When someone you love passes away, it's important to allow yourself enough time to grieve. However, in many situations, this isn't always possible. Suddenly, people find themselves overwhelmed by administrative responsibilities like obtaining a death certificate and claiming from funeral cover and life insurance. Here's our guide to what to do when a loved one passes away.
In the case of the deceased passing away outside of a hospital or medical centre, you may need to call a doctor to arrive at the location and issue a death notice – usually within 24 hours.
Sometimes the funeral home can help organise for a doctor to issue a death notice, which could be a simpler and more convenient option.
You will need to inform them of your decisions – whether the deceased will be buried or cremated, the date and time for the service and the choice of coffin. You'll also need to provide a programme for the funeral service, an outfit for the deceased to wear if you wish, and the details of the funeral policy.
A person will often specify how they wish their remains to be treated when they are gone, so it's important to find out about this before the funeral.
You also need a copy of the deceased's ID, along with their spouse's ID or other next of kin. These are necessary so that the Department of Home Affairs can complete the death certificate.
This can be a major task depending on how big the deceased's family and community are. Consider asking someone else close to the deceased to call up or visit family and close friends to let them know, so you have time to grieve and attend to other matters.
For a small group of family and friends, phone up those you'd like to have attend. For large families and communities, it can be easier to place a notice in the local newspaper with the date, time, and location.
An unabridged death certificate costs R75 and a few weeks' wait. However, you can get an abridged death certificate immediately free of charge. Some life insurance companies may request the unabridged version, so be sure to get this in a timely manner.
If you're a beneficiary of the deceased's life insurance policy, you'll need to contact the insurer to claim. Most require you to inform them of the death and provide the details within 90 days of it happening, but it's always best to check with your insurer. If you don't inform them in time your claim may be rejected. To apply, you will need certified copies of the death certificate, the deceased's ID, all beneficiaries' IDs, and any relevant medical reports.
If you've ever had to deal with a loved one's death, you'll know what a difference a comprehensive funeral policy and adequate life insurance can make to help ease the stress. Use the hippo.co.za comparison tool to find affordable funeral cover and life cover that will look after your loved ones when you no longer can.
Sources: Western Cape Government; IOL
Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.