When a loved one passes on, this can take a toll on ourselves physically and mentally. However, as morbid and distressing it seems, there are still steps to be taken to ensure that your loved one has a proper send off. This is why it’s important that you know the steps in planning a funeral in Singapore.
Planning A Funeral In Singapore
To make things easier for you, we have broken down the entire process into simple steps. This is so that you’ll be able to get the paperwork in order and go through the funeral procession as smoothly as possible.
To begin, several things need to be put into consideration, ranging from preparing a tribute to closing the deceased’s bank accounts. These responsibilities require keen attention, and adequate preparation is essential for minimizing stress during this emotional and challenging time.
Observing a loved one’s death is hard, but proper preparation will significantly reduce the pressure from numerous questions that arise after a loved one dies. While there are quite many tasks that you need to complete within weeks and months after the death, it is also important to be ready for the first hours after the passing.
Pronouncement of Death
If your loved one passes on at home, you should contact the police. Police get involved in making sure that the individual has been medically examined and legally pronounced dead.
When a family member passes on at home but had been receiving care from a hospice or healthcare facility, the relevant agency should be contacted.
If the person died within a facility such as a hospice, nursing home, or hospital, the medical personnel at the site will be responsible for officially delivering the pronouncement of death.
If you are already working with a particular funeral home, decide whether you should notify the funeral home, police, or both. The funeral home handles the legal paperwork concerning the death on behalf of the family.
You need to choose and contact a funeral home if you and your loved one did not select one ahead of time.
Families usually pick a locally based funeral home that the family is already familiar with. Unless an alternative option for body disposition has been considered, such as a funeral at home, body donation, or cremation.
The cost of a funeral package is approximately $1,300 for one day, but some bereaved families may choose a more extended ceremony, which will inevitably cost more.
The next important thing is to start contacting various members of the family, relatives, friends, and colleagues to inform them of the passing.
All this can proceed while waiting for funeral home staff or law enforcers to arrive. During the process of notifying certain people, you can ask them to assist with sharing the news with others. Remember to contact people, such as employers or family members who may reside far away or are estranged.
You do not have to inform everybody about the death personally if you are not feeling up to it. Ask members of the family, friends, and close relatives to help you spread the information.
Be specific about the individuals that you want them to contact and provide the contact details they need. You can keep track of communication by reviewing your contacts and making a list to make sure that you do not forget anyone.
If a loved one had children or pets, make sure they are taken care of while making long-term arrangements. For children, the situation can be more complicated if there is no provision for guardianship or no guardian is present. Usually, a surviving guardian is legally obliged to take custody of the children.
Aside from issues regarding custody, a child experiences loss and grief differently and requires special attention and support.
Remember to take care of yourself as your pain may affect your ability to take care of your dependents. Consider getting some help on a short-term basis if you need it.
Gather the crucial documents that will help you navigate the period ahead. If the records are not available, you should find the deceased’s will and other critical paperwork, such as life insurance.
Key Considerations and Costs
Losing a loved one is a painful experience that people cannot be entirely prepared for regardless of how hard they try to. It can get even harder for bereaved family members when they are preparing for the funeral.
Along with planning the funeral, there are several essential things to do immediately after a loved one’s death.
1. Passing On At Home
Contact the doctor who was caring for the deceased if the death occurred at home. Alternatively, you can contact a doctor who is capable of making a house call.
If the death is sudden and results from an unnatural or unknown cause and the medical practitioner is unable to certify the cause of death, the police can be called to provide a hearse and send the body to the mortuary. The Forensic department gets involved in cases where death is categorized as unnatural and determines whether an autopsy should be performed.
If a coroner authorizes a post-mortem to be conducted, the cause of death is examined, and the autopsy used as evidence during inquiries and trials.
The procedure usually costs between $200 and $250.
2. Passing On At The Hospital
The doctor can certify death when it occurs in the hospital. You can prepare some clothing and shoes for the deceased and give them to the undertaker.
The body may be transported at no charge or included in the funeral package.
An autopsy report costs $160.50.
3. Passing On Overseas
If a loved one dies overseas, the next step is to contact the relevant authorities who will register the death to bring the body home.
The cost of getting the body and coffin ready for travel along with the flight charges varies with estimates of between $5000 and $10,000 and possibly more.
You are required to apply for the coffin permit, and the permit fee is usually about $17.50.
4. Funeral Director
The family can reach out to a funeral director who will assist with the process of gathering different permits for the deceased to be brought back to the country.
In cases where loved ones die at the hospital or home, family members can begin partnering with a funeral director to plan the wake when the certificate of cause of death (CCOD) is still pending.
Funeral directors are responsible for coordinating bookings and organizing the wake at a particular venue and other logistics.
