Frequently Asked Questions
Who Should I contact when a loved one has died?
This depends on where they died and the manner of death, but in general if the death happens at a nursing home or in a hospital, all you need to do is call us for advice and assistance. If the death occurs at home, as well as contacting us, you should also call your doctor, who will be required to determine the cause of death.
Why is a coroner involved?
Usually, the coroner is involved in a sudden or unexpected death, an accidental death, or if a doctor is unavailable or unable to establish the cause of death. When the coroner is called in, she/he must establish a cause of death, which may mean the examination of the body by a pathologist – called a post mortem or autopsy. After this, the coroner may decide to hold an inquest – a formal hearing in a court of law. This will be some months after the funeral.
The Coroner may become involved when:
- a doctor is unavailable or unable to establish the cause of death
- there has been no recent consultation with a medical practitioner
- there is a sudden unexpected death
- death occurs from other than natural causes
- there is an accidental death
Burial or Cremation?
Usually the deceased has made their wishes known, if not, it is up to the family to choose. Whatever your choice, Taupo Funeral Services Ltd will take care of the arrangements for you.
Burial, in the past, was the most common choice and is still favoured by many. It provides a family with a focal point, a grave to go to where they remember the person who has died. Burial involves buying a burial plot, paying an interment fee which covers the cost of digging the grave and maintaining it, and usually buying a memorial or headstone. In almost all cases, the places people can be buried are limited by law to official cemeteries or Maori Urupa.
Cremation provides greater flexibility when choosing a final resting place because there is no restriction to specific places of burial. Ashes can be buried in a cemetery or special memorial area, or they can be scattered somewhere the family or deceased felt appropriate, such as in a garden, at sea, or in a favourite place. Some people split the ashes between different places. A memorial or plaque is often chosen to provide the focal point for the family.
Once the cremation has taken place, the ashes are removed in entirety from the cremator and put into one of our Standard Cremation Urns. These containers are designed to be put later into a memorial urn. Taupo Funeral Services Ltd has a range of attractive urns available for you to choose from.
Is embalming necessary?
Embalming, an essential service provided by funeral directors, is frequently misunderstood. Many people associate embalming with ancient and primitive cultural practices and have misgivings about its relevance, value and purpose today.
Those with doubts can be assured that embalming is a careful scientific procedure performed by skilled members of the New Zealand Embalmers Association.
Without embalming, nature begins to take its course very soon after death. In the past, decomposition and its associated problems have given rise to very unpleasant memories and caused emotional scars.
Today embalming is straightforward and effective. It enables everyone connected with the funeral – family, friends and professionals – to take part in rituals without risk to their health, whatever the cause of death.
Please Note: If there is a request that the embalming procedure is not to be performed for any reason, the deceased may stay on-site, in the care of Taupo Funeral Services Ltd for a maximum of 48 hours from the time of death.
Embalming has three main purposes:
Sanitation – The body becomes safe for handling and viewing when micro-organisms are made harmless.
Preservation – Embalming allows adequate time for relatives and friends to grieve and say goodbye. It enables the person who has died to be taken home or to a marae. Once the mortuary procedure is complete, there is a “settling” period whereby small corrections or adjustments may arise, that the mortician may need to attend to. While our mortuary attendants attempt to complete the process in a timely fashion to allow a prompt return of the deceased to the bereaved family, it is our recommendation that the body remains in his/her care for approximately 12 hours to allow him/her to monitor and act on any changes, if they occur.
Presentation – Embalming restores the person’s natural appearance, giving mourners a much better memory picture. This brings a sense of relief and comfort and helps peace of mind.
What does embalming involve?
Facial features are posed pleasantly and naturally. Disinfecting and preserving fluids are distributed through the body’s arterial system. These procedures are carried out in a similar way after post-mortem examinations. Preparation also includes washing, dressing, hairdressing and restoration of the natural skin colour.
How do I choose a casket?
Taupo Funeral Services Ltd have a large range of caskets available, displayed in a casket room so you can compare styles and prices. They vary in types of wood, handles, and these days you can have different coloured caskets, including some with tasteful scenes or maybe favourite photos laminated onto the wood.
Choices can depend on what you can afford, what appeals, and what you regard as a fitting tribute to the deceased.
In New Zealand, the law decrees that the casket is cremated too.
It is not uncommon to place cherished items and gifts into the casket prior to cremation. Many items are perfectly acceptable, for example; caps, books, photos, rugs and toys.
Some items are not readily combustible, or can cause serious damage to the cremator itself.
Please note the following items are not acceptable for cremation:
- Wet weather gear
- Gumboots, Work-boots, Military and Tramping-boots
- PVC or Latex-based rubber items
- Metal walking sticks
- Metal photo frames including the glass insert
- Fluid / drinks / alcohol / food in any can or glass container
- Any battery or battery operated items e.g. torches, transistor radios, mobile phones
- Any aerosol or pressurized can that may explode when subjected to heat
- The body of any animal or bird
If you have any concerns over the acceptability of an item you would like to place in your loved one’s casket, your Funeral Director will be happy to discuss this with you.
Tips on writing the Death Notice for Newspapers
We are more than happy to assist you and your family with the writing and insertion of the Death Notices into your chosen Newspapers. If however, you feel confident enough to write your own notice, here are a few TIPS/SUGGESTIONS to follow. Please Email to us.
How much does a funeral cost?
This depends entirely on your choice of casket and additional items such as flowers, newspaper notices, service sheets/printing, cemetery or cremation fees, catering and special requests. These form part of the account and obviously vary according to the choices made.
The funeral firm will also charge for its services (Professional Service Charges) – for making all the arrangements, use of hearses and other cars, and other services provided.
Please talk to us at Taupo Funeral Services Ltd so we can provide a service to suit both your needs and your financial circumstances. If you have any financial worries, let us know as soon as possible.
Funeral Grant from WINZ
There are agencies you can approach, such as Work and Income, where a funeral grant may be available, depending on your level of assets and income.
Please apply directly with WINZ. Here are links to application forms on their website:
How can I pay if the estate is still tied up?
When a death occurs, bank accounts in the name of the deceased are frozen and in some cases cannot be accessed until after probate is granted. To ensure ongoing access by a partner, it is better for the bank accounts to be in joint names.
When settlement of an estate is delayed by lack of probate, families should pay the funeral account by the due date to avoid added interest charges and recover the funds from the estate when it is settled.
Most funeral firms send the account directly to the family and, if required, will send a copy to the solicitor.
The person making the arrangements with the funeral director remains responsible for paying the account.
What about ACC after a death by accident?
The cause of death must be established before the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is able to pay compensation to the dependants of accident victims and make a contribution to funeral expenses. If an inquest is not held after the cause of death is established, ACC payments can be made immediately.
When is the Death Certificate available?
The details of death must, by law, be registered with the Registrar General in Lower Hutt within three days of the burial or cremation. The certificate is then forwarded to the Funeral Directors once completed, usually 3-5 working days, where we then forward it on to the family.