What should I do when a loved one passes away?
This is certainly not some occurrence nor scenario where one or the other faces on a daily basis; neither would it be a weekly; monthly or even perhaps; year to year affair for that matter. Hence, more often than not, it is absolutely normal for a person to be unfamiliar; clueless and even overwhelmingly so when tending to the matters in relation to the passing of a closed one. Coupled with possible swelling of emotions over the occurrence, this would probably be the worst of times to be saddled with step-by-step administrative and instructional procedures to follow. Hence, if possible, always engage a Funeral Director as the very first of things to do coming into a situation like this. A qualified and professional Funeral Director would be able to guide you along with know-hows and what-to-dos along the murky way in bringing a proper closure for the departed one and his/her loved ones and family members.
Engaging a Funeral Director
Engaging a Funeral Director early at the first confirmation of a passing of a loved one is often advisable. The engagement of a Funeral Director is important so as to be able to confirm on procedures like collection of body from home or mortuary; sending of the prepared body to the wake location and also facilitate requirements on a embalming process. More importantly, in engaging a Funeral Director early would means lesser long and avoidable routes taken; lesser unnecessary stress and of course lesser mistakes made in ensuring the sending off event would be able to go on smoothly until the end of the funeral wake procession.
Obtaining the Certificate of Cause of death
When a person passes on, the family members must obtained a Certificate of cause of death also known as a CCOD. With which they can then proceed to use for registering of a person's death with the relevant authorities.
DEATH OCCURRING AT HOME
For a death that has occurred in one's home, the very first matter needed to be done is to contact a family doctor or any house visiting doctor for an examination. A CCOD can then be issued on the spot if the doctor is able to determine and certify the death of the person. Otherwise, there is a need to contact the Police where the body will be send via a Police hearse to the local mortuary at Health Science's Authority for further investigation before cause of death is determined.
DEATH OCCURRING IN A HOSPITAL
If a death occurs in a hospital, the attending doctor will be able to issue a CCOD on the spot if the cause of death is known and natural. However if the attending doctor is unable to certify the cause of death of an individual, there will be a similar need as above, to contact the Police for an intervention in a person's passing on. Likewise, the body remains will be transported via a Police hearse to the local mortuary at the Health Science's Authority vicinity for the necessary post mortem investigation.
DEATH OCCURRING AT OVERSEAS
In the event where the death of a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident occurs overseas, the first important task needed to be done would be the registration of the individual's death with local authorities. Likewise, a proper local CCOD should be issued about the same time as well. Thereafter, one would be able to proceed with the application of a Coffin Permit (Import) to have the deceased's body brought back to Singapore. An engagement of a Funeral Director in assistance for the entire application process is highly recommended for ease of facilitating the retrieval of body back to Singapore. The application of the coffin permit can be done at the Singapore's Port Health Office (4545 Jalan Bukit Merah Singapore 159466)
Registration of death
With the CCOD issued, family members would have to decide whether the body of the departed is to be either cremated or buried. With the knowledge of the decision; together with the CCOD and identification documents of the deceased, the family members would then be required to register the death at either:
I.) any local NPC (Neighborhood Police Centre); NPP (Neighborhood Police Post); OR Police Divisional Headquarters
II.) the Registry of Births and Deaths located on the 3rd floor of the ICA building (*note closure on Sundays and Public Holidays)