In Australia, all deaths must be registered with the registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in the state or territory in which the death occurs. You will often find that following the passing of a loved one, you’ll need to produce an official death certificate to settle the deceased’s affairs and estate.
When making funeral arrangements, or even when making pre-arrangements for yourself, your funeral director or consultant will provide you with a form that details the information they’ll need to legally register the death. They will also be able to walk you through any questions you may be unsure how to answer.
It’s a legal document
As this is a legal document, it is of paramount importance that the information you provide is correct and as accurate as possible. Any wrong or misleading information may result in considerable delays in receiving the official death certificate, and can cause issues with finalising the deceased’s affairs.
It is also important to note that any incorrect certificates that have been officially issued must be returned via post for destruction in order for an amended certificate to be reissued. This is to ensure the incorrect certificate is not misused.
You might not know all the answers
There might be some information you don't know when completing this form, this is nothing to worry about. For example; occupation, period of residence in Australia, and marriage details, while good to know, will not affect the finalisation of the certificate. This information is largely for broader record keeping purposes.
Put simply, the more information you include, the better the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages can keep for us all. Sometimes, if some previous records do exist that relate to this information, the Registry will often notify the funeral director and it can be added to the certificate.
Death Certificates and privacy
Lastly, rest assured that the information provided is restricted for specific periods of time and therefore unavailable to the general public. Anyone wishing to access information securely kept by the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages must have an acceptable reason for doing so and only certain information may be released depending on the petitioner’s relationship to the deceased and the reason for its request.
For example, an adult child may access information relating to the death of their parent as they are next of kin.
Where you can find more information
If you’d like more information on registering a death in Australia, or to view the privacy policies of each state’s Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, you can click on these links:
And, if you need any help planning your farewell or that of a loved one, including registering a death, you can contact Willed. Our team of Funeral Planners and Arrangers are available to help.