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First steps to take if you lost a loved one

     Please note this is just an overview of what can be done if you loose a loved one. More detailed information can be found on NZ official government website 

1 Let the authorities know

If the person:

  • was in care when they died or the death was expected, call their doctor or nurse
  • died unexpectedly or in an accident, call 111.

      Depending on how the person died, a doctor, nurse or coroner will examine          the body and decide what happened


 2 Check if you can get Bereavement leave and         financial help from the government

      Can check here:

3 Organise the funeral and burial or cremation

If you want to hold a funeral, you can use a funeral director or organise it yourself.  As Anyone – not just a funeral director – can organise the burial or cremation of a body.

Before a body is buried or cremated, you need:

  • a medical certificate signed by a doctor or nurse, or
  • a coroner to authorise the release of the body.

There are rules about where and how you can bury or cremate someone, and where you can scatter ashes.

Before burial or cremation  (PDF 298KB)

4 Register the death

You need to register the death with Births, Deaths and Marriages within 3 working days of the burial or cremation. You can request the form to do this by contacting Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Births, Deaths and Marriages contact details are 


0800 22 52 52 (NZ only)


+64 9 339 0852 (outside NZ)



The form will ask for information about:

  • the person who died
  • their parents and children
  • their relationship status
  • how they died
  • when and where they were buried or cremated.

You'll also need to provide some details about yourself.

It’s free to register a death, but there’s a fee to order a death certificate.

5 Sort out their finances and execute the will

If you're managing someone's estate, you'll need to do some things like:

  • cancel any benefits or pensions
  • let IRD know the person has died and do a final tax return
  • cancel their passport and driver licence.

You can let government agencies know someone has died and cancel their passport at the same time using the service myTrove Notify.