Before doing anything else, you should ensure that you allow yourself proper time to grieve for the loss of your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner. Even though there is much to arrange, it is important that you permit yourself some time for yourself.
You must register the death of your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner with the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State in which he / she died. This must usually be done within 14 days of the date of death however this time may vary from State to State. There are some circumstances in which the registration of a death can be delayed. Click here for more information.
Once the death certificate has been issued, you should contact a funeral director who will make arrangements for the body to be transported to the funeral home. Sometimes, a Will may include details as to how the deceased would like their body disposed of (i.e. burial or cremation) and what type of funeral service they would like. These details are not binding on you. However, you may have discussed your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner’s wishes before they passed away and will wish to comply. Click here for more information.
Usually, the funeral costs will be paid for from any money left by your spouse/civil partner or unmarried partner. These costs take priority over other expenses and should be paid first. In most cases, banks and other financial institutions will release funds from the deceased’s bank accounts in order to pay for the funeral costs.
The procedure and requirements in order for this to occur will vary from company to company, so you should contact the deceased’s bank or other financial institution directly to discuss this process. Typically, a bank will release up to $15,000 upon production of the registered death certificate and / or an invoice from a funeral director.
You will need to inform several organisations of your spouse/civil partner’s death such as the local Council, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, and any other organisation from where he / she was receiving benefits. Click here for more information.