What should I do when a family member has died?
If the death occurs at home you should call your Doctor first and then a Funeral Director who will assist and guide you. In a rest home or hospital, the staff will contact the doctor but will usually leave it up to the family to contact the Funeral Director.
When is the Coroner involved?
The Coroner becomes involved when the cause of death is not able to be established by a doctor, is unexpected, or is the result of an accident, or other than natural causes. To establish the cause of death the Coroner may ask for the body to be examined by a pathologist… this is called a post mortem or autopsy. The concerns, and spiritual or cultural needs and beliefs of every family are respected and, accordingly, every effort is made to have this process completed within a reasonable time frame.
How should I choose a Funeral Director?
As there is no legislation governing who can establish themselves in the funeral profession it is important to choose carefully at this very vulnerable time. Choosing a member of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand ensures you receive quality, professional care and attention. Troup Funeral Home are FDANZ members and as such undertake ongoing training in all aspects of funeral care which ensures we uphold our commitment to the highest standard of professional and compassionate care.
How much does a funeral Cost?
This depends on your choices in regards to the casket, flowers, catering, newspaper notices, cremation or burial fees, gratuities etc and varies accordingly. The Funeral Home will charge for its services which include; carrying out your instructions, payment of disbursements on your behalf, liaising with cemeteries, clergy, celebrants, caterers etc. An estimate can be provided to you. Should you have financial concerns let us know so we can suggest options that may reduce costs.
Following a death, any bank accounts in the deceased’s sole name are frozen and may remain so until after probate, so it is worth considering having a joint account with your spouse or a trusted family member to ensure continued access to funds.
Do I have to have a funeral?
No you do not, however it is a requirement of law to arrange for the deceased to cremated or buried. Sometimes people feel that a funeral service is going to be too hard emotionally and seek to avoid a public setting when they are grieving deeply. Unfortunately people often regret this choice later. Although difficult, a funeral service is an important part of grieving the death of someone whose presence in the world mattered to many people in the course of their lifetime. If for some reason a funeral service is not held at the time, a memorial service at a later date can often serve a healing function. Funerals do not have to be big public events and families can opt for a private service or even a simple gathering at home to acknowledge the life and subsequent death of someone they love.
Do I have to use a casket?
Yes. Your Funeral Director will be able to show you a range of caskets readily available, or custom made options. You may make your own casket if you wish but it is wise to check with your cemetery or crematorium of choice to ensure they can manage the shape and measurements used. Those cultures for whom it is not customary to use a casket can be accommodated by certain cemeteries.
Does the casket get cremated too?
Yes. New Zealand law decrees that the casket is cremated along with all the attachments (handles, name plates etc). Any flowers adorning the casket will be cremated unless the family chooses to take them.
Is embalming necessary?
Embalming ensures disinfection and preservation during the funeral period and is particularly important if you wish to spend time with the deceased. If the funeral is delayed or the body has to travel then embalming is necessary.
Spending time with the deceased
Spending time with a person when they have died is traditional for many peoples of the world. This pattern changed during the last century for some groups though and they began to feel uneasy about being with someone after their death. In recent years the practice of visiting the deceased at the Funeral Home or actually having them at home in the days before the funeral has once more become common. Many people are hesitant at first but later say how they were helped with their grieving by spending time with their loved one. However this should always remain a matter of choice. If you are undecided feel free to discuss this with your Funeral Director who can reassure you and answer your questions. You should never feel forced into a decision you are not comfortable with.
Should children attend a funeral?
Children grieve too although they may express it differently to adults. They may make comments that seem inappropriate to adults and they may have lots of questions. It is important that these are answered in an honest way with words that are clear, simple and truthful. You can explain that when a person dies their body does not work anymore and they will not feel warm like a living person’s body does. Being involved in the planning of the funeral can be helpful and children certainly should not be put aside or “protected from grief” at this time.
When will I get the death certificate?
Your Funeral Director will register the death with Internal Affairs within three days following the funeral and will request a Death Certificate which is normally received within 3-5 days. Some of the information required to register the death is detailed in the Personal Profile segment of this site.
Burial or Cremation?
If you have strong preferences regarding this it is important to let family, or your Funeral Director of choice know. Your wishes will be adhered to wherever possible but family can choose otherwise if there are practical, financial or spiritual considerations. Talk to your family about any possible impediments to your wishes being carried out.
Burial The choice between burial or cremation is a very personal one. Burial involves either you choosing and paying for a plot beforehand or the family doing so afterwards. As well as the plot fee there will usually be an interment and maintenance fee. Depending on the cemetery, and the plot you choose, you may be able to inter one or sometimes up to three people per plot. An additional cost is the installation of a memorial headstone. Many families find comfort in having a grave to go to, to remember and reflect on someone who has died. They can often find comfort in perhaps seeing their parents, or perhaps a parent and child symbolically reunited after being separated by an earlier death.
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Cremation Cremation is usually a less expensive option than burial. Before a cremation can occur, two doctors must be approached for their permission to cremate and the family must also sign a form confirming their permission. Your Funeral Director will arrange all this for you. Families and friends often like to put mementos into the casket but sometimes these do have to be removed prior to cremation, for example glass or batteries. Your Funeral Director can advise what these restrictions are. The only thing required to be removed from a person’s body prior to cremation is a pacemaker and your Funeral Director will arrange this.
How do I know I have the right ashes?
Cremations occur singly. All the ashes are completely removed from the cremator before it is used again and are placed in a named container. Robust procedures govern how this is done and you can be assured that the correct ashes will be returned to you.
Where can ashes be scattered?
At this stage there are no regulations regarding the scattering of ashes but if choosing a local park or public space it is wise to check with the appropriate administrators ie council. Some will have a register where you can record the fact that ashes have been scattered but this is purely optional. When scattering ashes bear in mind the sensitivity of outside observers.