Who is responsible for arranging a funeral?

The Executor named in the Will is responsible for all the affairs of a person following death including funeral arrangements. However, any close relative or friend is able to look after the funeral arrangements. If there is any conflict the Executor will have the final say.

When a person has no Will, a close relative or friend may take responsibility. If there is conflict a Court may need to appoint someone. Court action delays funeral arrangements considerably and is a last resort. If a person has no Will and no family or friends wishing to be responsible for funeral arrangements, the State will fund a simple burial within three months of death.

If there are family members who wish to be responsible, but neither they nor the deceased have assets, the State may fund a simple funeral through the Bereavement Assistance Program. Centrelink may also assist financially depending on individual circumstances.

What type of funeral service should I arrange?

Funerals are often held in a Church, Funeral Chapel or Crematorium Chapel. However they may be held in any meaningful place such as a park, sporting facility or civic building. Following the service there will need to be final disposition of the body of the deceased, either through burial or cremation. Religion, cultural tradition or personal preference may shape this decision.

What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service?

A memorial service is a type of funeral held without the deceased in attendance. A memorial service is usually held if a person dies away from home, if the body is not recoverable from the place of death or burial or cremation has already occurred.

What happens when I choose a burial?

A person may be buried in a re-opened grave or a new grave. Two to three people may be buried in one grave depending on the cemetery. The grave may be in a lawn cemetery or general cemetery. Lawn cemeteries allow a small monument at the head of the grave and no division of religious denomination. General cemeteries allow full monuments to cover the grave and are usually divided into religious denominations.

All cemeteries in WA are publicly-owned and run by the local government authority or a cemetery board. According to the Cemeteries Act 1986, all cemeteries require a current Grant of Right of Burial. This grant is issued when a grave is purchased and is valid for 25 years. The grant must be renewed each subsequent 25 years, to ensure cemetery upkeep. The person named on the grant is the only person that is able to authorise further burials in the grave or the erection of monuments. It may take between six months and one year for a monument to be erected, however, William Barrett and Sons can supply a temporary grave marker if required.

What happens when I choose cremation?

Cremation is the burning of the body and coffin which results in only the ashes remaining. When a person is cremated the entire coffin is placed in the cremator. After the cremation process the person who applies for the cremation is responsible for the ashes.

Ashes may be left in the care of the crematorium for some time, placed in the grounds of a cemetery or crematorium, kept at home, scattered or distributed. The crematorium will supply a simple container for the ashes. Urns can be purchased through William Barrett and Sons or the crematorium office.

What coffin or casket should I choose?

William Barrett and Sons offer an array of coffins and caskets to suit individual taste and budgets. They may be constructed of a variety of materials including custom-board, cardboard, wicker, solid timber and steel and come in a variety of designs, including our exclusive Nature Series with images by Christian Fletcher. View our coffins and caskets.

Should I have a viewing?

The choice to see a loved one prior to a funeral is a personal decision. It is important for each individual to do as they wish and not be swayed by the decision of others. When we meet to discuss the funeral arrangements it is helpful to have clothing and make-up (if applicable) and also a recent photograph. This will assist us with preparation of your loved one.

We will prepare your loved one in a way that is acceptable for a viewing whether you choose to see them or not. The family may assist in dressing their loved one or do their hair or make-up if they wish.

The preparation of a deceased person is an honour and our mortuary staff have the highest regard for the dignity and confidentiality of the deceased.

Is embalming necessary?

When a person dies their body begins to break down. This can be delayed through refrigeration but the most effective way to delay the breakdown is by embalming. Embalming is a surgical procedure similar to a blood transfusion. A qualified embalmer injects a solution into the circulatory system which preserves and disinfects the body and gives a more life-like appearance.

Embalming is optional, however it would be recommended or required:

  • For interstate or international travel
  • If there is an extended period between death and funeral
  • If a family member or friend would like to assist in dressing
  • If someone is to be taken home overnight
  • If there has been some physical trauma
  • If there is an infectious disease present