It can be really hard to know where to start in the first few days and weeks after the death of someone significant. Grief can impact our ability to remember and interpret information. Try to be patient with yourself during this challenging period.
NSW Government has put together an extensive guide about navigating the first few steps after someone dies, as well as advice about acting as an executor. There is also information about financial support and the avenues available to you, including possible Centrelink payments.
Usually, the first priority is to contact a local funeral provider and engage their services. They will then assist you with making all necessary arrangements in consultation with you and your family.
They will also discuss registering the death with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Usually they will complete the paperwork for you.
It can take several weeks before you receive the death certificate. It can be useful to organise 5-10 certified copies of the death certificate.
You can read more through the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages page.
It can be overwhelming trying to remember who to notify. There is no particular urgency to completing these notifications – you are allowed to prioritise your own needs in the first few days and weeks. It often takes this long to receive the death certificate, and many services require a copy of the certificate to process the notification.
It may be helpful to ask a trusted relative or friend to help with these steps. However, some of the organisations will need to hear from the executor.
To help you identify who to contact, you can use an online or printed checklist, click here.
You can start the process through the Australian Death Notification Service. This is a service that streamlines notifications for participating organisations such as banks, superannuation groups, utility companies etc.
- Australian Death Notification Service
- NSW Government “What to do when someone dies”
- NSW Death Certificate Information
- Services NSW Information
- MoneySmart: Partner Loss
- MoneySmart: Wills and Powers of Attorney
- Law Access: After someone dies
- My Aged Care: National support for those aged 65 and above
- National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Carer Gateway: National support for carers
National charity offering 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention.
13 11 14 (24/7)
Supports Australians with their mental health.
1300 224 636 (24/7)
Mental Health Access Line
NSW service connecting people to their local relevant mental health services for children and adults.
1800 011 511 (24/7)
A crisis support line providing culturally safe support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to yarn about their worries, concerns and stresses.
13 92 76 (24/7)
National helpline offering confidential telephone counselling. Griefline also operates an 'Integrating Grief' program offering up to 6 x free telephone counselling sessions.
1300 845 745 (8am - Midnight, 7 days a week)
Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
National organisation offering grief information and support. Counselling limited to Victoria.
1800 642 066
Support groups and information for partner loss
Ph: 02 9519 2820
National Association for Loss and Grief
Supporting NSW communities, families and individuals experiencing loss and grief.
02 6882 9222 (business hours)
Guiding Light – Red Nose Grief and Loss
Support for parents dealing with pregnancy loss or loss of a child
1300 308 307 (24/7)
National Centre for Childhood Grief
Dedicated to supported bereaved children and their families. Runs the not-for-profit ‘A Friend’s Place’ counselling service in Sydney.
1300 654 556
Support for young people 12-24 who are dealing with cancer, including the loss of a family member from cancer.
1800 835 932
If you would like to download the brochure about our service, please click the following links: