Dealing with the death of someone close to you is one of the most difficult things a person can experience.
As well as the many emotions that come with grief, it can be hard to know what practical things you need to do, or where to start.
Our experienced staff are on hand to help guide you through the process. We can assist you with making key decisions and handling any special requirements to meet your personal, cultural or religious needs.
Every situation is unique, however we've prepared a general guide below to some of the steps you may need to follow after someone close to you passes away.
One of the first things you need to do after someone dies is arrange a funeral director. There are several options available in our area which you can find through an online search or by checking a phone directory.
Feel free to speak to more than one funeral home and ask questions before you decide who to use.
It's important you feel comfortable and have a good relationship with your funeral director. They will help you throughout the rest of the process for burial or cremation, and holding a service.
Once you've secured a funeral director, they will work with us on your behalf. However, you are also welcome to talk to us directly at any point during the process.
If you're not the executor of the deceased person's estate, you will need to contact whoever has this role. You should do this as soon as possible after your loved one dies.
The executor is responsible for finding the will, making funeral and burial or memorial arrangements, getting the death certificate, and dealing with matters like handling any assets and debts the deceased person may have had.
If you're not sure who the executor is, or whether the deceased person left a will, you can check their personal papers, with their bank or solicitor, or the NSW Trustee & Guardian.
You can find a general guide to what happens after the death of a person with a will on the NSW State Library's Find Legal Answers website. However if you're unsure, we recommend you seek legal advice for your individual case.
If someone dies without a will
If the person who died did not have a will, we recommend you contact a legal expert for advice, and to start the process of dealing with their estate.
NSW State Library's Find Legal Answers website also has a general explanation of what happens if someone dies without a will.
If your loved one did not leave instructions about their preference for burial or cremation, you will need to make this decision.
We can answer any questions you have about these options. We can also arrange a tour of our grounds to help you decide what's right for your situation. Please call us on (02) 4227 7780 for advice or to request a tour.
Your funeral director will also be able to give you details and help guide you through this important decision.
After you decide on an option, your funeral director will make arrangements for the burial or cremation.
In some cases, a death may occur that does not involve either burial or cremation. For example, if a person decided to donate their body to research.
In these situations, we can help you create a lasting memorial by placing a plaque at one of our locations. This option lets you pay tribute to your loved one, leaves a permanent record, and gives you a place to visit and remember them.
See our current Memorial Options or call us on (02) 4227 7780 to discuss memorials with no remains.
Check if a site has already been reserved
Your loved one or their family may have already reserved a memorial or grave site at one of our locations.
Please call us on (02) 4227 7780 to check if there is a reservation.
You can also ask your funeral director to contact us for this information on your behalf.
Choose a memorial or burial site
If a site has not already been reserved, we can let you know what options are available at your preferred location, or near the resting place of any other family members.
You can also call us on (02) 4227 7780 for assistance choosing a site, or to arrange a tour.
Types of services
A funeral is a service to remember someone who has died with their body present. This is the most common type of service.
A memorial service is similar to a funeral, but without the body present.
Funeral and memorial services can be open for anyone to attend, or limited to a small number of invited close family or friends. Your funeral director will guide you through the process of deciding what type and size service to have, and how to make it a special acknowledgement of the person's life.
Where to hold a service
Services can be held indoors or outdoors. Talk to your funeral director about what's right for you.
You can arrange an indoor service in one of our chapels at Wollongong Memorial Gardens. It's also common for indoor services to be held at a funeral home or church.
You can also hold an outdoor service at any of our locations, including near the grave or memorial site. See our Arrange a Service page for details.
It is not compulsory to hold a funeral or memorial service.
You can make arrangements through your funeral director for burial or cremation without a service.
See our Who to Notify page for suggestions about different people and organisations you may need to contact.
Dealing with the death of someone you love doesn't end when the funeral is over and the estate has been settled.
The process of grief and mourning is different for everyone, and it will often affect you for a long time.
An important part of that process is to find ways to remember and acknowledge your loved one. Dates such as their birthday, holidays and anniversaries can be particularly hard for people dealing with loss.
At Wollongong Memorial Gardens, we take pride in offering places where our community can visit, remember, and maintain a meaningful connection with those who have died. We hold regular memorial services, including on Mother's Day, Father's Day and at Christmas, which anyone is welcome to attend. See our events calendar for upcoming dates.
We can also work with families to arrange memorial gatherings in our chapels or at outdoor locations. See our Arrange a Service page or call us on (02) 4227 7780 for details.
- Plan for the Future
- When Someone Dies
- Attending a Funeral
- Grief and Mourning
- Multicultural Support
- Support for People with Disability
- Common Questions