Be prepared, for some time, to receive accounts, mail, phone calls or inquiries from people who may not have heard, or whose businesses or groups are slow to remove details from contact lists.
“It never ceases to amaze me, even years later, how letters can still occasionally arrive for him. It always feels so strange.”
“My son received a small bill three months after he died. I went to the post office to pay. The lady at the counter asked me who I was paying it for. I said ‘my son’ - I didn't tell her he’d died. It felt really good to say his name out loud and casually say ‘oh yes, I’m paying his bill’ as if it was a normal thing to do. Inside myself, I knew it was the last time I’d be doing this. No more bills would be arriving."
The following suggestions may help you to develop a list of key people and agencies to contact to help you sort this out. You may need to add others as well. The private papers of the person who has died may help you to make a list of who needs to be contacted. Keep a record of who you contact and their details in case you need these later.
People or groups who may need to be told about the death
People or groups to inform may include:
- wider family, whānau and friends
- their employer, school or educational institution
- the solicitor or lawyer who holds the person’s will. The will may contain instructions for funeral arrangements
- phone and internet companies - they can arrange for the service to be permanently disconnected or transferred to someone else
- banks – cancel automatic and direct debit payments and bank cards
- credit card companies – cancel cards
- home or business loan companies and others money may be owed to, e.g. student loans
- landlord, rental agreements, leases
- Inland Revenue
- any other government agencies the person was linked to, e.g. Work and Income, ACC, the Corrections Department or Oranga Tamariki
- the Electoral Enrolment Centre
- insurance companies, and any local or overseas commitments, e.g. property investment companies, superannuation funds
- a Māori trustee or Māori land court if Māori land has been held in the person’s name
- any community organisation or people who had regular contact with the person, e.g. their doctor, medical centre, primary health organisation (PHO), dentist, other health professionals, accountant, car service, AA, church, marae, cultural centre, hobby groups, clubs or teams etc
- car registration and driver’s license – call 0800 822 422 to cancel or visit the NZTA website
- passport – free phone 0800 22 50 50 to cancel, or go to the Passports website
- New Zealand Post – when you are ready to cancel mail
- cancel subscriptions or memberships, e.g. newspapers, magazines, gym memberships
- social media accounts - you might want to close, deactivate or memorialise their Facebook or Instagram
- ensure any responsibilities are handed over to appropriate others, e.g. for pets, animals or volunteer positions.
Getting financial assistance
After a suicide, some people find their life situations change significantly, such as after the death of a sole income-earning partner. If you now need income support, or assistance to find work, Work and Income can help you.
Work and Income may also be able to provide financial help with funeral costs.
To contact Work and Income for the first time, or if you have a question about existing support they are providing, phone or drop into your local Work and Income service centre, call 0800 559 009 or visit Work and Income’s website.
In some instances, ACC may also be able to assist with financial help for funeral costs.