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How to Prepare for a Funeral in Singapore

Elite Funeral Services
How to Prepare for a Funeral in Singapore

How to Prepare for a Funeral in Singapore

Preparing for a funeral is a sensitive subject no doubt, but it is something that we can’t avoid in our life. Here's a quick step-by-step guide to help you with preparing a dignified funeral when your loved one passes on.

No time to read now? Click here to download the PDF version to your device first. Or contact us at +65 8823 7979 to get your answers right away.

preparing a funeral for a loved one in Singapore

Step 1: Certifying the Cause of Death of Your Loved One

Within 24 hours of the death, you must register the death of your loved one and obtain the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD). This certificate can be issued by a doctor if they know the cause of death (natural death). 

This applies to death in the hospital or at home. In the cases where the cause of death cannot be identified (unnatural death), the doctor will refer the matter to the police and the body will be sent to the Mortuary@HSA for a coroner to determine the cause of death.

autopsy by coroner to determine cause of unnatural death

A professional coroner will review the cause of death and inform you if an autopsy is required. You will also be informed of when to claim the body of the deceased.

When going to the Mortuary@HSA, please bring along your NRIC/passport, the deceased NRIC/passport/birth certificate, and all the medicines and medical documents of the deceased.

What happens at a mortuary

Costs Involved to Obtain the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD)

The Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD) will be issued at no charge if your loved one passed away in the hospital.

However, if the deceased passed away while receiving palliative care at home, a doctor is required to certify the death. The cost for this doctor house call usually ranges from S$200 to S$350, depending on the provider. 

doctor house call to determine the cause of death

No autopsy is necessary for natural deaths such as death from a known disease, acute heart failure, or an accident. In the case of an unnatural death though, an autopsy may be ordered to help determine the cause of the death. The cost of such autopsies will be absorbed and you can get a copy of the autopsy report at a fee of S$160.50.

For families who prefer to order a private autopsy, the procedure will cost around S$6,000 plus daily storage fee of S$165.85 from the third day onwards. 

Step 2: Registering the Death for the Deceased

You do not need to register the death separately if the body is sent to Mortuary@HSA because the death will be registered there and the Death Certificate will be issued there too. 

Otherwise, once you’ve obtained the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD), please bring along with the informant’s and deceased’s NRIC/passport/birth certificate to register the death:

  • At the hospital, if death occurred there
  • At the Police Headquarters or any Neighbourhood Police Centre for all other deaths
  • At the Registry of Births and Deaths at the Immigration & Checkpoint Authority’s (ICA) Citizen Services Centre (8.00 am - 4.30 pm on Monday to Friday, and 8.00 am - 12.30 pm on Saturday). Registration and collection of the death certificate will be processed within the same day.

Step 3: Placing An Obituary in the Local Newspapers (Optional)

You may place an obituary (a notice of death) in memory of the deceased in the local newspapers such as The Straits Times, Today, Lianhe Zaobao, Shin Min Daily News, Berita Harian, and Tamil Murasu.

You'll need to bring your NRIC and the Original Death Certificate of the deceased. Payment for the obituary can be made via credit card, NETS, or cash (during office hours only).

Details to include in the obituary:

- Photo of deceased

- Name of deceased and alias, if any

- Date of death (time is optional)

- Names of family members. If any family member is deceased, name should be within brackets with a word deceased or late, e.g. (Lim Ah Chai, deceased) or (Late Lim Ah Chai)

- Location, date, and time of the funeral and prayers

- Details of service and prayers, including date, time, and location

- Burial or cremation details with the name of the cemetery or crematorium and time. Include any message that you wish your visitors to take note of.

See more details here on placement of obituary during office hours

For The Straits Times and Berita Harian, you can also place the obituary online here.

Here is a quick guide on how to place an obituary online.

sample-obituary via sphobit.com.sg

Sample Obituary via sphobit.com.sg

Step 4: Engaging a Professional and Reliable Funeral Director to Conduct A Dignified Funeral, Wake, Procession & Burial

Once you’ve obtained the Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD), you may engage a professional funeral director who will collect on your behalf the body from your home, hospital, or mortuary, send it for embalming (to delay the decomposition of the body), and deliver it to the location of the funeral wake.

funeral wakes in singapore

Your funeral director will also organize and carry out all the necessary logistics for the funeral wake, including getting the necessary permits to hold the funeral wake, setting up the funeral wake or funeral parlour, arranging the prayers according to the deceased’s religion, preparing the hearse for the procession, and more.

Most funeral service providers will offer affordable funeral packages that cover everything that a proper funeral requires to send off the deceased in a dignified way.

Step 5: Arranging the Funeral Wake at Home, at a HDB void deck, or at a Funeral Parlour

Depending on the deceased or the family’s personal preference, the funeral wake can be conducted at home, at a HDB void deck, or at a funeral parlour with more facilities. 

A funeral wake serves the purpose of allowing family members, friends, and acquaintances to pay their respects to the deceased. This is also where they can offer company and comfort for the grieving family. 

Depending on where the funeral wake will be held, the following permissions are required:

  • Permit to hold the wake at the void deck from the Town Council
  • Permit to use part of the road outside a landed property from the Land Transport Authority (LTA)
  • Permit to extend the funeral wake for more than 7 days from the National Environment Agency (NEA)

Your funeral director will be able to assist you with getting the necessary approvals.

Step 6: Preparing for Burial (or Cremation and Ash Management) of Your Loved One

Depending on the wishes and religion of the departed, the body of the deceased may be buried or cremated. With your NRIC and the Original Death Certificate that contains the permit to bury or cremate, you may book a date and time for burial or cremation online or through the phone with the relevant office. 

For the relevant contacts and fees of burial or cremation booking, please refer to this reference page by the National Environment Agency (NEA)

Step 7: Storage of Ashes or Scattering the Ashes of the Deceased at Sea or Inland

Every family will have their own preference in terms of the management of the deceased’s ashes. The 2 common options are:

1. Storing the ashes at home or in a columbarium. One can choose a private columbarium such as Nirvana Memorial Garden, or a government-managed columbarium (Choa Chu Kang Columbarium or Mandai Columbarium) in Singapore. When booking a niche (the space to store the ashes), please have your NRIC and the original Death Certificate of your loved one ready. You may contact the private columbarium or book the niche online at a government-managed columbarium.

2. Scattering the ashes at sea at the approved site 1.5 nautical miles (or 2.8km) south of Pulau Semakau from 7am to 7pm. Please contact the Port Marine Safety Control Centre at +65 6325 2488 for more info and assistance on scattering the ashes at sea. If you prefer inland ash scattering, you may do so at the Garden of Peace @ CCK (Inland Ash Scattering Garden) with thoughtful landscaping and greenery for dignified and respectful ash scattering at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex which is open from 9am to 5pm daily. You can submit your ash scattering application online at NEA’s ePortal (fees applicable) and you will have 2 hours to complete the ash scattering and the necessary rites.

If you need any assistance with preparing for a funeral for your loved one, please don't hesitate to contact us for help. We are always at your service 24/7. You can contact us anytime at +65 8823 7979.

How to Prepare for a Funeral in Singapore from Elite Funeral Services

This article was originally published on Elite Funeral Services

Elite Funeral Services
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