with the staff regarding when the funeral director should be contacted.
2. Engage a funeral director (if not already done so). You will be asked some basic questions so they can prepare to bring your loved one into care and to make funeral arrangements with you. It’s important to know if there is a legal will in place for your loved one and who is the executor of that will.

3. Notify friends and family.

4. (If applicable) Make arrangements for any dependents or pets that your loved one was caring for.
(Other things to consider: collection of mail, watering plants etc.)
5. Notify your loved ones Church/Religious Group or any clubs they were associated with.

6. If you haven’t already, discuss with family and friends about the type of service and start to write notes on what the service to honour your loved one might look like.

At The Funeral Arrangement

1. Locate any important documents related to you loved ones funeral plans. There may be insurance policies or funeral bonds etc – Your funeral director will be able to assist you with this process.

2. There are legal forms to be completed at the arrangement that are submitted to Births, Deaths and Marriages. On these forms there are questions about your loved ones biographical information.  (ie: date and place of birth, parents full names including maiden names, names and dates of birth of any children etc.) We recommend you bring along any marriage or birth certificates to assist with this process.

3. Select a photo of your loved one to provide to the funeral home. This will help them with preparation for viewings and for any media. Also if you’re wanting a photo presentation the Cornerstone Funerals can put this together for you. Generally 30 photo’s fits a song nicely, if you’d like them in an order best to have this ready before you meet your funeral director. 
4. Bring along an outfit for your loved one that you’d like them to wear. This isn’t a requirement but having an outfit ready will save you another trip to the funeral home. Outfits 
5. Discuss with family about the type of service. Will it be a burial or cremation? With you have a funeral service or have a non attended burial/cremation. For more information on service types click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Funerals are a very personal event, the length of time from death to burial/cremation can vary based on cultural or religious requirements. If your loved one has gone to the coroners this can also impact the time frames for the service. There is no need to feel too rushed, most funerals happen around 3-5 days after the death has occurred but some can wait as long as a few weeks. 

There are two certificates generated when someone passes away. The Form 9 Medical Cause of Death Certificate and the Death Certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages (aka BDM). 

The former is required by the funeral home to allow them to conduct the necessary preparations and to enable them to submit the application for the Death Certificate from BDM. 

The latter is the certificate the families will need in order to settle any estate matters. 


When you create a will you appoint an executor of that will. This person will be in charge of handling your estate matters and has the responsibility of following the instructions set out in your will. If you are putting your will together it’s important to appoint an executor who you trust to carry out your wishes. We recommend that you regularly update your will.

With a loss there’s always a chance for emotions to run high. In the event there are disagreements the main factor in deciding how to proceed generally lies with the executor of the will. If there is no will then it’s based on the Next of Kin. 

Any disputes need to be sorted out and generally a funeral home will put things on hold until a resolution is met. If there’s still disagreement we would recommend engaging a mediator or solicitor to resolve the matter.

Non attended Cremations or Burials are increasing and we certainly can facilitate this service. 

There are many reasons for doing a Non Attended cremation or burial but we do recommend that your family or friends do something together. 

Funeral services can be daunting but they do have a purpose so whether it’s formal or informal, some form of gathering is a healthy step on the journey of grief. 

Yes we can assist you with finance options to help pay for the funeral service. Whilst we don’t provide the finance ourselves we do have local companies we can refer you to that may be able to assist you. Services that are paid in full prior to the funeral date are given a discount so getting finance can ensure that you receive this discount. 

We work with local companies like us and support various community groups in the Redcliffe area. We’re passionate about helping those in our backyard so rest assured every funeral service we do invests in your local area.