FAQ - Afterlife Funerals
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FAQ

COVID-19 & Precautions
Our statement

COVID-19 Precaution. In the interest of public health and our staff, for all new appointments and confirmation of existing bookings please contact us via phone on 02 9954 6655 or email.

If you are attending one of our chapel services, for the health and safety of everyone you must adhere to Australian Government Department of Health for guidelines and recommendations regarding COVID-19.

How is social distancing being implemented at funerals?
All chapels within the Sydney region have restrictions on the number of mourners that can enter the facility. Any additional mourners will be required to remain outside and should still practice social distancing and good hygiene by maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between people where possible.
Is live streaming available?
Most cemetery/crematorium chapels in Sydney now offer FREE live streaming during COVID-19. Venues such as churches and halls don’t offer this service, though there are external companies that offer the service at an additional charge.
Are condolences still allowed?
Physical touch is always important especially during a time of loss, thought to keep everyone safe you should avoid contact where possible. Though it is not compulsory in NSW to wear a mask, we suggest wearing a mask when close to others and use our complimentary hand sanitizer after contact.
What if I am feeling unwell?
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, we ask for your cooperation in not attending the funeral.
Why do I need to give you my personal details when attending a funeral?
The Government guidelines require us to keep a register of all attendees at funeral services. This register is to be held securely by Afterlife Funerals and the attending venue for 30 days and only released if requested by the Department of Health for contact tracing.
When a death has occurred
First steps - Private Residence
When a person dies in a private residence, a death certificate will usually be signed by the family doctor (providing the doctor has attended the patient during the preceding six months and has seen the patient within the last 3 weeks). We highly recommend especially for families choosing to cremate, that the attending doctor is your normal GP (General Practitioner or Doctor). This will avoid the decease having to be transferred again the following day to be viewed by the normal GP and save on additional costs. All forms can be requested by calling our staff on (02) 99546655.

Sometimes there is a need for Police involvement, especially for accidental, unexplained or unexpected death. The Police will notify the Coroner, who acts on behalf of the deceased to determine the cause of their death. An autopsy many be required.

First steps – Nursing Home
When a person dies in a nursing home, a medical certificate cause of death is issued by the normal nursing home GP. Sadly though, most nursing homes push the families to have the deceased transferred immediately and have an afterhours GP or Registered Nurse sign an interim certificate. This certificate is fine for burial requirements as your chosen funeral director can chase up the official medical certificate cause of death afterwards. If you are deciding on a cremation, the normal GP must see the body after death as stated on the attending practitioner’s cremation certificate. You as the next of kin have every right to demand the normal GP attends and issues the certificate before you call a funeral director, or the body is transferred. We have this form available and are more than happy to forward to you so the GP can complete the form. Most GP’s charge for this form as it isn’t covered under the Medicare scheme. An estimate cost is $110. If this is paid by the family to the doctor, we are happy to refund or deduct the amount from the funeral cost. All forms can be requested by calling our staff on (02) 99546655.
First steps – Hospital
When a person dies in a private hospital or public hospital the hospital doctor will usually sign the certificate. Once a death has been verified, the family is able to contact a funeral director of their choice to request transfer of the deceased.
It is now mandatory in NSW, that all hospital transfers require written permission from the next of kin.
The Funeral
What is the role of the Funeral Director?
At some time in life, everyone will experience the loss of someone close. The absolute grief, confusion and numbness that accompany the news of a death can sometimes make decisions, regarding funeral arrangements, difficult and stressful. We understand that this is a deeply personal and private time, when sensitivity to the memory of a loved one and the feelings of families are paramount. Our role is to answer the many questions that will arise and guide families through arrangements to create a loving and final tribute to best honour the life of their loved one.
What options are there for venues?
Most funeral services are held in a church, funeral home chapel or at a cemetery chapel.

