Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 and Funeral Precautions
Managing COVID-19 and funerals
It can be a difficult time when you have lost a friend or loved one. Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We hope this information is helpful and assists you in understanding WA’s current restrictions.
The health and well-being of our client families, the community we serve, and our team here at Bowra & O’Dea is our highest priority. In order to ensure the safety of our communities, particularly the elderly and immunocompromised we have undertaken a number of precautions.
Hand sanitiser will be available throughout our offices and we are undertaking additional cleaning with all high-touch areas such as door handles, reception desks, and common areas sanitised regularly throughout the day. Additionally, all our chapels have bathroom facilities available, providing public access to handwashing facilities.
Bowra & O’Dea understands a funeral plays an important part in the mourning process for both family and friends. There are ways we can include your loved ones in the funeral if they cannot attend in person. We will discuss options with families which may include;
- Live streaming or recording options
- Pre-recorded videos or handwritten messages to be shared at the funeral
- A copy of the service to be viewed at a later time
- Plan a memorial for a later date
The funeral consultant will discuss options available to the family should they wish to live stream or record the service. If the family chooses to go ahead with the streaming or recording of the service it will be uploaded to the Live Stream & Tributes Page where you can search for your loved one.
If the service is private you will need to receive the PIN access from the family, our staff are unable to provide you with the PIN unless the family has given us permission to do so. Please make contact with the family as the first priority. If the service is public, no PIN access is required.
If you have a request or idea to have family or friends ‘virtually present’ please speak with your Funeral Consultant to see if we can make this possible.
We are committed to providing our families with great service but please understand that there may be some changes to our usual practices as the situation changes. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how the situation might affect your specific funeral don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office so we can assist further on 08 9231 5199.
Please Note: If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 within 7 days or are in self-isolation we ask for your cooperation in not attending funerals or arrangements.
When a death has occurred
What happens on the day?
When a person dies in a private residence, a nursing home or a private hospital a death certificate will usually be signed by the family doctor (providing the doctor has attended the patient during the preceding six months). If death occurs in a public or private hospital, the attending doctor will usually sign the certificate.
Once a death has been verified, the family is able to contact a funeral director of their choice to request transfer of the deceased.
What is a Funeral Director’s role?
At some time in life, everyone will experience the loss of someone close. The absolute grief, confusion and numbness that accompany the news of a death can sometimes make decisions, regarding funeral arrangements, difficult and stressful.
We understand that this is a deeply personal and private time when sensitivity to the memory of a loved one and the feelings of families are paramount.
Our role is to answer the many questions that will arise and guide families through arrangements to create a loving and final tribute to best honour the life of their loved one.
Our Service Fee
At Bowra & O’Dea there are many elements involved in providing the best service possible to our families:
- Provide 24 hour service and attention 365 days of the year.
- Provide a private ambulance for the transfer of the deceased.
- Have a full knowledge of the legal requirements for burial, entombment and cremation and complete all necessary documentation, including obtaining medical papers and registration of the death.
- Interpret correctly the needs, wishes and feelings of the deceased’s loved ones to ensure these are met, liaise with the relevant clergy and/or civil celebrant to coordinate for the funeral.
- Arrange and conduct the funeral. To facilitate this we provide trained staff, private conference facilities and prestige funeral vehicles.
- Ensure that the dignity of both the deceased and their loved ones is preserved at all times.
- Carry out work professionally, with sensitivity, empathy and understanding.
- Supply the national flag where appropriate, the Last Post, selections from a large library of music and attend to the ordering of floral tributes, collection of floral cards, placement of newspaper notices and guiding pallbearers.
- Assist with the setup of our online Memory Book for family and friends to share their thoughts, photos and stories.
- Provide funeral care, which extends beyond the funeral. If required, we are able to present a range of memorial urns for your consideration.
- Finally, we consider that being able to assist in educating the community in matters of funerals, grief and bereavement is part of the privilege of funeral directing.
Why is the Coroner involved?
Sometimes there is a need for Police involvement, especially for accidental, unexplained or unexpected death. The Police will notify the Coroner, who acts on behalf of the deceased to determine the cause of their death. An autopsy many be required.
The Funeral Director will be in communication with the Coroner during this time and shall keep the family informed.
What if we are away from home?
With the increased movement of people around the world it is important to know what to do in the case of a death occurring interstate or overseas. Our company specialises in this area so you can rely on our experience to make the appropriate arrangements through our network of associated funeral homes both around the country and around the world.
Similarly, some nationalities within our community prefer to return relatives to their homeland for burial. This can involve time-consuming preparation including liaison with various departments of the Australian government as well as the Consular officials of their country of origin. The funeral director can organise the arrangements and administer the documentation required by the relevant authorities.
If your loved one dies while you are away from home we are able to take them into our care until your return. Pre-arrangements can also be made with a Funeral Consultant.
