What to Do Right After the Death of a Loved One in Singapore

Handling the death of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the hardest things we face. Being aware of the broad steps we need to take would help make the process more smooth, so we can properly grieve and honour the memory of our loved ones.

Ascertain the Cause of Death and Obtaining the CCOD

The first thing to do is to obtain the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD). The steps to take depends on where the death took place.

If the death took place at home, you can request your family doctor or any doctor willing to be a house call to examine the deceased. If they are able to certify the death, the doctor would be able to issue the CCOD on the spot.

Alternatively, you would need to call the police and have the body sent to the Mortuary @ HSA in a police hearse. You would need to prepare medical documents related to the deceased, any medicine consumed by the deceased, as well as identification papers of the deceased and informant (such as NRIC, passport, or FIN card).

If the death took place in a hospital, a doctor there would issue the CCOD if the cause of death is known and natural. If the doctor is unable to ascertain the cause of death, then the body would be sent to the Mortuary @ HSA for further investigation.

You can refer to the National Environment Agency website for more information.

Register the Death and Receiving the Death Certificate

Under Singapore law, all deaths have to be registered within 24 hours of occurrence. Once the CCOD is obtained, the death would need to be registered.

If the body was referred to Mortuary @ HSA, the death would be registered there.

Otherwise, registration of death needs to be done in person at any neighbourhood police centre, manned police post, police divisional headquarters, or the Citizens Service Centre within the ICA Building. This can be done by anyone, though this is usually done by the next-of-kin or a funeral director.

You would need to bring along the CCOD, as well as identification documents of the deceased and informant.

After the death is registered, the Death Certificate would be issued.

Engage a Funeral Director

A funeral director would be able to assist you with funeral arrangements in accordance with individual’s preferences and religious requirements.

This includes assisting you in collecting the deceased’s body from the home or mortuary, sending the body for embalming, delivering the body to the location of the wake, and subsequently making arrangements for burial or cremation.

You can seek out your preferred funeral director, or refer to this non-exhaustive list on the Association of Funeral Directors Singapore’s website.

Once you engage a funeral director, they would guide you through subsequent decisions and steps needed to prepare for the funeral.

Getting a Better Understanding of the Process

If you wish to understand more about end-of-life preparations, you can visit My Legacy, a portal created by the Singapore Government.

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