Frequently Asked Questions

When a loved one passes away, many of us aren’t sure what to do. Below we look at some frequently asked questions regarding what to do when a death has occurred and how to go about organising funeral arrangements.

Who is Responsible for Funeral Arrangements?

The next of kin is usually responsible for arranging a funeral for the deceased. This might be their spouse, legal partner, child, parent, sibling or another family member.

What Do I Do First When Someone Passes Away?

If someone passes away at home, you should contact their doctor or Silverchain to certify that death has occurred. If death occurs in a public or private hospital, the death certificate will be organised through the facility and the attending doctor will usually sign it. If the family wish to have a cremation service, the doctor must also complete a form 7. Once the doctor or registered nurse has verified the death, a funeral director can take the deceased into their care.

What is the Role of a Funeral Director?

When a loved one passes, organising and making decisions regarding funeral arrangements can be difficult and stressful while you are grieving. An experienced funeral director can provide understanding and support during your time of loss, guiding you through all of the necessary considerations and helping to take away the burden involved in organising a loving, final tribute to honour the life of your loved one.

When is the Involvement of a Coroner Necessary?

In cases where the death is accidental, unexplained or unexpected, there may be a need for police involvement. A coroner is notified by police to determine the cause of death, which may sometimes require an autopsy. The funeral director will be in touch with the coroner during the process and keep the family informed.

What If You or the Deceased are Overseas?

If you are overseas when your loved one passes away, we are able to take them into our care until you return. If a loved one passes away while they are overseas, we can coordinate a repatriation or transportation of the deceased. This includes liaising with various government departments, consular officials and other relevant authorities on your behalf.

Is a Viewing Necessary?

Some people want the opportunity to see the deceased prior to the funeral, and some people do not. While you are definitely allowed to see your loved one, it is not compulsory.  If you do not wish to identify the body, a funeral director can do so on your behalf with your consent.

When is Embalming Required?

Embalming is the process of replacing bodily fluids with chemical fluids. It is optional and generally undertaken to:

  • Preserve the body
  • Control infection
  • Enhance the presentation of the deceased

Some funeral homes may insist on embalming, however, we suggest embalming only if it is necessary.

Cremation or Burial?

The deceased will generally make the choice as to whether to be cremated or buried. Cremation services are steadily becoming more popular as they are substantially more affordable than burial services and are also seen as more eco-friendly. Some families also like the portability of ashes.

Do Funeral Homes Provide Cremation Services?

In Western Australia, only a government run organisation such as the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board can cremate a body. Private crematoriums do exist in other states however.

How Does Cremation Work?

In most cases, the body of the deceased will be cremated within a 24-hour period of the funeral service taking place. The process of cremation consists of the following basic steps.

  • The body is prepared and placed into a container made of wood or rigid cardboard.
  • The container with the body is moved to the cremation chamber where it is burned for two to three hours. Many facilities allow the family of the deceased to witness the cremation.
  • After cremation, the remaining metal is removed using a magnet and the remains are ground.
  • The “ashes” are transferred to either a temporary container or in an urn provided by the family.

Depending on the size of the body and process used by the crematorium, the process produces 1 to 4kg of remains. Cremated remains are commonly referred to as ashes, however, they consist primarily of bone fragments. Ashes are generally available for collection within 48hrs of the funeral service taking place.

Where Can a Funeral Service Take Place?

Depending on the wishes of the deceased and your family, you can have the funeral service at a church, cemetery, funeral home or another indoor or outdoor venue of your choice with approval.

Who Leads the Service?

Any person can lead a funeral service. Families often choose a minister or a funeral celebrant. A family member or close friend can also fulfil this role if they feel comfortable doing so. Your funeral director can assist in locating the best person to suit your family’s needs.

What’s the Difference Between a Minister and a Celebrant?

A minister will generally provide a service which relates to a religion and may be more traditional. A celebrant will conduct a service according to your family’s particular wishes and generally without a religious influence.

How Do I Write a Eulogy?

Writing and performing a eulogy can be daunting, but it’s a great way of honouring a loved one and sharing special memories. It can also be an important part of the healing process for you and everyone else involved. Start by introducing yourself and thanking everyone for coming. Provide a short bio on the deceased’s life including key achievements and important family members.

Write about special memories, humorous stories and their unique qualities, hobbies, life achievements. Close with words of comfort and goodbyes. This could be lessons they taught you or the impact they had on your life and others and a special phrase or quote from the heart. After you’re done, ask someone to proofread it and practice reading it out. Remember that it is okay to feel nervous and emotional when performing the eulogy.