The Funeral Service
How is a death registered?
Registration of the death is the responsibility of the funeral director. In order to complete the documentation we need to know the following:
- Full names of the deceased
- Residential address
- Date and place of death
- Date and place of birth
- Occupation of the deceased
- Marital status
- Parents’ full names and occupations
- Maiden name of the mother of the deceased
- Marriage details
- Names, dates of birth and ages of children, living and deceased
Once the death is registered, a certified copy of the Registration of Death can usually be obtained within fourteen days. This is necessary for the completion of any legal and financial matters.
Who leads the service?
Any person is able to lead a funeral service. Most often, families choose a minister of religion or a civil celebrant. The funeral director is able to assist in locating the best person to suit your family’s needs.
A close friend or family member can certainly fulfil this role if they are comfortable doing so.
Can we do a balloon release?
Bowra & O’Dea is conscious of the environmental challenges our community faces. We endeavour to reduce our footprint by recycling plastic water bottles, installing solar panels on the roofs of our buildings where possible, using LCD lighting and using recycled paper products.
In line with Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics initiative, from 1 January 2022, regulations to ban balloon releases in Western Australia come into effect. If you would like more information, visit www.dwer.wa.gov.au.
We are conscious of the emotional significance releasing balloons can have at a funeral. Therefore, we encourage your family to use other symbolic gestures at funerals such as blowing bubbles, releasing doves or butterflies or perhaps giving a living gift such as flower seeds or a sapling to plant.
Static balloon displays can add a wonderful touch of colour and can be uplifting, however, we do ask that no balloons be released at any of our funerals.
Thank you for your understanding.
How do I go about writing a eulogy?
People often find the task of writing and performing a eulogy quite daunting, but it can be a wonderful way to remember a loved-one and share some special memories. It can also be an important part of the healing process. It is an honour to be chosen to deliver a eulogy. It means your family or loved ones believe you are capable and know the deceased well enough to write something meaningful. With the right preparation, you can create a memorable experience for everyone present and make it less traumatic for you. Please take a look at our helpful hints.
Can we make a family tribute DVD?
At a time of loss, many people find it helpful to create special tributes to their loved ones, as a way of remembering and celebrating their life, and as part of the healing process. A Family Tribute DVD is a compilation of photographs carefully put together with music that is special and relevant to your loved one’s life. It can be a stirring remembrance of their life’s journey and a moving pictorial homage that involves the memories, people and places that helped shape their life. If you would like to include this in your service or would like more information about how they are created, please contact us.
How else can we tell friends about our funeral?
Technology enables us to communicate with family and friends in an instant, by texting, emailing etc.
If you prefer not to have a newspaper notice, we can still provide the details of the funeral service on our website. Your consultant can also provide a link to the website via a text or an email, enabling you to share the information with friends that you may not have the time to call.
Can we say goodbye?
It is Bowra & O’Dea’s hope to provide every family with an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one which is both meaningful and personal.
Our private funeral home chapel is available for those who wish to ‘view’ the deceased. We understand that people may be a little apprehensive however this can be a very positive experience, especially when family members may not have been able to say goodbye personally.
It can be comforting, after prolonged illness, to see the person is at rest and no longer suffering.
A viewing can re-affirm that the death has occurred, especially if it has been sudden or away from home.
This can also be an opportunity for family members to express their personal sentiments. It can be of special assistance to children who may be experiencing the loss of a family member for the first time.
A comfortable environment is important for the viewing to be of most benefit to everyone who attends. You may choose this opportunity to play a selected piece of music, light a candle or jot down words of farewell to express your feelings which can then be placed in with your loved one.
Choice of clothing can also be very important. Often a favourite personal outfit is chosen.
We request that at least one person makes a formal identification of the deceased in their coffin or casket, as required under cemetery by-laws.
Can I bring my younger children?
Children are always welcome, sometimes even given a role to play as part of the funeral service. There are some families, however, who may feel their children are too young to understand or participate fully. Some of our branches enjoy self-managed crèche facilities with a TV/Video link up for parents of children to watch the ceremony privately, should they prefer.
Can we design our own 'personalised' coffin?
This can certainly be done. Our consultant can help with suggestions to create a coffin that is unique and personal – something that holds special meaning for your loved one and also significance for your family and friends who knew them well and shared in their life.
You may like to have a theme – such as sailing, fishing, cycling, travelling or fun family times. A wide range of colours can be used, special meaningful words, a poem, lyrics from a song perhaps and photos especially. You may even find the time spent in planning and designing as therapeutic.
Please be mindful of the extra time that is needed to create your personalised coffin.
Can we claim insurance?
