What do you do when someone dies? A technical guide


Death is a part of life  but we tend to ignore it until it happens.

Not many of us are prepared to deal with the pain and grief of losing a loved one or to handle the practicalities of losing a close relative, friend or partner. 

So what steps do you need to take when someone dies? 

1) Contact the relevant people 

If the person dies at home, contact the family doctor. They will be able to guide you through the process. Contact the next of kin and your  family or friends, so that you can also have the necessary support during this difficult time .

If it was an accidental death, or if you suspect foul play or unusual circumstances you must contact the police. If the person was an organ donor, let the relevant people know. 

2) Register the death

According to the South African Government website you will need to get a death certificate for the deceased.

This is issued by the Department of Home Affairs, a police station if the Department has no offices in your town, the South African mission or consulate if the death occurred abroad, or by licenced funeral undertakers. 

A death report will be issued after the death has been registered and with that, permission for a burial order. No burial may take place without this.  * See point 5. 

3) Find out whether the person has funeral cover 

According to Old Mutual, a funeral can cost you anything between R7 000 and R30 000.

Since the deceased’s accounts will be frozen until the estate is wound up, you won’t have access to those funds to pay for the funeral. And who has R20 000 just lying around? 

There are a number of funeral plans available so find out whether the deceased has made provision for his or her death. 

4) Look for a last will and testament 

A last will and testament not only stipulates what should be done with the deceased’s assets and funds, but usually also includes how they would like to be laid to rest.

Do they want to be buried, cremated or their body donated to medical science? Do they want a religious ceremony or a secular one? Do they have specific cultural or religious stipulations regarding their funeral? Most of this will be found in a will. 

5) Organising the funeral 

From transporting the body to planning the service or memorial, a reputable funeral parlour can be very helpful during this time. They will even be able to obtain the death certificate for you .  

This will cost money though, which is why it’s important to have funeral cover. 

The last thing you want to do when you die is to leave your loved ones in a financially difficult financial situation. So be prepared.

Get funeral cover now for yourself, or your loved ones, so that you know you’ll be financially covered when the time comes so that you can focus on the important things. Have a look at the range of funeral plans offered by Old Mutual to choose one that suits your needs. 

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