What to do when a death occurs
Handling the death of a loved one is never an easy task. We’ve put together some of the important information you’ll need to make the initial decisions, reach out to the appropriate people, and begin the process of designing your loved one’s final farewell. Remember that, as you begin to cope with your loss, it’s often a good idea to enlist the help and support of a trusted friend in making the necessary arrangements.
If you have any questions about your next steps, the options available to you, or what the funeral arrangement process will entail, we’d be honored to walk you through this information in more detail and answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us for anything you might need.
When a death occurs at home or in the workplace, you’ll need to contact emergency personnel or your loved one’s physician if he or she was under medical care. If no one else was present when the death occurred, you’ll also need to notify the police before the deceased is moved to a secondary location.
When a death occurs while your loved one is in a hospital, care facility or hospice program, the professional staff will notify you and contact the appropriate authorities. If you’ve already given them the name of a funeral home, the facility will contact them as well.
The next steps involve registration of the death, and the processes and documentation involved depend upon the circumstances. The professionals you’ve contacted will help to guide you through obtaining a medical certificate and the appropriate registration procedures.
If you’re ever unsure of whom you should notify or what your next steps should be, please call us for assistance in determining the appropriate course of action for your particular situation.
Within the First Few Days
After you’ve taken care of the initial necessary arrangements, you’ll want to notify friends and relatives of the death. If it is too painful for you to do this yourself, it’s absolutely okay for a trusted friend to make the call in your place. Now is the time to review any prearranged wishes or plans your loved one may have put in place, and meet with the professionals at your chosen funeral home to discuss your options and begin designing a funeral. You’ll also write a death notice or obituary to notify those in the community of your loved one’s passing.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have about what you need to do, even if your concerns aren’t directly related to the funeral. We’re well-versed in all topics relating to the loss of a loved one, and we’d be honored to provide you with answers, advice, and guidance in your time of need.
A Network of Support
Your initial call with our funeral director will allow us to inquire about any prearrangements and gather the information we need to transport your loved one to the funeral home, but you can also feel free to ask any questions you may have and resolve any of your initial concerns. At later meetings you’ll be able to discuss your arrangements in greater detail, but we’re always available in your time of need to provide emotional support, a sympathetic ear, and careful guidance.
Know that, during your time of loss, your greatest resource will be loved ones who want to offer their assistance in any way they can. We encourage you to get in touch with relatives, neighbors, friends, clergy members or other spiritual advisors, and other trusted members of your community. They are often more than happy to prepare food, look after children, help with arrangements, or simply offer a kind word and open arms.
What If There Aren’t Any Prearrangements?
If your loved one has not specified any arrangements or preferences beforehand, there are some initial questions you will likely need to answer when you consult with your funeral home:
- Should I choose embalming?
- Do I need to purchase a casket?
- Will I care for my loved one’s physical remains through burial or cremation?
- What sort of funeral or memorial service should I plan?
- Are there any religious traditions or customs I need to plan for? Should I engage the services of a clergy member or spiritual leader?
These questions are just a starting point, and you don’t need to know the answers right away. Start thinking about your decisions, and contact us to gain a better understanding of your options and discuss what might be the most appropriate solution for your situation. We’re here to make this process easier for you, and we can start by making sure that you have all of the information and guidance you’ll need.
What to Expect When You Meet With Us
When you meet with a member of our staff to discuss your arrangements, we’ll first provide you with a general price list to give you a basic idea of what our services cost. We’ll then walk you through the entire arrangement process, and ask you about your loved one to gain an understanding of the person the services will honor. Use this time to communicate your ideas and preferences, share your loved one’s life story, revisit memories and highlight their accomplishments. Our professionals will use this information to guide you in the creation of a personalized, meaningful celebration of your loved one’s unique journey.
This process may include:
- Preparing and filing the official death certificate
- Scheduling the services and events (including the location, date, and time)
- Selecting a casket, urn, or other products you may need
- Drafting an obituary
- Arranging necessary transportation
- Selecting pallbearers
To help express your loved one’s personality and life story, feel free to bring any memorabilia – like photos, videos, music, crafts, or treasured items – that might give us a better understanding of how you envision paying tribute to your loved one. Even if you’re not sure how a particular aspect of their life might be incorporated, don’t hesitate to ask; we can often make unique suggestions on a way to add that element as a special touch to their service.
We’d like to make this process as smooth and stress-free for you as we can, and you can come prepared for your meeting by making sure that you have the following information about your loved one on hand when you meet with our professionals to discuss your arrangements:
- Full legal name & home address
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Father’s name
- Mother’s maiden name
- Veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214), if applicable
- Highest education
- Chosen place of burial, if applicable
- Clergy name and phone number, if applicable
- Names and relationships of survivors
- Insurance policy information, if applicable
**Please also bring a recent photograph and any clothing you’d like us to use when dressing when dressing them for the service.**