Frequently Asked Questions about Funerals and Services

At Greenhaven Funeral Services we are frequently asked questions about Funerals and Services. The following is a basic summary of the most commonly asked questions and our guidance as a response. 

When choosing a funeral director, it’s important that they can meet all your needs and accommodate your particular wishes.  It is also important that they have experience planning the type of funeral you’d like.

Most importantly, you should feel comfortable discussing all aspects of the funeral with them.  Your first meeting with a funeral director is an opportunity for you to ask questions, learn more about the services offered and get a general sense of what the funeral home in question is like. Cost is another consideration and it’s okay (and can be a good idea) to comparison shop if you feel uneasy about quoted prices. Don’t feel pressured into making a decision.

The role of the Funeral Director is to provide professional care to the deceased and to provide support, care and guidance to families who need to arrange a funeral for their loved family member or friend.  There are many decisions to be made when organizing a funeral, the funeral director’s role is to create a style of service / ceremony that meets your needs.

From the very first call, the team at Greenhaven Funeral Services are here to help with all aspects of arranging a funeral.  Some of the major decisions to be made include:

  • Choice of burial or cremation
  • Day, time and venue of the service
  • Who will lead the service?  A member of the clergy or a celebrant, a family member or friend?
  • Is a viewing appropriate?
  • What sort of casket or coffin?
  • Who will carry the casket?
  • What kind of music do you want to play?
  • Who will prepare a eulogy?
  • What flowers if any would be most appropriate?
  • Do you want to put a notice in the newspaper?  What newspaper?
  • Would you like to arrange for people to be able to make donations to a particular charity in honour of the person?
  • What special things can be done to personalize the ceremony?

Many people don’t know who to contact when someone dies.  In most instances, it will depend on where and how the person dies.  The following provides a simple guide as to what steps to take when a death occurs.

Regardless of the circumstances of the death, please call us on (03) 9569 0534 so we can support and guide you through the process of making funeral arrangements for your loved one.

Once the doctor has confirmed the cause of death, we can start to help you make the necessary funeral arrangements in line with your wishes and those of the deceased.

Death at home:

If a relative or friend dies at home, the first person you should contact is their Doctor. If the Doctor has treated the deceased in the past and can confirm the cause of death, they can issue a medical cause of death.  Whilst waiting for the doctor, family and friends to arrive, please call a member of the Greenhaven Funeral Services team, once the death certificate has been issued, we can make arrangements to take the deceased into our care.

Death in a hospital or nursing home:

In this instance, the Director of Nursing, Sister or Nurse in Charge will be able to help you with the process and will make arrangements for the Doctor to issue a medical cause of death.  You should contact us as soon as possible so we can begin liaising with the nursing home or hospital and making the necessary arrangements.

Sudden or unexpected death:

If the death is sudden or accidental, or the cause of death cannot be confirmed, it is the Doctor’s responsibility to notify the police. In these cases, it is important the deceased is not moved or disturbed in any way without the authorisation of the Coroner.  The police will contact a government appointed funeral contractor to transfer the deceased from the place of death to the Coroner’s mortuary.

The Coroner will then investigate and determine the cause of death, which may involve a post mortem examination. This procedure may slightly delay the funeral arrangements until the necessary clearance is obtained.  You have the right to choose your funeral director to take care of the deceased and attend to the funeral arrangements in line with your wishes.  You should contact us as soon as possible so we can liase with the Coroner’s Court and make the necessary arrangements to take your loved one into our care as soon as we are able to.

Death interstate or overseas:

If the death occurs away from home (interstate or overseas), you should notify us immediately so we can make arrangements to transport the deceased home and attend to any legal, statutory or customs requirements.

If your loved one’s wish was to be returned to their homeland for burial, please contact us. We are able to attend to the extensive process of contacting government departments for you and processing the necessary documentation on your behalf.

There are many funeral options to choose from, some funeral directors offer only packages others only customized services.  Greenhaven Funeral Services provides you with the options of choosing affordable packages and designing your own funeral service.

  • Coffins and caskets:
  • Funeral Director’s Fees – includes professional fees for staff, facilities and equipment and transportation.
  • Burial or Cremation fees

Generally, the more elaborate the funeral, the more expensive it may be depending on the nature of the ceremony.  In particular if there are many components to the funeral events such as vehicles, performers such as a bag piper, vocalist or musicians, dove releases, hiring of a reception centre etc.

