Frequently Asked Questions

William Matthew Funerals advice on what to do when a loved on dies

What is embalming?

Professional embalming has been in use for over one hundred years in Australia and is practiced in order to provide the deceased with the highest level of dignity and respect.

Embalming is the chemical treatment of a body which achieves three things: Sanitation: Presentation: and Preservation of the body. This is carried out by our trained embalmer. Embalming may be needed when:

If you have any questions about embalming or other mortuary procedures, pleases call us to discuss these matters further with you.

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Should there be a viewing?

Viewing the deceased is a personal decision and in past experience we have found it has many benefits. A viewing not only helps family and friends to face the reality of death but it also allows for quiet times of reflection and good-byes. A viewing can be arranged to take place a day leading up to the funeral or on the day of the service

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What allowances exist for funeral expenses?

Centrelink offers the following bereavement payments to Australian residents. Entitlements can change without notice and we recommend you contact your nearest Centerlink Office for further information on 13 23 00.

Other allowances may be payable through the following institutions:

William Matthews Funerals will notify Centrelink, overseas pensions and Veterans Affairs on behalf of the deceased family.

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What is an Executor?

An Executor is someone named in the Will who is in charge of finalising the estate of a deceased person. When someone passes away the Executor should be notified as soon as possible. It is advisable that an Executor get professional advice or assistance, if only to determine their rights and responsibilities in the matter.

If a Will cannot be located, the responsibility to administer the estate usually rests with the next-of-kin, who should seek \ professional advice before attempting to finalise matters.

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What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?

Contrary to what many believe, coffins are very different to caskets. A casket is rectangular, usually has a hinged lid and can be made of either a range of timber or different types of metal. Coffins are just how people might think, tapered out to a point at the shoulder, and with a lid which usually lifts off completely. Coffins are generally timber (including pine, oak, mahogany and cedar) or of a veneer coated particle board. The lining is made from materials ranging from calico through to satin.

William Matthews Funerals Casket Casket
William Matthews Funerals Coffin Coffin

Pre-arranged and pre-paid funeral?

Many families choose to Pre-Arrange the type and style of a funeral and record their preferences in advance with their funeral director. When the next step is taken, and a Pre-Arranged funeral service is paid for in advance it becomes a pre-paid funeral.

Doing either a pre-arranged or pre-paid funeral gives you the chance to personalise the service you would like and make it a celebration of your life. It can also be a way to get your loved ones involved in creating a positive and meaningful experience.

A pre-paid funeral is a funeral planned in advance and paid for at today's prices. Even if prices rise in the future, you will not have to pay extra for the service set out in your Pre-paid Funeral Plan. Your investment is safe and secure as it is managed in accordance with strict legislation by a third party.

You can find out more about pre-arranging and Pre-Paid funerals by calling our office on 9739 6868. You may wish to receive an information pack that sets out the many advantages and benefits of pre-paying your funeral.

Questions People Ask About Cremation:

Is cremation dearer than burial?

Generally cremation is cheaper than burial. How ever you should talk about the costs involved with us at William Matthews Funerals.

Are there any religious groups which do not allow cremation?

Yes, cremation is forbidden by Orthodox Jews, most Orthodox faiths, Moslems as well as some other religions. Most Christian denominations allow cremation including the Roman Catholic Church. Cremation is the normal method of Sikhs, Hindus, Parsees and Buddhists.

Can I have a religious ceremony with cremation?

The service for a cremation or a burial is the same, the only difference is the committal, with a burial the committal will usually take place at the graveside. The committal for a cremation may take place in the church, our chapel or at the chapel at the crematorium. You can still have your funeral service in your own church or you may decide to have the service in our chapel or the crematorium chapel.

Do I have to have a religious ceremony?

No, you do not have to have a religious ceremony. You may have a civil ceremony or you don't have to have any ceremony at all.

What happens at the cremation on the day of the funeral?

The coffin is brought into the chapel and placed at the front of the chapel, usually prior to the mourners entering and taking their seats. At the appropriate time during the service the coffin my be removed from view by the closing of the curtains or the activating of a conveyance. At the end of the service the mourners leave the chapel.

What happens to the coffin after the service?

The coffin is taken into a committal room where the nameplate is checked with the cremation order to ensure correct identity. The coffin is then identified with a label giving all the relevant information. This identification then stays with the coffin until the final disposal of the cremated remains.

Does the cremation take place immediately, or are the coffins stored up until a number are ready to be cremated?

The cremation will take place soon after the service.

Is the coffin cremated with the body?


What happens with the handles and fittings on the coffin?

Some crematoria remove the fittings because of the adverse effect their chemical composition can leave on cremation chambers and also because licenses issued by the Environment Protection Authority necessitate this. Any fittings removed are destroyed by the crematorium.

What happens to precious metals and other metals?

Modern cremators operate at between 660°C and 1000°C, at these tempratures metals are fused together with other meterials so that they are unrcogninisable and have no salvage value. Any metallic material resulting from a cremation is disposed of in accordance with the instruction of the cremation authority.

Is more than one coffin creamated at a time in a cremator?

No, only one coffin is cremated at a time. The only exceptions permitted to this rule are in the case of a mother and baby or twin children when some crematoria will accept both in the same coffin if the next of kin request that they be cremated together.

Do I get the right cremation ashes?

Yes, each coffin is identified and an identity lable is placed on the outside of the cremator as soon as the coffin is placed into it. This lable stays there until the remains are removed and it is than transferred to the cooling tray which then goes to the preparation room. This lable stays with the remains until they are placed in a container which is then also labled with identification. As each cremation chamber will only accept one coffin and the remains must be removed before the cremator is used again, all cremated remains are kept separate throughout the process.

Preparation of the cremated remains has been mentioned, What does this entail?

When the cremation has taken place, the remains are withdrawn from the cremator into a cooling tray. When cool, any metallic material is removed and the remains are placed into a machine which reduces them to fine, white ash.

How can I ensure that I am cremated when I die?

Make sure you have clear instructions in writing and give these to the person who will be responsible for your funeral when you die. These instructions are not binding in law unless they are written in your Will, so make sure the person you instruct is someone who will carry out your wishes. The final decision rests with your executors.

Can I Keep the cremated remains if I want or must I dispose of them?

In most cases disposing of the cremated remains is the responsibility of the administrators of the estate. They may keep the cremated remains or arrange a memorial. A memorial gives the family and friends a place where they can pay their respects.

What can happen to the cremated remains?

A memorial can be arranged with in the cemetery grounds, some people prefer to keep the ashes, while some people request that they be scattered.

What type of memorials are there?

Cemeteries provide a wind range of memorials including gardens, rockeries, family estates, walls and many more. We recommend you talk to your Funeral Director at the time of arrangement.

Can Catholics choose cremation?

Many Catholics are unaware of the changes in the Catholic Church's attitude towards cremation. Burial remains the recommended practice however if cremation is chosen this is permissible. The present law of the Catholic Church, promulgated in 1983, states: "The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained, but it does not forbid cremation, unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian Teaching" (Canon 1176.3) If a Catholic opts for cremation, the deceased is entitled to all the reverence the Catholic church traditionally accords to members who have died. There can still be a funeral service which may or may not include a Requiem Mass depending on what is requested.