A Singaporean’s Guide on What to Do When Death Occurs
Death can occur unexpectedly—that’s the reality of life. When that happens, it can make funeral planning a bit stressful, especially if you’re still grieving the loss of a loved one.
The best way you can prepare for this difficult event is to know how funeral arrangements work in advance.
To help you prepare for that, we came up with this quick guide for Singaporeans on what preparations you must do when death occurs, from legalities to rites.
Step 1: Obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death
If your loved one has passed away at home, the first thing you must do is to call your family doctor or a doctor who can perform last-minute house calls.
The role of a doctor is to determine that your loved one has passed away due to natural causes. This includes dying from old age, a long-term illness, or any medical condition.
This is a requirement in order to obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death or CCOD.
In the absence of a doctor, you may call the police, who can make arrangements to transport the body of the deceased to the mortuary, who will determine the cause of death.
Otherwise, if your loved one has passed away in the hospital, the attending physician will issue the CCOD on the spot.
Step 2: Obtain a Death Certificate
Once you’ve obtained your loved one’s CCOD, you may start applying for a death certificate. You need to get a death certificate in order to proceed with funeral arrangements.
Before registration, you must discuss with your family whether your loved one will be buried or cremated. You’ll need this information upon registering the death.
To get this certificate, you only need the CCOD, identification cards of the deceased, and identification papers of the person who reported/registered the death.
There are several designated areas in Singapore where you can register someone’s death. You may head over to any of these areas yourself, or you can have a relative or an authorised person do so on your family’s behalf.
Step 3: Look for a Funeral Home
This step may also come right after you obtain the CCOD since funeral homes can also obtain the death certificate on your behalf.
There are different types of funeral homes in Singapore specialising in various religious rites including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, and Hinduism. There are also other funeral homes that arrange non-religious or free thinker funerals.
Finding the most suitable funeral home all comes down to your loved one’s religious beliefs, and of course, your budget.
It’s important to shop around for funeral homes, and have at least three to five options so you can compare costs.
Once you’ve successfully found one, rest assured that your funeral home will make all the arrangements for you, from transporting your loved one to sourcing decorations like flowers.
All that’s left for you to do is to contact your relatives and friends whom you intend to invite to the wake or funeral. Note that current COVID-19 restrictions only limit a maximum of 30 people who can attend a funeral.