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It can be overwhelming to know who to notify after a death. The executor, spouse or next of kin will usually contact the relevant people and services to advise that their loved one has died.
This guide sets out everyone that will generally be needed to notify, including:
- Who to notify immediately after a death
- Other people to notify after a death
- Businesses and services to notify of a death
- Notifying Centrelink, care providers and government departments
- Other organisations to contact
To make things a little easier, we have created a checklist of who you may need to contact of the passing. You can use this form by marking off who has been notified and adding in details of each contact and account information. You can download our checklist by clicking the below button:
1. Who to notify immediately after a death
If someone dies at home, a doctor will need to come to verify the passing and provide a cause of death certificate before any funeral arrangements can be made. There is no need to call the police if the death was expected.
If the death happened in hospital, staff will be able to call a doctor to certify the death. Hospital staff will guide you through the process of what happens next.
If the cause of death was unexpected, unclear, suspicious, or a result of a workplace incident, the police must be called. Officers will likely arrange for the deceased person to be taken to the Coroner for investigation. For more information, read our article ‘What to do if someone dies unexpectedly’, here.
If the deceased was registered as an organ donor or body donor, you will need to notify the relevant register immediately, as collection needs to happen as soon as possible. For organ donation, contact the Organ Donor Register on 1800 777 203. For body donation, there is no central register so you will need to contact the university where the deceased registered as a body donor.
A funeral provider can be engaged once death has been verified. If the deceased person had a funeral plan with a pre-paid provider like Bare Cremation, contact them to arrange collection. If you would like to arrange a funeral with Bare Cremation, you can call us any time of day or night on 1800 071 176 or fill in your details on the website.
Notifying family and friends
The passing of a loved one is a difficult time, so at this early stage, it’s often best to only notify immediate family and close friends.
People accept death in different ways and every situation may be different. Be prepared that the person receiving the news may want time to process the information alone. If the passing happened peacefully, it can be helpful sharing this information as you break the news, as it can help put family and friends at more ease.
You might want to hold off on posting about the passing on social media until other family members have been notified, and request that family and friends also avoid posting on social media at this time.
NOTIFYING EMPLOYER OF THE DEATH
After you notify an employer or business partners of the death, the company may want the next of kin or another family member to collect personal belongings and return any keys or company property. Their administrative policy may also require a family member to meet the Human Resources department in person. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do this immediately. Don’t be afraid to request more time or find out if another family member can do this on your behalf.
2. Other people to notify after a death
Once the most immediate family, close friends and employer or business partners have been informed of the death, families will generally notify other relatives, friends and any care providers.
It may help lighten the load if you ask other family members to pass on the news to others. You may choose to use social media to inform others of the funeral or memorial service later on.
3. Businesses and services to notify of a death
Next, a businesses or service providers will need to be notified of the death, to ensure the service or subscription is cancelled. You may need to provide a copy of the Death Certificate as proof. You can read more about what’s involved in our article ‘How to get a death certificate and what do I need to register a death?’ here.
4. Notifying Centrelink, care providers and government departments
If the deceased person was receiving care – either in their home or in a nursing home – the relevant service providers will need to be notified of the passing. They may have been accessing care services provided by their local council, for example Meals on Wheels. If that is the case, the council will need to be contacted so that the services may be cancelled.
Centrelink and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA)
If the deceased received any government or Centrelink payments, pensions or other benefits, through the Department of Human Services (DHS), Services Australia, or Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA), the relevant departments must also be notified and benefits cancelled up to the date of death. A spouse or dependant may be eligible for bereavement benefits and other government assistance if the eligibility criteria is met.
To notify Centrelink of a death, you can call the Older Australians line on 132 300 between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday, and say ‘bereavement’. Alternatively, you can download this Advice of death form and submit it, or visit a service centre.
If the deceased was receiving a pension or other payments from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA), you will need to notify them of the death. You should also find out if the DVA can assist with funeral expenses. Call 1800 555 254 or visit the DVA website.
The Australian Electoral Office
To ensure voting records are up to date, the Australian Electoral Office will need to be notified of the death. You can request the deceased person’s name be removed from the electoral roll online by filling out a notification of death form here.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO)
If the deceased person has ever submitted a tax return and has a Tax File Number, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will need to be notified of their death. You can fill out the online ATO Notification of a Deceased Person form here. Alternatively, you may also download a paper form here.
5. Other organisations to contact
Below is a list of other organisations and service providers you may need to notify after a death:
- Real estate provider
- Household utilities, phone and internet providers
- Bank and financial institutions
- Foxtel, streaming services and other entertainment subscriptions
- Newspaper or other online subscriptions
- Club memberships and professional associations
- Automatic delivery orders like meals or prescriptions
- Insurance / Funeral Bond
- Superannuation. Details on claiming the Superannuation Death Benefit can be found here.
- Social media. For help closing accounts, read our article ‘What happens to Facebook when you die?’