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This section has information about who is responsible for notifying other people and organisations about the death of a person and who has to be notified.
When a person dies in New South Wales, a doctor or the coroner will notify the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages about the death. The funeral director is also required by law to give information about the burial or cremation to the Registry.
The deceased person's executor or 'next of kin' is responsible for notifying people or organisations about the person's death.
There are no laws or legal rules about who must be notified about a death. However, if you are an executor or next of kin you may notify relatives or friends of the deceased person. Some of the people that may be notified include:
If you do not know the contact details of family members or relatives of the deceased, you can ask the police or other family members for assistance.
It is also important to notify the following organisations that the deceased person may have had accounts with or received money from:
Who to notify after someone dies
You may notify organisations by phone or in writing. Some organisations may request that you send a letter and a copy of the death certificate.
Sample letter notifying of death
After you notify other people and organisations about the death of a person, you will need to start making funeral arrangements. Before making decisions about the funeral arrangements, you can speak to family members of the deceased or check whether the deceased person wrote about their wishes in their will, if they had one.
For more information on arranging the funeral, see
In some cases, a death must be reported to the coroner for further investigation.
A death may be reported to the coroner in the following circumstances:
The State Coroner in NSW has a duty to investigate and determine a cause of death for reportable deaths which happen in NSW. For more information, go to the
State Coroners Court of NSW website.
The coronial investigation period can delay the process of arranging a funeral. If there is a coronial investigation, the hospital has a responsibility to store the deceased's body in a morgue until the coroner issues an order for burial.
The body may be released for burial or cremation once an investigation is completed and a cause of death is determined or it may be released before the coronial inquest is complete. Only after the body is released, can the executor or next of kin make funeral arrangements.
All deaths which occur in NSW are recorded with the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM). The funeral director will usually complete the registration of the death with BDM.
If you are the executor or next of kin and prefer to do the registration yourself, you will need to complete the death registration form at BDM. You will also need to get a copy of death certificate. For more information about registering the death and obtaining a death certificate, see
The death certificate.
Case Study - The death of Isabella Rose
State Library NSW - Rest assured: a legal guide to wills, estates, planning ahead and funerals in NSW
NSW Trustee and Guardian
Supreme Court of NSW
State Coroners Court of NSW