Funeral Q&A

As you prepare for your own or your loved one’s final farewell, you may have lots of questions that you want to ask. Let us guide you through your queries!

Pre-planningWhen Death OccursCasketWake LocationsDressing & EmbalmingCeremonies & RitualsObituaryPost-funeralItem Rental
How many days should the wake be?

On average, wakes in Singapore last for 3 to 7 days. You can consider some factors to help you decide on the duration of the wake. These include your budget and whether there are family members who will be flying in from abroad to attend the wake.

What should I do if my loved one passed away overseas?

Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident

The body of a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident may be brought back to Singapore for cremation or burial with a Coffin (Import) Permit. Please engage a funeral director to assist you with the application procedures.

Though the death occurred overseas, it must also be reported to Singapore’s Registry of Births and Deaths, located at the Citizen Centre, 3rd Storey, ICA Building. This must be done personally by the next-of-kin of the deceased. If the next-of-kin is unable to report the death personally, a letter of authorisation is required.

Documents to bring:

  1. Death Certificate issued by the foreign authorities (an English-translated copy is required if the death certificate is in an ethnic language)
  2. Coffin (Import/Export) Permit
  3. Permit to Bury/Cremate
  4. Deceased’s Singapore identity card, passport, Citizenship Certificate (if any), and
  5. Informant’s identification documents


The body of a foreign national may be imported into Singapore for cremation. However, do note that the ashes of foreigners cremated in Singapore can only be stored in niches at private columbariums, and not government-managed facilities. In order for the body of a foreigner to be imported into Singapore for burial, the immediate next-of-kin must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident.

Whether it’s for cremation or burial, a Coffin (Import) Permit is required. A Permit to Cremate or a Permit to Bury will be issued together with the Coffin (Import) Permit. It’s advisable to engage a funeral director to assist you with the application procedures.

What should I do if my loved one passed away at home?

Contact your loved one’s family doctor or a neighbourhood doctor who’s willing to make a house call. Alternatively, you may call our 24/7 helpline at +65 6555 1115 and we will arrange for a doctor to assist your family.

After the death is certified by a doctor, you will be able to receive a digital death certificate from the My Legacy portal. Once you have the digital death certificate, you may engage a funeral director to see to your loved one’s final journey.

However, if the doctor is unable to certify the death, you will have to call the police to arrange for the body to be sent to the Mortuary@HSA in a police hearse. The police will notify you when to go down to the mortuary, usually the next day.

Can I customise my casket?

Yes, we offer casket customisation services. Please email us at for assistance.

Where can I hold a wake in Singapore?

Here are some locations you can consider:

  1. Void deck
  2. Multi-purpose hall
  3. Precinct pavilion
  4. Funeral parlour
  5. Private/landed property
  6. Place of worship
  7. State land
  8. Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) carpark

If you are holding the wake at a Town Council-managed void deck, multi-purpose hall or pavilion, you will need to obtain a permit from your Town Council.

If you are holding the wake in a private/landed property and need to use part of the road outside, you will need to seek approval from the Land Transport Authority and apply for a Temporary Occupational Licence (TOL) from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). A TOL fee applies. In addition, if there is going to be a road closure due to the wake, you will also need a permit from the Traffic Police.

Similarly, you will need to apply for a TOL from SLA and pay a TOL fee if you wish to use state land.

For a wake to be held in a URA carpark, you will need to apply for the use of parking lots from URA.

Is embalming mandatory?

Embalming is not required by law. However, it’s recommended if you wish to allow for the viewing of your deceased loved one during the wake.

Embalming ensures that the body of your loved one is preserved in its most natural state, allowing guests and family to see your loved one as they were. Without embalming, your loved one’s body condition will change due to Singapore’s hot and humid weather, making it unsuitable for viewing.

Why should I cover all the mirrors at home with red paper?

Death is considered to be a polluting element in Chinese customs. A piece of red cloth or paper is used to cover mirrors and the idols of deities at home to avoid offending them by “exposing” them to death.

Can a pregnant lady attend a wake or funeral?

There’s no hard and fast rule to this. But if you are attending a wake or funeral as a guest, it’s best to check with the bereaved family and your own family as it can be a taboo to some.

How do I place an obituary in the newspapers?

You may make a booking online at or in-person at the office(s) of the publication(s) you would like to place an obituary in. Besides an obituary, a direct cremation notice can also be arranged. For more information on placing an obituary, please visit the National Environment Agency website.

Where can I store my loved one’s ashes?

You may store your loved one’s ashes at either a government-managed or private columbarium. There are two government-managed columbariums in Singapore: Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex, as well as Choa Chu Kang Columbarium. Bookings for these columbariums can be made online or in-person at the respective booking offices.

Do you provide set up and rental of items for the filming of funeral ceremonies?

Yes, we do. Please email us at for assistance.