Frequently Asked Questions

You will find below some of the questions that our Funeral Directors frequently receive.
However, if you have any further questions please give us a call on 07 3252 2031
at any time and we would be happy to assist you.

Prearrangements and preplanning

Planning your funeral in advance may be the last thing that you want to be thinking about but, when the inevitable happens, it helps ease the emotional and financial strain on friends, family and loved ones at a very difficult time. Prearranging a funeral service will not only look after the cost of a funeral, but also remove some of the uncertainty families may have in knowing that they are arranging the funeral their loved one would have wanted.

When considering the options available for a funeral service, you can plan as much or as little as you wish. Some elect to look after only the financial arrangements by placing a lump sum in a funeral bond, with the decisions for funeral service inclusions to be made later. Others may make specific choices regarding the details of the service, like choosing a venue for the service or making coffin and flower decisions, and place them on file with a funeral director. Of course, any instructions with K.M.Smith may be altered at any time in the future. How much you would like to plan is completely up to you.

Making provisions for a funeral has always been a popular choice when prearranging, and if required we are able to assist you with making the necessary financial arrangements. Many of our families prefer a funeral bond over other pre-funding options. Whilst we are not financial advisors, bonds can be likened to a funeral savings account that increases in value over the years. Please contact us for more details if you are interested.

At K.M.Smith, we understand that your life circumstances can change, and you can rest assured that your funeral prearrangements with us can be cancelled, amended, or transferred to the funeral director of your choice at any time. If you have made financial arrangements through K.M.Smith with a funeral bond, these funds are fully transferrable as well.

When a death has occurred

The steps required depend on where the person has died and the cause of death.

When someone dies at home – His or her doctor is the first person you should call. The doctor will prepare a Medical Cause of Death Certificate. Then call the Funeral Director to arrange for the deceased to be transferred to a funeral home. K.M. Smith has an all hours number – 07 3252 2031.

When someone dies in a nursing home – The home will call the Funeral Director they have recorded on file as being nominated by the family at the time the now deceased first took up residency.

When someone dies in a hospital -The family calls the Funeral Director of their choice who will make all the necessary arrangements with the hospital, transfer the deceased to the funeral home, confirm arrangements for cremation or burial and attend to all the details involved in arranging the funeral.

When a death is sudden and unexpected, accidental or a suicide – The doctor or the family must notify the police who will in most circumstances arrange transfer to a Queensland Health facility by the government contracted undertaker. In these circumstances investigation into the cause of death, possibly involving a post mortem, will be ordered by the coroner. Funeral arrangements may be delayed until necessary documentation has been completed.

The local procedures of the state or country where death has occurred must be followed. Authorities will liaise with us as your funeral director while making arrangements for the deceased to be repatriated home.

Because so many Australians are migrants
There are those who wish to be interred in their land of origin. K.M. Smith Funeral Directors will attend to this responsibility on behalf of your family.

Before making any arrangements, check to see if the deceased had made any funeral prearrangements. This may include a nominated funeral director or financial arrangements. Once you have confirmed this information, contact the funeral director to make a time to meet and discuss your wishes for the funeral service.

The role of a funeral director is a broad service which includes the practical organisation of a service, support and guidance for the family, and working with other organisations and services to ensure the funeral is properly arranged. Our services at K.M.Smith include, but are not limited to:

Before the Funeral
-transporting the deceased to our private mortuary facilities for expert mortuary care
– sourcing certificates
– meeting with family to complete statutory documents as required and discuss preferences for: clergy/ celebrant; funeral notices; flowers; coffin/casket; service booklets; music; multimedia presentations; streaming; musicians; memorial books, catering and personalisation such as bag piper, doves, butterflies – all to suit a range of budgets and individual choice.
-arranging viewings or quiet time (see “Why Viewings Matter” for more information). (Can we create an information page on why viewings matter to link to here?)

The Funeral Service
-complimentary use of our elegant and spacious Kate Mary Chapel with adjoining refreshment lounge with streaming/recording services included
– hearses befitting of a last journey
-professional and experienced staff ensure your wishes are carried out in the funeral service with care, accuracy and dedication
– female and male funeral assistants are on staff, should you have a preference please let us know

After the funeral
– assistance with the collection of ashes and purchase of urns and keepsake items
– arranging thank you cards and memorial stationary as requested
– completing all requirements for repatriation, nationally or internationally
– 24/7 support

Embalming is a process, performed at K.M.Smith by a qualified embalmer, in which chemicals are used to preserve a body. In Australia embalming is not a common practice outside of when it is required for repatriation or above ground burials. If you would like to know more about the process of embalming, select the following link to view or download a short document describing the process: Information on the Embalming Process.

Whilst viewings are a personal choice for each family to consider, we have seen first hand the support a viewing offers people of all ages in coming to terms with the death of someone dear.

Viewings are an opportunity, arranged for a day or time prior to the funeral, for family and friends to be with the deceased one final time; to reflect and remember privately and informally together; to offer support and to have the chance to place special personal items – from photographs to hand written notes or children’s drawings – into the coffin.

This time is scheduled to occur after our professional and respectful mortuary care processes have been completed. Once washed and dressed, the deceased is placed in their coffin and for the viewing the coffin lid is usually removed.

Many families have shared how having a viewing has helped them in their grieving and the process of letting someone go.

The Kate Mary Funeral Chapel, in our historical main office at Bowen Hills is excellent for the conduct of viewings large and small. This space is available at no extra charge for all full-service funeral options, Monday to Friday

The Funeral Service

Your choice of end-of-life arrangements is very much a personal thing, but as you make these choices it’s important that loved ones are also kept in mind. Funeral services that commemorate someone’s life and grieve their death can help those who were close to them begin the journey through grief and mourning. A service can create a sense of community, give loved ones an opportunity to talk about their loss, share memories and future plans. In a real sense, a funeral service is not just for the person who has died, but also for those who live on after the loss of their loved one. Dr Alan Wolfert discusses the importance of having a funeral. 

