How to Prepare for a Funeral
From May 2022, there is no need for the public to register a death at a physical counter. The death will be automatically registered once a doctor certifies a death online. A digital death certificate will be issued and it can be retrieved from go.gov.sg/mylegacy-edc
Step 1: Certifying the Death
Doctor certifies the death online and the death is automatically registered. Certifying doctor issues the Death Certificate Number and deceased’s information to the Next-of-Kin to download the digital death certificate.
Step 2: Obtain a Digital Death Certificate
Visit My Legacy to download and save the digital certificate in your personal device for easy access and sharing.
Step 3: Permit for Burial or Cremation
Apply for Permit to Bury/ Cremate at www.eportal.nea.gov.sg
Step 4: Placing an Obituary (optional)
Obituary is a public notice of death through the local newspapers.
Step 5: Arranging the Wake and Funeral
Funerals and wakes are intended for family, friends and acquaintances to pay their respects to the deceased and comfort the bereaved. You can choose to have the wake at your own home, or at the funeral parlour. You could also hold the wake at the void deck. Permissions required include:
- Town Council: To get a permit to hold the wake at the void deck
- National Environment Agency: To extend the funeral wake for more than seven days
- Singapore Land Authority: If you are holding the wake in a private/landed property and need to use the public roads and/or walkways, you will need to apply for a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL)
Your funeral director will organise the logistics for the wake and/or funeral. This includes getting the necessary approvals, setting up the funeral parlour, arrange for prayers, and more. A helpful consumer protection guide by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore on funeral planning is available here.
Step 6: Preparing for Burial or Cremation
You can book a date and time for cremation or burial at the relevant booking office, through the phone, or online. The National Environment Agency details the relevant offices’ contacts and charges involved.
You will need the following documents:
- NRIC of the applicant and next-of-kin
- Original Death Certificate (which contains the Permit to Bury/Cremate)
Step 7: Storage of Ashes/ Scattering the Ashes at Sea
Every family has its own preferences for the ashes of the deceased. There are normally two options:
a) Storing the Ashes
You can store the ashes at home or in a columbarium. There are government-managed columbaria and several private columbaria in Singapore.
To book a niche (a place to store the ashes), you will need your NRIC and the original Death Certificate of your loved one. You can book a niche in a government-managed columbarium online, or contact a private columbarium directly.
b) Scattering the Ashes at Sea
You can scatter the ashes at sea at the approved site 1.5 nautical miles (2.8km) south of Pulau Semakau.
This can be done daily, from 7am to 7pm. Please contact the Port Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325-2488 for assistance on scattering the ashes at sea.
For more information on the practical tasks after death, Singapore Hospice Council’s When a Death Occurs – A Guide to Practical Matters is a useful guide.
Alternatively, you may consider inland ash scattering garden as a new option at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery Complex. The garden is opened from 9am to 5pm daily and each family is allowed two hours to complete the ash scattering and rites, with fees incurred. For more information, find out more on NEA’s website.
Here are more resources related to end-of-life.
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