The choice belongs to the family making the arrangements and there is now an increasing trend towards alternative locations that best reflects the deceased person and places that were dear to them. Providing permission is gained from the appropriate local authority (if needed) a funeral service can be held at almost any location.

Who leads or conducts the funeral service?
Any person is able to lead a funeral service. Most often, families choose a minister of religion or a civil celebrant. Your funeral director is usually able to nominate the best person to suit your family’s needs. A close friend or family member can certainly fulfil this role if they are comfortable in doing so.
The Eulogy
People often find the task of writing and performing a eulogy quite daunting, but it can be a wonderful way to remember a loved-one and share some special memories. It can also be an important part of the healing process. It is an honour to be chosen to deliver a eulogy. It means your family or loved ones believe you are capable and know the deceased well enough to write something meaningful. With the right preparation, you can create a memorable experience for everyone present and make it less traumatic for you. We are here to assist where needed. If at any point you don’t feel confident reading the eulogy, the minister or civil celebrant is always there to assist or deliver it.

Tips for delivering a Eulogy. Delivering the eulogy might bring on some unexpected emotions. Speak slowly, quite loudly, use high and low pitches, don’t be afraid to pause and most importantly, breathe. Remember, it is ok if you find yourself unable to continue. We are always able to assist when needed. It is ok to be nervous, just relax and take your time.

Brainstorming. Obtain stories from family and friends. Funny stories always help enlighten the mood. Read other eulogies to give yourself examples on what to write. Think about how the deceased would like to be remembered. Write the Introduction and acknowledge why everyone has gathered today. Remember to introduce yourself and your relationship with the deceased and thank family, friends and guests for attending

Write a short bio on their life. Remember to include the place and date of birth, family members, and special events. Talk about their spouse/partner, and any children and/or grandchildren. Highlight special memories and stories such as life achievements, talents, passions and/or hobbies, and unique qualities. Using gentle humour always eases tension.

Finale. Close with comforting words and your goodbye. Use topics of lessons they taught you and the impact they had on your life and/or the lives of others. Finish by saying a final goodbye. This could be a special poem, a phrase, a quote or a very personal goodbye spoken from the heart.

Ask for someone to proofread, especially confirm details such as names and dates. Read it to someone else prior so they can hear your overall tone and how you have captured the person you are honouring?

Viewings
A private viewing can be arranged prior to the funeral at an additional cost or be included in the allocated funeral timing at no cost. Some families organise a double booking on the day of the funeral and have the viewing prior to the actual allocated funeral time. This gives the family and invited guests private time before the conducted funeral service. Some embalming maybe required prior to viewing a deceased person, and this is usually determined by a qualified embalmer. If additional preparation is required, the family are always consulted prior and advised of the fees applicable.
Children
Children are always welcome at funerals and sometimes even given a role to play as part of the funeral service. There are some families however, who may feel their children are too young to understand or participate fully. This decision is however on the parents or guardian of the children.
Funeral Options
How do we obtain the Death Certificate?
Your funeral director will provide you with the New South Wales Birth, Deaths & Marriages Death Registration form for you to complete. Once completed and returned to the funeral home, the funeral home will send a copy of the medical certificate cause of death issued by the attending GP or Doctor to Births, Deaths & Marriages with your completed form. Births, Deaths & Marriages will action the registration the day after the funeral has taken place. Once registered, the official Death Certificate will take approximately 2 weeks to arrive at your premises via registered mail. The certificate can be collected from either Chippendale or Parramatta offices by the applicant if so desired.
Flowers
Our arrangers can assist with all your floral needs, from casket sprays to individual reflection flowers. We support our local florists and can share their details if you wish to personally speak to them. However, you may already have a preferred florist, in which case, please feel free to speak with them. They may need some details such as the delivery address, date and time. They are welcome to call us to discuss these details.
Transport
Most families tend to utilise their own vehicles these days, though we can provide chauffeured sedans and limousines as per the family’s requests. All pricing is on application due to distance and services needed.
Memorialisation
Can the funeral service be personalised?
Our packages provided the normal necessary requirements, though we always make recommendations to families on how they can personally contribute to make a unique experience that reflects and honours the life of your loved one.

