Complete Guide To Funeral Planning

There are several things that will demand your attention when planning a funeral.

Here we have laid out a complete guide for you, but it is highly recommended that you pre-plan to ensure you cover all bases with the proper time and attention that your final send-off deserves.

Some important documents are best kept in a properly recorded file in preparation for a funeral planning:

1. All medical documents

2. List of prescribed medications (for maintenance or otherwise)

3. Discharge summaries from hospitals

4. Identification documents

Step 1. Certify The Cause Of Death

Death In The Hospital: If your loved one passed away in a hospital in Singapore, the Certificate of Cause of Death will be issued at no charge. Families can seek assistance from ward nurses and/or other medical personnel available to obtain the CCOD.

Death In The Hospital: If your loved one passed away in a hospital in Singapore, the Certificate of Cause of Death will be issued at no charge. Families can seek assistance from ward nurses and/or other medical personnel available to obtain the CCOD.

Raffles Medical Group – Tel: 6311 1555

Speedoc – Tel: 8180 8948

MW Medical – Tel: 6250 0625


Digital death certificates may be issued and used to directly apply for a Permit to Bury/Cremate at the National Environment Agency (NEA)’s e-Services website – ePortal ( You may also authorise a separate person or entity like a funeral service provider/director to apply for said permit.

Cannot Certify Cause of Death?

Call the police for the body to be transported to the Mortuary @ HSA (Singapore General Hospital, Block 9). Future investigation as to the cause of death will be carried out there which may result in an autopsy. The family will be duly notified of the progress as well as when to go to the mortuary to retrieve the body.

Step 2. Engage A Funeral Service Provider/Director

It is the duty of the funeral service/director to retrieve the body (from home or from the mortuary), transport it for embalming if necessary, and drop it off at the wake location.

What to look out for when choosing a Funeral Service Provider/Director:

1. Language - choose a bilingual director or funeral service representative if your family requires

2. Pre-planning option - good FSPs and directors will help you save money by providing a funeral pre-planning route

3. Provision of ancillary services - you may need extra funeral assistance such as overseas transportation, so it's best to ensure your FSP/director covers all bases

Step 2. Engage A Funeral Service Provider/Director

Once the previous step is sorted out, the two main items of note will be the (1) duration of the memorial service and the (2) casket/urn type. These two will be the biggest factors for the total funeral cost

The duration of memorial services varies for many reasons. Some families may choose a 2-day service to cut costs, Muslims send off their loved ones the very next day as is their tradition, and other families may have as long as a 4 or 5-day wake. Religion and personal family traditions will play a role in the wake duration.

As for the casket/urn type, the design, size, and colour will all be put into consideration.

You may choose from caskets made of lightwood, hardwood, or an eco-casket (made of recycled material to be environmental-friendly); urns may be made of marble, wood,

or other materials.

Here is a list of some casket and urn providers in Singapore:

1. Singapore Casket -

2. Simplicity Casket -

3. Casket FairPrice -

Other considerations for holding a funeral service are:

  • Type of memorial service (Buddhist, Catholic, etc.)
  • Location of memorial service
  • Reception and catering arrangements
  • Embalming and make-up services
  • Encoffin items and prayer materials
  • Parlour and altar set-ups
  • Reception table set-up (condolence money box, memorial book, signage)
  • Miscellaneous set-up (tables and chairs, carpet, curtains, fans/air cooler/air conditioning unit)
  • Floral arrangements
  • Souvenirs (optional)

Step 4. Publish An Obituary

Another act of respect you would need to do is to publish an obituary. This may be done through newspapers or online.

Doing this step helps disseminate information regarding the passing away of your loved one, and will help in increasing the number of people who may attend the wake as well as the final send-off.

Print obituaries in newspapers are available through Singapore Press Holdings on a per column centimetre each day of publication basis. You can also opt for a digital obituary

such as The Beautiful Memories ( which can be

looked up online.

Step 5. Final Send-Off

An individual's final send-off may be in the form of a burial or a cremation.

Burial: The preservation of the complete body can only be done through land or crypt burials. All burials will require a casket, which can be made of either lightwood (more affordable) or hardwood (more expensive).

Cremation: Cremations may be performed by private institutions or by government-run places. Urn types should also be decided when opting for cremation (metal, wood, ceramic, glass, or cast bronze)

The location of an individual's final resting place should also be taken into consideration. Families may decide among the following:

  • At Home
  • Columbarium
  • Scattered At Desired Location

Step 6. Post-Funeral Preparation

Even after a final send-off, there are preparations to be made that are specific to each religion and nationality. The Chinese, for example, believe that souls come back every after 7 days and traditionally, prayers are conducted every 7 days for the soul of the departed, until the 49th day.

Last will and testament

It is recommended that a lawyer be engaged when dealing with a deceased's last will and testament. It is no daunting task, as the document may not stand up to some legal challenges.

Pre-planning can help you draw up a will before the inevitable, one that is sound and secure. For more information on pre-planning, click here: Pre-Planning

Executing a will after the death of the testator (the person who made the will) can be made possible through a legal arrangement called Lasting Power of Attorney. It allows a trusted individual to "act on behalf of the appointor, especially when the latter has lost the capacity to make rational decisions" (source: This prevents outside forces from potentially abusing the deceased's assets.

All these steps may seem daunting but you need not be overwhelmed. What's important is that families come together in harmony and without conflict to handle all these steps to respect the one who passed away. Nirvana has several funeral packages that cater to all odds and ends families will need, even before an inevitable death occurs.

Nirvana Memorial Garden

950 Old Choa Chu Kang Road

Singapore 699816

Tel: +6598340005


Nirvana Memorial Garden

950 Old Choa Chu Kang Road

Singapore 699816

Tel: +6598340005


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