What is it?

After a loved one has died, your GP may sign a certificate that confirms the death. You cannot make funeral arrangements unless your GP has signed and issued this certificate. The certificate is used by the funeral director, or the person managing the deceased person, to register the death with the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry in New South Wales.


What will my GP do now?

Your GP is required by law to confirm the identity of the deceased person, the cause of death, and the circumstances of death.

Your GP must also complete a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death or report the death to the coroner. A death is reportable to the coroner where a person has died:

  • a violent or unnatural death
  • a sudden death, the cause of which is unknown
  • under suspicious or unusual circumstances

If the death is reportable to the coroner, your GP will give you information about the process and support services. The certificate is also sent to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and used for analysis and public health planning.

Your GP may also complete a Cremation Certificate if relevant.


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP may want to see you to talk to you about how you’re feeling and if you need extra support to manage your emotions. Your GP may also:

  • Talk to you about the grieving process and normal reactions
  • Talk to you about medication if you are experiencing extreme distress
  • Help relatives and close friends access support services

Your GP might also give you a referral for counselling if you want to talk to someone.


What can I do?

Immediately after a loved one has died there are certain steps to take. You will need to consider:

  • Funeral arrangements
  • Wills and insurance policies
  • Notifying relevant people
  • Financial assistance
  • Support for extended family