Births, deaths and marriages

When someone dies

Arranging a funeral

When selecting a funeral director, choose one that has a good reputation.

To find a funeral director in your area, see the Australian Funeral Directors Association website or check the Yellow Pages.

Most funeral directors will assist you to plan ahead for a funeral and offer advice on payment options.

When planning a funeral:

  • be an informed consumer and don’t be reluctant to ask questions
  • discuss all available options before making a decision that fits your financial needs and wishes
  • plan a personalised ceremony or service to help you begin the healing process - getting through grief is never easy but having a meaningful funeral or tribute will help.

Ensure you:

  • consult the will of the deceased for any unique funeral arrangements to be made
  • inform relevant people as quickly as possible
  • consider the location, type of service, casket or urn, flowers, music, cars, eulogy, and pallbearers
  • provide relevant information (eg surviving family members, the location of services etc) for the newspaper notices.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions are available from the Australian Funeral Director's Association.

What if I can't afford to pay?

If you are unable to pay for a family member's funeral, you may be eligible for financial assistance to cover the costs of a basic funeral.

Coping with grief

People learn to adjust to the death of a loved one in different ways. The length of grieving will also vary - it's not unusual for grief to be felt over an extended period.

Where can I get help and support?

Information and counselling can be provided by Lifeline Australia - phone them on 13 11 14.

Other organisations, across the state, that specifically provide bereavement counselling are available through the SA Community website.

The National Health Services Directory is a Government website that lists many health services available across South Australia. Have a look at services listed or browse the topics to find more information about grief and places you can go for support.

Where can I get more information about grief and loss?

GriefLink, an association based in South Australia, has some useful information about death-related grief.

Information on dealing with trauma and grief can be found on the Health direct website.

Executing a will

Executing a will is the process of distributing the assets and following the wishes of the deceased person. The deceased person's will tells you who the executor is. This person is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person set out in the will.

What if I don't know where the will is?

Generally, a will is kept in one of the following places:

  • a safe place in the home
  • with a friend or relative
  • with a solicitor
  • a bank or with an accountant
  • the Public Trustee.

Dying without a will - Public Trustee

Executor duties

An executor is a person chosen to carry out the terms of the will. If you have been nominated as an executor, you can:

Contesting a will

The validity of a will can be questioned for a number of reasons. For example, contesters of a will may argue that:

  • the person did not have the capacity to make the will at the time it was signed
  • the person was unduly influenced by another person in making the will
  • parts of the will were changed after it was signed.

To challenge a will, you should seek legal advice and make an application to the Supreme Court. An application must be made within six months of the grant of probate of the will. The Legal Services Commission has more information on contesting a will.

Related information

Other websites


Information on pre-paid funerals - Consumer and Business services

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Page last updated 7 March 2019

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Department for Health and Wellbeing
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