How to arrange a funeral

In this section, we provide help and guidance on funeral service related topics. Our funeral directors will be there to support you and guide you every step of the way.

Arrange a meeting with a White Lady funeral director



Call someone to let them know what has happened and that you are alright.

After this, you should call your loved one’s doctor. If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, then staff there will usually do this for you.

If it was the deceased’s wish to donate their organs then a hospital should also be advised as soon as possible.

Once the doctor has been over, you will need to contact a funeral home to arrange the transfer of the deceased into their care. This can be delayed for a little while if you would like some private time. If you would like our assistance, please call 1300 656 550. We are available 24/7.

What happens if someone dies at a hospital or nursing home?

If death occurs at a public hospital, the hospital administration will complete most of the formalities required for the issuing of the Death Certificate and other certificates. However, it will be up to the family to contact a funeral home directly. As most public hospitals have a mortuary, the deceased is usually moved from the hospital into a funeral director's care during weekday business hours.

If death occurs at a nursing home or private hospital and you are not already there, then the staff will usually contact the next of kin once the death has been confirmed.

It's common at some private hospitals and nursing homes for a funeral home to be nominated in advance and contacted upon the event of death. In these circumstances, the hospital or nursing home will contact the nominated funeral home to arrange the transfer of the deceased into care.

The Coroner – when your doctor is unable to issue a medical certificate of cause of death

In some cases, a doctor may not be able to issue a medical certificate of the cause of death and they will need to refer the death to the coroner. Because determining the cause of death is absolutely vital, you do not have the right to object to a death being referred to the coroner. However, if you have religious or other strong objections to a post mortem, you should notify the coroner.

There may be a number of reasons for referring a death to the coroner, including:

  • Death other than by natural causes, including violence, accidental or unusual causes.
  • Death whilst under anaesthetic (or within 24 hours of the administration of an anaesthetic).
  • Unexpected death.
  • Death of a person in an institution, a prison, in police custody or a drug or alcohol rehabilitation centre.
  • When the cause of death is unknown.
  • When the deceased had diagnosed dementia.


When you meet with one of our funeral directors, you can be sure that your every detail and every wish will be taken into account. It’s important to have adequate time to be able to think through what these might be and allow for some of the initial shock and emotions to settle.

Set aside 1-2 hours to meet and talk with our team to begin planning the funeral arrangements.

Whilst you do not need to make every decision in that first meeting, it is helpful to have an idea about the day, time and place for the ceremony as family and friends are often anxious to know so that they can plan their time, especially if they need to travel or take time off work. 

Your funeral director will guide you calmly through the process to ensure the funeral is exactly as you wish. One of the areas we will discuss with you is the ceremony itself. Whether it is a burial or a cremation, there are many options to consider such as a theme, music, flowers, the after funeral event and catering, videos and other aspects to personalise the funeral.

Many families find spending time with their loved one, either on the day before or the day of the funeral is helpful to their grieving. This can be done privately or publicly, and we call this time for reflection a ‘viewing’.

Based on what you decide, we will provide you with a fully itemised copy of the funeral arrangement, associated fees and payment options. The fees will only change if you change the details you have requested. White Lady Funerals will pay all the suppliers on your behalf – so you will only receive one account.


  1. Supportive family or friend if you like.
  2. Information for the Death Certificate.
  3. Clothes for the deceased to be dressed in including perfume, make up or after shave if you wish. A current photo is also helpful to assist us with their presentation.
  4. Prepaid funeral plan documents, if any.
  5. Burial site reservation, if any.


We have put together a free guide to cover all you need to know about funerals.

All You Need To Know About Funerals – White Lady Funerals (.pdf)

The first thing you need to know is that if someone has just passed away, it is perfectly alright for you to call someone like a partner, friend or relative to be with you. You should give yourself time to let the situation sink in. We know that it can be quite a shock realising someone you love has passed away, even if you were expecting it. Calling your loved one’s doctor is also a good idea.

After that, you can call us on 1300 656 550 and make a time to come in to one of our conveniently located funeral homes. Our female funeral directors will be there for you to offer our care and support.

More information about what to expect before, during and after the funeral service is available.