Selection of much loved music, recorded or live, can add atmosphere and invoke special memories, the choice of a video tribute or floral presentation, the placement of personal memorabilia, lighting of candles or placement of a national flag or service medals (if appropriate) all help create a moving and lasting memory that is both personal and meaningful and honours your loved one. We encourage families to be involved where possible. A family member may have graphic design skills or be able to compile a video tribute. Your nominated funeral consultant will be able to offer added suggestions and provide assistance where and when needed.

Multicultural, Themed or Personalised Funeral Services
Afterlife Funerals specialise in various funeral services, such as Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Punk/Goth, Indigenous and LGBTIQ+. Each service is completely personalised to the request of the family. We are well connected to various organisations to help deliver a memorable service.
Can we release balloons?
Though we are all conscious of the emotional significance releasing balloons can have at a funeral, these releases can also have a negative effect on the environment and cause issues with neighbouring airports. NSW has restrictions limiting the maximum number to 19 balloons at any one time. We therefore encourage you to consider other symbolic gestures at funerals such as blowing bubbles, releasing doves or butterflies. Static balloon displays can also add a wonderful touch of colour and can be uplifting.
Personalised Coffin

This can certainly be done. Your arranger can assist with suggestions to create a coffin that is very unique and personal for your loved one and also can be significant to your family and friends who shared in their life. Personalisation can include themes such as sailing, fishing, cycling, travelling or photos of fun family times. A wide range of colours can be used, special meaningful words, a poem, and lyrics from a song. The family can be provided the coffin to personalise in their own time, otherwise Afterlife Funerals uses www.coffinwraps.com.au and together we can provide a printed vinyl wrap coffin reflecting your loved ones life. Please be mindful that extra time is sometimes needed to create a personalised coffin.

Newspaper Notices
Newspaper death notices are usually placed by family and friends of the deceased prior to the funeral service taking place. The newspaper will give you ideas on what is generally mentioned in the notice, though you may also indicate a preference for donations to a specific charity, instead of flowers and where to direct the donation. The end of the notice usually contains the funeral location, date and time. There are noted links on our website to contact popular newspapers.
Social Media
Technology enables us to communicate with family and friends instantly. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are commonly used by families to share the passing of a loved one and scheduled funeral details. If funeral stationery has been ordered through Afterlife Funerals, we include a complimentary picture notice that can be shared via SMS or any other social media platform. We also have links on our website that can assist in closing down social media accounts of the deceased.
Costs
How much does a funeral cost?
Costs of a funeral varies, depending on the options you and your family choose. Typically, those costs would include the funeral director’s service fee, cost of the selected coffin or casket, cemetery/crematorium fees, church, celebrant or clergy, newspaper notices and florists. We provide a range of standard packages that cover most family’s needs, while providing options that allow you and your family to tailor the funeral to suit your personality, cultural and religious requirements. If you would like a detailed explanation of costs, or have any special requirements for a funeral service, please don’t hesitate to call us. All our standard package prices are available under either the Cremation or Burial menu.
Insurance Funds
If you are aware of any Funeral Insurance Policies, it is advisable to speak directly with the provider before discussing your requirements with a funeral director. This way you are clearly aware of the policy amount and came make arrangements knowing your available budget. Most insurance companies pay the beneficiary noted on the policy, and not the funeral director.
General
What is the difference between a burial, entombment and cremation?
The choice of funeral can be an emotional issue, often reflecting religious and ethnic beliefs.

