Who registers the death of the deceased and makes the funeral arrangements?

Written by Terry Johansson | 13th September 2013

The death must be registered with the Registrar of Deaths in the State in which the deceased died. There may be a time limit for this to occur so you should check the requirements of your State’s Birth, Deaths and Marriages department.  The registration can be delayed in some circumstances such as where a medical certificate is issued. It is usually the next of kin of the deceased or the executor who registers the death. The deceased’s next of kin is the spouse or civil partner, unmarried partner, children, parents or siblings. Click here for more information.

On registration, a death certificate will be provided.  It is a criminal offence not to register a person’s death.

Generally it will be the executor or next of kin who makes the funeral arrangements.

The courts can resolve disagreements between the deceased’s family members as to who makes the funeral arrangements if such a dispute arises.  For instance, if a person died without a Will then the next of kin who is entitled to apply for Letters of Administration, such as a spouse or unmarried partner, will more likely be given priority over other family members such as the children of the deceased.

It is a good idea for the executor to obtain several certified copies of the death certificate as it will need to be provided to several banks, companies and organisations in order to apply for Probate and finalise the deceased’s affairs.

After receiving the death certificate, the executor should contact Centrelink or any other government department from which the deceased received a benefit, to enable the finalisation of these payments.

The distribution of any superannuation fund will fall outside the Will. The trustee of the superannuation fund will usually distribute these funds to the deceased’s nominated third party. You should obtain legal advice if you or someone else wishes to contest the decision of the trustee of the deceased’s superannuation fund.

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