What do we do when a death occurs?


When a loved one passes away, the many tasks that are necessary can be very overwhelming. Below are some common questions that families have when they begin the process of arranging a funeral. If your question or concern is not addressed here, please contact the funeral home directly.

Who should I notify?

What information should I bring to the arrangement conference?

What if there was a pre-arrangement?

What if the death occurred away from home?

 

Who should I notify?

The first phone calls made upon news of a death will depend on the circumstances. When someone dies in a hospital or other medical care facility, the staff will usually take care of some of the arrangements, such as contacting your funeral home of choice and, if necessary, arranging an autopsy.

You will need to notify family and close friends. It may be easier on you to make just a few phone calls to close relatives and ask them to inform specific people so the burden of spreading news does not rest entirely on you. If you are alone, don’t be afraid to ask someone to keep you company as you make the first phone calls and cope with the first hours after the death.

If a person dies at home or at work, the first call must be made to 911. Any unexpected death occurring without a physician or medical personnel present must be reported to the police and an investigation held. The coroner will examine your loved one then arrange for it to be transported to the morgue for autopsy (if necessary) or to the funeral home.

If your loved one was currently receiving medical care, be sure to notify the doctor. If your loved one was in hospice care, it is not necessary to call 911. You can call the hospice facility directly.

You’ll also need to notify…

The funeral home. A funeral director will arrange for the transportation of your loved one into their care.

What information should I bring to the arrangement conference?

When you first call the funeral home, you will probably answer a few general questions, but most of the details needing to be addressed will be taken care of when you meet with your funeral director. The following is a general list of things you may want to bring with you to the arrangement conference.

  • Vital information about your loved one–date and place of birth and death, parents’ names, names of your loved one's relatives and survivors, Social Security number
  • Highest level of education
  • Occupation
  • Military information including separation or discharge papers (DD-214), if the your loved one was a veteran
  • Any information related to a pre-arrangement, if applicable
  • Place of burial or final disposition if a cemetery plot has been purchased
  • Photographs–one or two recent photographs will be used during the embalming and cosmetizing process
  • Names of clergy or celebrants you wish to involve in the ceremonies
  • Clothing, including undergarments and jewelry or glasses you would like the your loved one to be viewed wearing
  • Records of life insurance policies

What if there was a pre-arrangement?

If your loved one made a pre-arrangement with our funeral home, we’ll have that information on file here for you. We will use the time in the arrangement conference to go over any details that were not yet planned for.

If your loved one pre-arranged their funeral with another funeral home and you wish to transfer that arrangement to us, please let us know as soon as possible. If the funeral has been pre-paid at another funeral home, we can transfer those funds to our funeral home to make sure your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled.

What if the death occurred away from home?

If a death occurs away from home, contact us first. We will find a local funeral home near the place of death and arrange for preparation and transportation of the remains back to our funeral home on your behalf. We can also help coordinate with the other funeral home if you are planning to have a service prior to having the family member returned to your home area.

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