If you are aware of a Funeral Insurance policy it is advisable to first speak with the provider and then discuss with our Funeral Consultant. If you think you may be eligible for a claim under Motor Vehicle Accident, Travel, Work Place Accident or Homicide, please apply to the appropriate government department or insurance company.
Death, as a result of a motor vehicle accident, may see an entitlement for a claim towards funeral expenses. Please refer to The Insurance Commission of WA 1800 643 338 or www.icwa.wa.gov.au.
You may be able to claim:
- funeral and headstone expenses up to $10,000;
- loss of financial benefit provided by the deceased; and
- loss of services provided by the deceased.
You must lodge dependency claims within three years of the crash.
In the case of death by homicide, the family may be able to access funds from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Department.
Prepaid Funeral Plans
What are the benefits of a prepaid funeral?
Many people are turning to Bowra & O’Dea to arrange their own funeral plans. A Prepaid Funeral Plan not only enables you to ease the financial burden on loved ones, but they also allow you to plan your goodbye the way you would like it to be. If requested your decisions can be documented in our Funeral Arrangement system for all third-party costs that are not a part of the Prepaid Funeral Plan.
Unlike funeral insurance, a prepaid funeral is a one-off cost and there are no ongoing premiums to worry about.
You can plan your funeral online using our simple-to-use Funeral Cost Estimate Tool.
How much does a prepaid funeral cost?
The cost of a Prepaid Funeral Plan will vary, depending on the type of funeral service that you choose. A consultant will discuss with you the different types of funeral services, including burial, cremation and other options. Many people now prepay for their funeral earlier in life because the cost is more affordable, the price is protected against inflation and they can become involved in the decisions made on the funeral.
You can get an estimate on a Prepaid Funeral Plan with our easy to use Prepaid Funeral Estimator.
Who should I tell about my prepaid plan?
Some people may feel comfortable discussing their funeral plans with a spouse, adult children or another member of the family. Others, however, may prefer to make arrangements directly with Bowra & O’Dea in complete confidence. We would strongly advise that, if the immediate family is not informed, a trusted friend, solicitor or executor be notified when a plan is purchased.
How secure are my funds?
Funds are placed with an investment manager in accordance with the Fair Trading (Prepaid Funeral Code of Practice) Regulations 2020. The funeral investment must be designated in the name of the client. The funds are only released after the funeral arranged for the recipient has been carried out, as per the prepaid funeral contract.
What happens if my circumstances change?
Please discuss with your consultant at the time of arrangement so your specific circumstances can be addressed.
What are Memorial Groves?
Our Memorial Groves are a unique and complimentary gesture from Bowra & O’Dea. In conjunction with Trillion Trees, formerly known as Men of the Trees, we plant a young tree as a lasting and loving memorial in the hope that it may assist with your grief.
Since the program’s inception in 1995, we have planted well over 500,000 trees. Located all across Western Australia, we also provide families with a Memorial Certificate as a keepsake.
Overall, in collaboration with Trillion Trees, we have sponsored the planting of 2.5 million trees, which have been used for environmental re-vegetation purposes in regional areas of Western Australia.
How does the Trillion Trees program work?
Trillion Trees, (formerly, Men of the Trees) are an international society for the planting and protection of trees. Founded in 1922, they are a non-profit, voluntary organisation that makes a huge contribution to the wellbeing of our planet through planting trees, reducing greenhouse gases and fighting salinity.
Why is a locally owned funeral company better?
A single focus: We are devoted to providing the best service possible, to satisfy the needs of our friends and neighbours, without distraction from corporate mandates.
Personal pride: This is our business in our community.
Long-term commitment: This is where we live and where we plan to stay. When you need us, we’ll be here.
Focus on families: We answer to you, not shareholders and understand that our business will only do well if we serve you well.
Knowledge of ethnic traditions: Funeral traditions vary greatly across our community. As we are local, we know how to respond to the different local cultural groups.
Investment in the community: Whenever possible, we choose to do business with other locally owned and operated businesses.
Personal relationship: We have been operating for 130 years and have developed a personal relationship with many families and groups in the community. This is why we are able to provide a sensitive, individualised family service.
Local support: Proudly, we provide support to local charities, schools and community groups through education seminars and sponsorship. The more you know about us, the more you’ll appreciate the difference!
Can the funeral director assist with obtaining service records?
We can assist with requesting service records with the Australian Defence Force on your behalf. Please speak with a consultant.
I have a WA Seniors Card, what does that mean?
Valid WA Seniors Card holders at the time of the arrangement where the deceased is, or was a card holder, allows a single use of any currently valid discount advertised in the WA Seniors Card Discount Directory.
Valid card holders can use a discount at one single funeral.
Any offers advertised in the WA Seniors Card Discount Directory are not applicable for Unattended or No-Service Funerals, cannot be redeemed for cash or transferred to a third-party or used in conjunction with any other offer.