Services usually include collection at hospital or home, embalming, makeup, transportation, cremation, setting up the funeral, prayer items, memorial, casket and funeral hearse. Prices are usually available on request.
5. Death Certificate
The death needs registration within 24 hours at a police station or the Births and Death registry at Immigration.
It is important to note that the CCOD and death certificate are different documents. The CCOD is produced when obtaining the death certificate along with identification.
At this point, the family should have decided whether the body will be buried or cremated because this will be indicated in the death certificate.
There are no charges or fees during this process.
It is the time to share the news with others, and it can be done through phone calls, texts, or notices via an obituary. Although placing an obituary is not mandatory, doing it in a local newspaper makes it much easier to announce the details and location of the funeral. Placing obituary costs upwards of $1,300 for the smallest size.
Content of the Obituary
- Deceased’s photo
- Deceased’s name
- Date of death
- Family members’ names
- Wake location
- Details of memorial or prayer service
- Details of cremation or burial
- Original certificate of death
- Identification of the individual placing the obituary
7. Funeral Arrangements
When arranging for a funeral, there are some key considerations to be made. These include:
Length of funeral
The length of the funeral usually ranges from anything between a day to 7 days. Usually, people either opt for 3 or 5 day wakes.
That said, Muslims will bury their loved ones within 24 hours of death for hygienic reasons and also because they do not embalm the bodies like the Chinese.
People usually hold wakes at their own homes, regardless of whether you are staying in an HDB, private apartment or landed property, or at a funeral parlour.
If you are looking at the more cost effective option, then doing it at home will definitely be cheaper. This is because holding it at a funeral parlour will mean incurring additional venue rental costs.
- HDB void deck: To hold a funeral in the void deck, you’ll have to get a permit from the Town Council. However, family members must remember to keep vigil because there will be no one to mend the place at night.
- Private apartment: You’ll have to obtain permission from the condo management.
- Landed property: You’ll require a permit from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) if you will be utilising part of the road outside your house. Else, no permit is needed. Likewise, it’s important that someone keeps vigil over the night.
- Funeral Parlour: If your family do not wish to go through the hassle of taking turns to stay up at night, a funeral parlour might be a wise choice. The place is locked up at night so you will be able to catch some sleep.
8. Burial Or Cremation
At the end of the entire funeral procession, you have to decide the next course of action with regards to the body of your loved one. You can opt for a land / sea burial or cremation.
- Cremation or the burial ground can be booked in person, via the phone or online at the chosen location.
- The funeral director usually coordinates the cremation or burial service.
- Cremated ashes can be placed at private or government locations.
- Burials on land cost between $315 and $940.
- Burial at sea costs between $80 and upwards of $1,000
- The expected price of a government cremation is $100, while a private cremation is between $321 and $535. The cost of urns begins at $70, while a government single and family niche costs $500 and $900, respectively. For an individual private niche, costs can be upwards of $5,800.
- A marble plaque costs about $1,000.
There is no perfect or ideal way to cope with losing a loved one. If you are finding it difficult or have noticed extensive symptoms of grieving in relatives or friends, you can get help from various organizations within Singapore.
Estimated Cost Of Funerals In Singapore
- Buddhist: $3,780 – $9,872
- Christian: $3,780 – $8,098
- Catholic: $3,780 – $8,098
- Taoism: $3,780 – $10,680
- Soka: $3,780 – $7,580
- Others: $1,300 – $7,380
Funeral / Bereavement Loans
Funerals can be expensive. Although it is possible to reduce costs, you may still require help when paying for a funeral. You can consider different options for financial assistance if you are unable to cover funeral costs.
A funeral or bereavement loan from a licensed moneylender can help to ease the costs and worries of planning a funeral. Getting funeral loans means that you will be obtaining the funds that you require from a lender. You are expected to pay back the loan gradually, usually in the form of manageable instalments over a specified period.
Importance of Being Financially Prepared
Along with the rest of the paperwork that the death of a loved one involves, it can be beneficial to be financially prepared for a funeral. It gives you more control over the type of send off you give your loved one. It also enables you to assess the costs and get the funding you need.
The cost of a funeral in Singapore can be high, including short and straightforward wakes and cremation that can set you back thousands of dollars. A funeral loan is one of the options that you can consider to ensure that you have enough funds.
When choosing a loan, keep factors such as interest rates, loan terms and your ability to repay in mind.
Thinking about death and the emotions and responsibilities that come with it is not easy. However, not thinking about it or being unaware of what you should do when it happens can make the experience even harder. The reality of a loved one passing on should be under consideration as you continue to enjoy the gift of life while having the power of knowledge to manage the process.