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What to do when a death occurs?

When a death occurs, the family will have to obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD). With the CCOD, the family may register the death. This will have to be done within 24 hours of the death.

Upon registration of the death, the CCOD will be retained by the death registration center and a Death Certificate will be given to the family. You will need this Death Certificate to place an obituary in the papers, engage a funeral director, and when you make arrangements for cremation or burial.

Scenario A: If the death occurs in a hospital
 Scenario B: If the death occurs at home
Scenario C: If the death occurs overseas

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Scenario A: If the death occurs in a hospital

Step 1: Obtain Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD)

 
When a death occurs, a doctor at the hospital can certify the cause of death if the cause of death is known AND the cause is natural. He will then fill up the CCOD and hand it to the ward nurse. The family can obtain the CCOD from the ward nurse by producing the identity card of the deceased.
If the doctor is unable to determine the cause of death, or a death has been the result of or has been contributed by an unnatural event (e.g. surgical complication, a fall prior to admission), the doctor is under the requirement of the law (Criminal Procedures Code) to refer the case to the Police / Coroner. In such cases, the body will be sent to Mortuary@HSA (located at Block 9 Singapore General Hospital) in a Police Hearse. The hospital will arrange for this to be done. The family will be told by the Police when to go down to the Mortuary@HSA (this is usually on the next day).
What to Bring to Mortuary@HSA:

• All medical documents relating to the deceased

• All medicine consumed by the deceased

• Identification papers of the deceased and informant e.g. NRIC/Passport/Certificate of Registration of Birth/ FIN card

 
At the Mortuary@HSA

The Police Investigator will arrange for the family to view and identify the deceased's body in the presence of the Coroner.

• The Coroner will review the case and determine if an autopsy is required.

• The family will be informed of the Coroner's decision and the time to claim the body for the funeral.

If the autopsy reveals that the death is unnatural, the Police will need to conduct further investigations into the cause of death and the family will need to assist. Once the investigation is completed, the family will be told by the Police to attend a Coroner Inquiry at the Subordinate Courts.

 

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Step 2: Engage a Funeral Director

After the Certificate of Cause of Death has been obtained, the family may engage a funeral director who will

  (i) collect the body from the home/hospital mortuary
 (ii) send the body for embalming (if required), and
(iii) deliver the body to the location of the wake

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Step 3: Register The Death (this could be done simultaneously with Step 2)

Prior to registration, the family should decide whether the body will be cremated or buried as this information is required when registering the death.

The family will have to register the death at

• the Registry of Births & Deaths
3rd floor, ICA Building
10 Kallang Road S(208718)
Tel: 6391 6100
Working hours: 8am - 5pm (Mon - Fri)
8am - 1pm (Sat)
 
What to Bring to Register a Death:

• Certificate of Cause of Death

• Identification papers of deceased and informant e.g. NRIC/ Passport/ Certificate of Registration of Birth/ FIN card

If the body is referred to the Mortuary@HSA, the death will be registered at the Mortuary@HSA.

You may refer to Arranging a Funeral for more information.

Scenario B: If the death occurs at home

STEP 1: Obtain Certificate of Cause of Death

Contact your family doctor who has been attending to the deceased. If you do not have a family doctor or if the family doctor is not available, contact any of the neighbourhood doctor who is willing to make a house call.

If the doctor is able to certify the death, he will issue the CCOD on the spot. If he is unable to certify the death, call the Police for the body to be sent to Mortuary@HSA (located at Block 9 Singapore General Hospital) in a Police Hearse. The family will be told by the Police when to go down to the Mortuary@HSA (usually the next day).

If you are unable to contact a doctor, call the Police. The body will be sent to the Mortuary@HSA in a Police Hearse. The family will be told by the Police when to go down to the Mortuary@HSA (usually on the next day).

What to Bring to Mortuary@HSA:

• All medical documents relating to the deceased

• All medicine consumed by the deceased

• Identification papers of the deceased and informant e.g. NRIC/Passport/Certificate of Registration of Birth/ FIN card


Mortuary@HSA operating hours:
Monday to Friday - 8:00am to 4:30pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays - 8:00am to 12:30pm

At the Mortuary@HSA
 
• The Police Investigator will arrange for the family to view and identify the deceased's body in the presence of the Coroner.

• The Coroner will review the case and determine if an autopsy is required.

• The family will be informed of the Coroner's decision and the time to claim the body for the funeral.