Burial, in a recognised burial place with new grave (or a reopened, existing grave).
A grave is normally able to contain more than one coffin (2-3, subject to approval). Most cemeteries have lawn sections where smaller headstones can be erected and monumental sections where approved monuments can be erected over the grave. If the grave used is to be reopened from a previous burial the existing headstone may need to be fully or partially removed to allow access for this burial. Some Lawn cemeteries only permit a plaque in the grass, nothing above ground. Natural burial areas are available at selected cemeteries. With a burial the deceased and their coffin/casket is laid to rest in the ground in a cemetery, usually with a headstone or monument to mark the location.

Entombment, in a mausoleum is the preferred resting place in some cultures. The mausoleum is constructed above ground and allows the coffin to be placed into a crypt which is then sealed. The mausoleum is a unique type of interment, often within a courtyard-style area at a Cemetery. Entombment takes place in a mausoleum, an above ground structure that contains concrete or stone crypts in which the deceased and their coffin/casket is placed.

Cremation, the cremation procedure can only take place where a crematorium exists. The act of cremation takes place once the coffin is committed and only one coffin is cremated at a time. Individual ashes are then available to the applicant for memorialisation or scattering. A cremation takes place in a crematorium with the deceased and their coffin/casket placed into a cremator, reducing to ashes. The ashes are then returned to the applicant who authorised the cremation.

What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?
A coffin is tapered in shape, wider at the shoulders and narrower at the head and foot. It is usually made from MDF or solid timber. A casket is rectangular in shape, comes mostly with a hinged lid and can be supplied in MDF, solid timber or metal. For those who are environmentally conscious, there are wicker and banana leaf caskets available. Whatever your choice, coffin or casket, special design, personalised with your own photographs or artwork, rest assured it will be hand crafted by specialists using premium grade materials.
Embalming
Embalming is an important option we recommend to families. The process involves a range of hygienic and cosmetic procedures, the purpose of which are to slow down the deterioration of the body, facilitate the body for viewing and protect from infection those who come into contact with the body. In all these matters it is important to respect the individual’s right to choose. There are certain circumstances (which will be advised by the funeral director) where this procedure must be carried out. The industry has normally 4 types of body preparations, these are the basic preparation, temporary preservation, full embalm, and repatriation/entombment embalm.
Family owned versus large organisations.
At Afterlife Funerals, we are a family owned service provider. We are devoted to providing the best possible service to satisfy the needs of our families without the distraction of corporate mandates. We take personal pride because this is our business. As a long-term commitment, Sydney is where we live and where we plan to stay. We are here when you need us, 24/7. We answer to you, not shareholders. We do what we need to deliver the service without all the boardroom red tape. Whenever possible, we choose to do business with other locally owned and operated businesses. Living in the local community we have developed personal relationships with many families and local groups.
Pre-paid Funerals
What are the benefits of a prepaid funeral?
A Prepaid Funeral Plan not only enables you to ease the financial burden on loved ones, but it also allows you to plan your goodbye the way you would like it to be, choosing everything from your choice of coffin, flowers and music. Unlike funeral insurance, a prepaid funeral is a one-off cost and there are no ongoing premiums to worry about.
How much does a prepaid funeral cost?
The cost of a prepaid funeral will vary depending on the type of funeral service that you choose. Our arrangers will discuss with you the different types of funeral services, including burial, cremation and other options. Many people now pre-pay for their funeral earlier in life because the cost is more affordable, the price is protected against inflation and they can become involved in the decisions made on the funeral.
Who should I tell about my prepaid plans?
Some people may feel comfortable discussing their funeral plans with a spouse, adult children or another member of the family. Others, however, may prefer to make arrangements directly in complete confidence. We would strongly advise that if your immediate family is not informed, a trusted friend, solicitor or executor should be notified when a plan is purchased.
How secure are my funds? What if you go out of business?
The administration of the funds is handled by a well-respected independent public company and have government security. If we were to go out of business, your funds are held by the trust, and the trust would appoint another suitable funeral director to take care of your prepaid plans.
What happens if my circumstances change?
You have the right, at any time during your lifetime, to cancel the agreement and withdraw from the plan. With the exception of administration expenses, all money paid by you would be refunded.