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Funerals and costs

Coroners Court - Civil

    When can I organise the funeral?

    The deceased person must be formally identified before they can be released to the family for the funeral. Usually this is done by visual identification. If this is not possible other options such as fingerprint, dental or DNA identification are used. It can take some time for the results of these tests to be known.

    Once the autopsy has been performed and the doctor performing the autopsy is satisfied that it is not necessary to retain the body for any further examination or testing, the doctor will give a notice to the coroner (Form 3 – Doctor’s notice to coroner after autopsy) advising that the autopsy has been conducted and the body is no longer required for testing.

    Once the coroner has received the notice and satisfied themselves that it is not necessary to retain the body any longer the coroner will order that the deceased can be released to the family for burial or cremation (Form 14 – Order for release of the body for burial or cremation). The coroner cannot order the release of the body until they have received the doctor’s notice. The body is released as quickly as possible and almost always within three days of the death occurring.

    The body is normally released to the funeral director chosen by the family to conduct the funeral. The funeral director will complete the necessary forms asking the coroner to release the body for the funeral. The family decides which funeral director to use.

    Which funeral director should I use?

     Police must use the services of the government contracted funeral director to transport the person who has died to a mortuary. However, there is no obligation on the family to use this funeral director to conduct the funeral.

    Can I transport the deceased overseas?

    If the deceased needs to be transported interstate or overseas, arrangements should be made with a funeral director. They will prepare the body and organise any required documentation.

    I want to make a complaint about a government contracted funeral director

    Complaints in relation to the conduct of, or services provided by, a government contracted funeral director should be directed to the Director, Office of the State Coroner. Your complaint will be investigated and you will be sent a response in due course.

    What should I do if I can’t afford a funeral?

    It is recommended that you contact more than one funeral director to obtain quotes for the funeral. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, ask a friend to do it for you as they are less likely to be as emotionally involved.

    Generally, cremations are less expensive than burials because there is no need to purchase a plot of land at the cemetery. You may wish to have the cremation in the family’s absence and collect the ashes at a later date. This avoids the cost of a full crematorium service but doesn’t prevent the family organising their own private memorial service.

    If, after obtaining quotes, you believe you are still unable to pay for the funeral, you may be eligible for burials assistance. Please refer to our burials assistance factsheet (PDF File, 125.8 KB) or contact your local magistrates court or the Office of the State Coroner for further guidance.

    As a family member of a homicide victim, how do I apply for financial assistance, particularly in relation to funeral costs?

    The families of homicide victims are eligible for financial assistance towards funeral costs. Please contact Victim Assist Queensland the Queensland Homicide Victims' Support Group or your Queensland Police Service for further assistance.

    Can I obtain burials assistance?

    In some circumstances, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General may organise a simple burial or cremation for a deceased person whose estate cannot cover the cost of their funeral and whose relatives and friends cannot arrange or pay for their funeral.

    An application for burials assistance can be made at the Office of the State Coroner or a local Magistrates Court. If the application is approved the government contracted funeral director will arrange the funeral.

    The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is able to recover the costs of the funeral from the estate of the deceased. If you become aware of any available funds from the estate you must advise the department.

    Please refer to our burials assistance factsheet (PDF File, 125.8 KB).

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    Last reviewed
    23 September 2013
    Last updated
    23 September 2013

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