How Much Do Funerals Cost?

The cost of a funeral varies depending on what options your family chooses and whether you can access compensation or insurance funds. Some of the costs you may need to consider include:

  • Funeral service fees
  • Cost of a selected coffin, casket or urn
  • Cemetery fees
  • Fees associated with venue hire
  • Celebrant or minister fees
  • Newspaper notices
  • Cost of flowers and other decorative elements used in the funeral service

At Hetherington Funerals, we tailor our services to suit your personal circumstances including offering affordable funeral services.

Do You Offer Multicultural Services?

Australia is home to a diverse range of cultures and religion. We pride ourselves on catering to a diverse range of customs and styles of service. There are no restrictions on how your funeral service can be personalised.

What is the Difference Between a Coffin and a Casket?

A coffin is tapered in shape, wider at the shoulders and narrower at the foot. They are usually made of solid timber or custom wood. A casket is rectangular, comes with a hinged lid and can be made of solid timber, custom wood or metal. We also offer a choice of nicely finished and presented environmental caskets and coffins for those who are eco-conscious.

What is involved in pre-planning a funeral??

Many Australians choose to pre-plan their funeral in order to ensure their wishes are carried out. This also relieves some of the burden placed on family members who have the responsibility of organising the funeral following their death. Some of the things outlined in a pre-planned funeral includes choosing between cremation and burial, coffin or casket, celebrant or minister, etc. If you wish to prepay your funeral, we can help you set up a funeral bond, which is a secure account that holds your money until the time of passing.

When Should a Newspaper Notice Be Organised?

Newspaper notices are usually placed by family and friends prior to the funeral service taking place. It includes essential information about the deceased, where and when the funeral will take place, and whether the family would prefer donations to a particular charity in lieu of flowers. At Hetherington Funerals, we arrange a newspaper notice as part of our service.

What is a funeral bond?

A Funeral Bond safely holds your money as an investment with the purpose of funding your funeral service. The money is Capital Guaranteed, which means you are guaranteed the return of your net contributions and declared bonuses so there is never a need to worry about losing your money. You can either pay the entire amount upfront, or you can pay it off over time. Our pre-planning arrangers can sit with you and guide you through the entire process.

Get in touch for more information about Perth funerals and keepsake urns

It is our responsibility to ensure we meet your individual requirements in any way we possibly can. For more information on burials, cremations or any of our other services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Because you never know when you’re going to need us, our team is available to contact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can talk you through the services and processes of a funeral with a dedication to quality of care, and answer any questions you have. Call us on (08) 9459 2846 or alternatively, send an email to info@hetheringtonfunerals.com.au.

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Very caring staff, my Mothers funeral was conducted with compassion, understanding and professionalism. thank you to all staff, very grateful for the service you provided.


Just a short note to thank you sincerely for the excellent funeral service you were able to conduct for my mother. The team was very professional and caring, and the day was relatively stress free, thanks to your efforts. Thanks again for a job well done.


Thank you for supporting the family through the preparation phase of Mum’s funeral and at the service itself. We were very pleased with the dignity of the arrangements and the staff assisting were most helpful. Please accept our sincere thanks.


Very professional and reasonably priced. Will organise everything that needs to be done. Thanks Eric


Hetherington Funerals did an amazing job in helping organise and implement my Father in law’s Memorial Service. It was held at their Chapel in Maddington. We could not fault any of it, it was respectful, dignified and every thing my Mother in law requested. We had morning tea which was served beautifully and everything was well looked after and unobtrusively topped up (tea/coffee/orange juice etc.) Everything went so smoothly, not one hitch and the Chapel is such a calming, reflective place. I would highly recommend Hetherington Funerals to anyone. Definitely a 10 out of 10.

Barbara Bell

We can say without hesitation that you delivered on your commitments in spades. You are not only congratulated but you should take pride in the way every member of your company shows a true commitment to your vision of your company’s goals. And in our case particularly you Ashton you are the right person in the right job. We have no hesitation is recommending your firm to anyone who is looking for a professional outfit.

HARDMAN family

Just a short note to thank you sincerely for the excellent funeral service you were able to conduct for my mother. The team was very professional and caring, and the day was relatively stress free, thanks to your efforts. Thanks again for a job well done.


Thank you for supporting the family through the preparation phase of Mum’s funeral and at the service itself.

We were very pleased with the dignity of the arrangements and the staff assisting were most helpful.

Please accept our sincere thanks.