If the autopsy reveals that the death is unnatural, the Police will need to conduct further investigations into the cause of death and the family will need to assist. Once the investigation is completed, the family will be told by the Police to attend a Coroner Inquiry at the Subordinate Courts.

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STEP 2: Engage A Funeral Director

  After the Certificate of Cause of Death has been obtained, the family may engage a funeral director who will:

  (i) collect the body from the home/hospital mortuary
 (ii) send the body for embalming (if required), and
(iii) deliver the body to the location of the wake

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STEP 3: Register the Death (this could be done simultaneously with Step 2)

The family will have to register the death at

• the Registry of Births & Deaths
3rd floor, ICA Building
10 Kallang Road S(208718)
Tel: 6391 6100
Working hours: 8am - 5pm (Mon - Fri)
8am - 1pm (Sat)
 
What to Bring to Register a Death:

• Certificate of Cause of Death

• Identification papers of deceased and informant e.g. NRIC/ Passport/ Certificate of Registration of Birth/ FIN card

If the body is referred to the Mortuary@HSA, the death will be registered at the Mortuary@HSA.

You may refer to Arranging a Funeral for more information.

Scenario C: If the death occurs overseas
If death had occurred overseas, it should be registered with the relevant foreign authorities where the death occurred.

A.

Singapore Citizens / Permanent Residents

For Cremation or Burial

The body of a Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident may be brought back to Singapore for cremation or burial. However, a Coffin (Import) Permit is required to import a body into Singapore. A funeral director should be able to assist you in the procedures.

•  Application of Coffin (Import) Permit
a) You may apply for a coffin permit at any time from the following offices:

        I.  Port Health Office
            4545 Jalan Bukit Merah
            Singapore 159466
            Tel: 6222 2585   Fax: 6222 8543

        II. Airport Health Office
            Singapore Changi Airport
            Tel: 6543 2515   Fax: 6543 1973

b) Documents required for the issuance of the coffin permit:

        I.   Death Certificate issued by the country where death occurred (copy of English
             translation is required if the death certificate is in ethnic languages),
             Cause of Death Certificate or a Statutory Declaration
        II.  Sealing Certificate for the coffin
        III. Embalming Certificate, where applicable
        IV. Coffin Export Permit from the country exporting the body
        V. Air Waybill (Air Consignment Note) if by air

If the application is by the funeral director, the Permit to Cremate/Bury will be granted provided the next-of-kin gives a letter of authorization for the funeral director to apply for the permit.

c) The coffin permit costs $10. The Permit to Bury/Cremate will be issued with the coffin permit at no extra charge.

Note: Prior written approval has to be obtained from the National Environment Agency, Environmental Health Department for the import of a body of an HIV-infected Singapore Citizen

Death Registration
The death will also have to be reported to Singapore 's Registry of Births & Deaths , Citizen Centre, 3rd Storey, ICA Building personally by the next-of-kin of the deceased. If the next-of-kin is unable to report the death personally at ICA Building , a letter of authorization will be required.

Documents Required
        I.   Death Certificate issued by the foreign authorities (copy of English
              translation is required if the death certificate is in ethnic languages)
        II.  Coffin (Import/Export) permit
        III. Permit to Bury/Cremate
        IV. Deceased's Singapore identity card, passport, Citizenship Certificate (if any), and
        V.  Informant's identification documents

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B.

Foreign National

For Cremation

•  Foreigners are allowed to be imported into Singapore for cremation. A Coffin (Import) Permit is required to import a body into Singapore. A funeral director should be able to assist you in the procedures.

•  A Permit to Cremate will also be issued together with the Coffin (Import) Permit. If the application is by the funeral director, the permit will be granted provided the next-of-kin gives a letter of authorization for the funeral director to apply for the permit.

•  Foreigners cremated in Singapore are not entitled to purchase niches in government - operated columbaria. They may however purchase niches at private columbaria.

For Burial

•  Foreigners are allowed to be imported into Singapore for burial only if the immediate next-of-kin is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident. NEA does not approve the import of foreigners to Singapore for burial due to the limited size of its burial grounds.

•  A Coffin (Import) Permit is required to import a body into Singapore. A funeral director should be able to assist you in the procedures.

•  A Permit to Bury will also be issued together with the Coffin (Import) Permit. If application is by the undertaker, the permit will be granted provided the next-of-kin gives a letter of authorization for the undertaker to apply for the permit.

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