Across the greater Brisbane area there are a number of chapel locations some offering both cemetery and crematorium options. Alternatively, many families choose to use our Kate Mary Chapel for their service prior to either burial or cremation. There are also many churches and non-denominational venues throughout South East Queensland. K.M. Smith can arrange for your funeral service to take place in your preferred venue or assist with presenting venue options as required.

NORTH

Albany Creek Memorial Gardens

Great Northern Memorial Park

Nudgee Cemetery & Crematorium

Pinnaroo Cemetery & Crematorium

SOUTH

Mt Gravatt Cemetery & Crematorium

Mt Thompson Memorial Park

EAST

Great Southern Memorial Gardens

Hemmant Cemetery & Crematorium

WEST

Centenary Memorial Gardens

Heritage Park Crematorium

Warrill Park Cemetery & Crematorium

At the end of a funeral service your loved one will be either buried or cremated.

Burial is where a grave is chosen for the internment to take place. A grave may be in a lawn section with plaques resting on top of the grass, a monumental area featuring concrete coverings and headstones or a vault, chapel or crypt (embalming required). As ‘land’ is being purchased, the cost of a burial site is thousands of dollars and varies from cemetery to cemetery.

Cremation is an alternative to burials where at the end of the process, families receive the ashes of their loved one. The ashes can be retained by the family in the vessel they are presented in by the crematorium or decanted into an urn and other items designed to hold ashes. Ashes can be scattered at personally meaningful locations by the family or interred into columbarium niches or gardens as offered by crematoriums and some churches. The cost to cremate is hundreds of dollars and varies from crematorium to crematorium

You may be surprised to know that many people reach their 40’s and 50’s without having a funeral touch their lives. If this is you, there can be uncertainty about what happens at a funeral and what etiquette to follow.

Attending – If you are able to attend a funeral, do it and be on time. Your presence is a valued and important part of the public gathering a funeral is designed to be. We come together to say goodbye to someone we’ve known and hello to others in the same shared situation. It is courteous to pay respects to the family where possible, even if you do not know them personally, introducing yourself and sharing a few words is often appreciated in ways you may never know.

Dress code – Unless stipulated by the family in a funeral notice, dress code is usually smart with men in suits and ladies in heels. Colours vary from black to bright.

Flowers – Although not as common now, people used to take gifts of floral wreaths or arrangements, dedicated to the family as a gift of compassion and understanding, to the funeral. This is a personal choice. If you do take flowers with you, the funeral director will look after placing them and returning them or the card to the family. It is up to the family if they take the flowers home at the end of a service or elect to have them stay with the deceased.

Conduct – Mostly, people arrive and either take a seat immediately or stand and talk for a while with the family and other mourners prior to the funeral commencing. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to approach the funeral staff for assistance. Once the funeral begins, the celebrant will direct the flow of the service and invite people to stand, sit and sometimes partake in a ritual such as placing a flower, or sprinkling sand on a coffin.

At the end of the service – the coffin may stay in place or be carried out to the hearse by pall bearers. Either way, custom is that once the family leave, the rows behind them file out one by one. Once outside, if the hearse is present, people remain gathered until it leaves. Depending on the families wishes, people may go onto a burial or final committal at the crematorium, or to catering if refreshments are arranged.

After the funeral – it can be a lonely time after the funeral for families, once everything has settled down and people return to their lives. Checking in on people with a call or a visit to talk about their loved one and share memories can make the world of difference.

General questions

The person who has died may have designated someone in their Will to make funeral arrangements. An executor is a person legally responsible for carrying out the terms of a will, which may include details of a nominated funeral director and funeral service instructions.

If no instructions are left, the decisions fall to the Executor and, if there is no Executor, the next-of-kin becomes responsible. If the nearest relative is not able to make these decisions, then a hierarchy of kin is followed until a person who can make the decisions is reached. The hierarchy is typically: spouse/partner, children, parents, siblings, guardian, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces or nephews.

Once the funeral (or burial or cremation) has taken place, the funeral director submits a death registration application form to the registry office in the state or territory where death occurred. 10 – 14 working days after lodgement, the standard death certificate is posted to the executor or recipient named on the application form. This document is used to manage the affairs of the deceased. For more information the Queensland Government site can be helpful.

The cost of a funeral service is ultimately determined by you and your family.

There are four cost components of a funeral service to consider:-
– A Funeral Directors Professional Fees
– Coffin or Casket price
– Fees from the Crematorium / Cemetery and Government Departments (eg Registry Office)
– Other disbursements (items that are paid by the funeral director to a third party on your behalf) such as funeral notice, clergy/celebrant, flowers, service booklets, music, video tribute, hire cars and so on.

Requesting an itemised quote based on your choices from a K.M. Smith Funeral Director will allow you to see the breakdown of these costs, and will also allow you to modify any of the inclusions to adjust the total funeral cost.

What is the difference between a coffin & a casket?

The choice between a coffin or a casket depends on preference, with both used for cremation or burial services.

Coffins
• Are widest at the shoulder
• Taper at the head and foot ends
• Have a fully removable lid which is fastened with thumbscrews

Coffins are usually made out of paper veneered MDF or solid timber.

Caskets
• Are rectangular shape
• Have a full or half hinged lid that opens from the front
• Usually have more refined features, materials and designs and can take up to 20 hours to manufacture

Caskets are made from the highest quality solid timbers or metals.

K.M. Smith’s  coffin and casket range and hardware (handles, ornamentation and upholstery) are all Queensland crafted by select family owned businesses.