Useful Links and Resources

Coping with grief and loss

If you’re feeling a deep sense of loss and grief, or wanting to help someone who is, then there are resources available to help you. It’s always a good idea to spend time with family and friends and discuss how you’re feeling and to seek their support and comfort. Professional, community and religious support services are also available in many places so you may wish to contact these. Some possible useful resources are shown below.

  • The South African Depression and Anxiety Group - Finding Help

Closing social media accounts

Following a loved one’s death it is important to close or otherwise deal with all social media and online accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, PayPal, eBay, etc. If your loved one left account and password details for these accounts then you may be able to simply access these accounts and either close or suspend them or set them to a ‘memorial’ status if available. Should you encounter difficulties you will need to contact the account provider for advice and assistance on closing accounts. Facebook allows its users to nominate a ‘Legacy Contact’ to manage an account after death. Similarly Google (including Gmail, Photos, YouTube, Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) allows users to nominate an ‘Inactive Account Manager’.

If you need further help to close or memorialise a deceased's various social media and online accounts, you might need to consider using a professional digital or social media adviser.

Preventing identity theft and fraud after a death

It is important when making funeral information public or putting it online (such as a public obituary) not to provide details that enable credit fraud or identity theft.

  • Don't put the deceased’s home address in obituaries, just the city they lived in. Aside from preventing identity theft, you don't want thieves robbing the house while you're at the funeral.
  • Don't include the mother's maiden name which people often use for passwords or identity checks.
  • Promptly notify relevant government agencies of the death, particularly social security agencies.
  • Promptly provide copies of the death certificate to the person’s bank and credit providers.
  • Contact the motor vehicle or driver’s licensing agency to cancel any driver's license.
  • Review the transaction statements for the deceased’s bank and credit accounts for several months after the death to check for any suspicious activity.

Who to notify if someone has died

There is a long list of the people and organisations you may need to notify if someone has died, which will vary depending on the country you live in. Many organisations, such as government authorities and banks, will require you to provide documentation such as a certified copy of a death certificate, particularly to execute the Will or to close or deactivate accounts.

  • Government authorities – the taxation office, social security, electoral office, veterans’ services, local councils, vehicle registration and licensing authorities.
  • Banking and finance - banks, credit unions, mutuals, credit providers, insurers, superannuation funds.
  • Clubs and religious institutions, or other organisations the deceased was a member of.
  • Employers.
  • Executor of the Will and family and friends.
  • Foreign pension authority (if in receipt of a foreign pension).
  • Funeral bond or funeral insurance agency and/or funeral director if a pre-paid funeral exists.
  • Health fund and health professionals (e.g. doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, podiatrist, optometrist).
  • Landlord.
  • Professionals (e.g. solicitor, accountant, financial planner).
  • Public services (e.g. library).
  • Telecommunication providers (e.g. phones, internet, cable subscriptions).
  • Utilities (e.g. gas, electricity and water companies).
  • Postal service.

Pre-paid funerals, funeral bonds, funeral insurance

Whether or not pre-paying a funeral with a funeral home, or buying funeral bonds or funeral insurance is a good decision depends very much on your personal circumstances and preferences, and the quality and cost of the potential product. Before purchasing any product you should consider your circumstances and compare different products carefully to make sure you’re satisfied with the product or service.

There’s no doubt however that pre-arranging and pre-paying a funeral can be a convenient and reassuring way to reduce the emotional stress on your family at a time of loss.

  • Are you being guaranteed the services at the contracted price or are there additional payments required (such as due to cost increases)?
  • What if you change your mind? Can you cancel it and get all or part of your money back?
  • Will your money earn interest? If so, how much and who gets it?
  • If you’re buying funeral insurance, is there a waiting period before it takes effect? How long?
  • Is any increase in the cost of the funeral covered by the plan or will your family have to pay extra?
  • Does your health affect the terms of the plan?
  • What happens if the funeral home goes out of business? Does your plan specify that it will be taken over by another funeral home and if so which one?
  • What happens if you move to a distant area? Can the plan be transferred to another funeral home in that area?
  • What happens to any money left over after your funeral? Does the home keep it?
  • It is sometimes more cost-effective to simply open a separate funeral bank account with a designated "pay on death" inheritor. When you open such an account, you name a relative or friend (or the funeral home) as beneficiary. You put in the money and collect the interest. You can close the account any time you want, transfer the balance to a different bank, or change the beneficiary. When you die, the beneficiary collects the account balance and pays for the funeral.