When a Greenhaven Funeral Services Consultant meets with you, they can discuss the different options that are available.

It is normal for the cemetery or cremation costs and the other disbursements such as doctors fees, clergy or celebrant fees, registration costs, press notices, flowers, etc.) to be included in the one account, along with the funeral company professional service fees.  At the completion of the arrangement meeting you will be provided with an estimate of the funeral costs and will usually be asked to pay a deposit to cover the disbursements. 

A coffin or casket is a special container that is used to carry a deceased person to their funeral.  Coffins are usually made from timber and are tapered at the head and the foot and are wider at the shoulders, the lid is removable.  Caskets, are rectangular in shape and the lid is generally hinged at the base.  They are made from timber or metal.

On average, each funeral takes approximately 40 hours to arrange and conduct.  It commences when we are first called and ends only when we are satisfied that the funeral ceremony is as perfect and complete as we can make it and the needs of the family are met.

In general our professional service fee covers:

  • Personal and prompt attention from our staff, 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
  • Transfer of the deceased from place of death to our funeral home.
  • Personal consultation with the family in their home about the funeral arrangements and details of the service.
  • Liasing with cemeteries and crematoria of your choice on your behalf.
  • All necessary arrangements with church, chapel or venue of your choice.
  • Registration of death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
  • Consulting with clergy or celebrant.
  • Advice on wording and placement of press notices.
  • Collection of medical certificates and dispatch to appropriate authorities.
  • Use of our private family viewing facilities.
  • Supply of hearse and other funeral vehicles.
  • Liasing with florists
  • Collection and return of floral tribute cards.
  • Organization of music and or musician of your choice.
  • Preparation of deceased for viewing.
  • Transporting the deceased to the funeral venue on day of funeral and afterwards to the gravesite for burial or crematorium.
  • Conducting the funeral service and taking care of the family on day of the service.

Embalming is the process of chemically treating a human body in order to disinfect and preserve the body.  A trained Embalmer carries out this procedure when it is required.  Circumstances where embalming may be needed included:

  • A longer than average delay between death and the funeral.
  • Transfer of deceased overseas or even interstate.
  • Above ground burials in a crypt or vault.
  • Improving the appearance of the deceased for a viewing.

If you have any questions about embalming or other mortuary procedures, please let us know.

Viewing a deceased is a very personal decision.  This can be a very emotional time; however it can be very beneficial.  A viewing not only helps the bereaved to face the reality of death but it also allows for a quiet time of reflection and final good-byes.

Most viewings can be held just a few minutes prior to the funeral service or an extended viewing can be coordinated prior to or on the day of the service for a small additional fee.

Generally a cremation will cost less than a burial.  There may be some cases where this may not be true, for example if a small country cemetery is used.   Initial costs do not include interment of cremated remains.  This is generally less expensive than the erection of a monument over a grave, with some exceptions of course.

Some cultures within our society require that a funeral take take place within forty-eight hours. However, generally speaking, the time and place of a funeral does not need to be decided immediately. 
 You should take your time to consider all the options available. Ensuring that the appropriate and right decisions are being made can mean that the funeral process is recognized and the healing process can proceed.

Many families are grateful for the extra time so friends and relatives from interstate or overseas can attend the funeral.  The extra time also gives friends and families the ability to accept the individual’s death and make proper, well thought out plans for the funeral.

There is no set timeframe for grieving, everyone grieves in their own way and their own time.  Some deaths will take longer to resolve because of their complexity (for example, murder or suicide). The death of an infant or child requires the survivors to process not only the loss of what was, but also the loss of what would have been. Sudden and unexpected death often brings not only grief but also trauma because of the cause of the death. 
In every death there can be complexities that create difficulty in the mourning process. Some aspects of grief will inevitably arise long after a death has happened.  Our relationship to the deceased, our personality and background, cultural belief and support systems meant that for some the process of healing and moving forward takes longer than for others.

Death can be a difficult subject for many people to discuss.  Not knowing what to say or how to talk about the subject may lead individuals to distance themselves and avoid the subject.   If people tell you to ‘just move on’ or ‘try not to think about it’, it can be hurtful and offensive.  It’s better to seek out people who are happy to allow you to talk and have these individuals as your valued listeners.

Download our free guide:

How to Hold a Memorable Funeral in Melbourne