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After a death has been reported

Many things will happen very quickly in the days following a reportable death.

Find out who may be contacting you and what they will be asking.

For more information download the Coroners Process - Information for Families and Friends booklet, or the What happens now? brochure.

Returning personal possessions to you

Personal possessions – such as jewellery, clothing and other valuables – are sometimes removed and left with family if they are present at the place of death. Occasionally, the police may keep some items for forensic examination.

Otherwise, personal items that accompany the deceased person are given to the funeral director nominated by the family.

Keeping updated on the investigation

The coronial process involves a few organisations who work closely to make the investigation as timely and as easy as possible for you.

We will regularly update the senior next of kin through an investigation.

If you are a family member but not the senior next of kin, you can apply to be an interested party. This means you will be able to access information on the investigation.

Contact Births, Deaths and Marriages for a death certificate

You or your funeral director can order a standard death certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The Coroners Court of Victoria does not issue death certificates. In matters where the coroner has not yet established the cause of death, Births, Deaths and Marriages can issue an interim death certificate.

Establishing cause of death

If you are senior next of kin, we will send you the Medical Examination Report. This report may take up to several months, but sometimes longer.

Other family members may request this document too.

Balancing a thorough investigation with a timely one

Unfortunately, timely investigations are not always possible.

How long we take to fully investigate a matter depends on the complexity of the case. There may be criminal proceedings or other investigations that need to occur before a coronial investigation can be finalised.

If an inquest is held

Inquests are only held for a small number of investigations.

You may choose to have a legal representative to help you understand and participate in the process. If you aren’t represented, the coroner and counsel assisting or coroner’s assistant will help guide you through the inquest.

Court Network volunteers can attend with you to provide support.

What to expect when an investigation is finalised

If you are senior next of kin or an interested party, we will let you know when the coroner is ready to deliver their finding. The finding will establish what happened and – in some cases – why. They do not apportion blame or find guilt.

Read more about investigation outcomes.

Registering concerns regarding medical treatment or care

Some families may have concerns regarding the medical treatment or care their loved one received.  

Which organisation is most appropriate for your concerns? is a publication that provides advice to families on the role of the coroner, common concerns regarding health and medical treatment and to which organisations to direct those concerns. 

More information

To help you understand the coronial process, please download the Coroners Process booklet, or the What happens now? brochure.

Last updated on 12 Sep 2023