What to Do When Death Occurs
The passing of a loved one can leave you feeling confused, burdened, and overwhelmed with what steps to take next. Remember that you are not alone. Our staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to not only provide assistance and help guide you through this very difficult time, but also to help coordinate all of the details.
Below is a general list of tasks and responsibilities you can expect to deal with when a loved one passes.
Notify the funeral home
After a death has occurred, notify our funeral home by calling one of our locations. We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home and complete the details of the funeral arrangement. You will be asked to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement.
These items will include:
- Clothing for the deceased
- Social security number of the deceased
- The deceased's birth date as well as city and state of birth
- The deceased's parents' names, including mother's maiden name
- Information about the deceased's education
- Marital status of the deceased
- Veteran's discharge papers or Claim Number
- A recent photograph of the deceased
- Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
- Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
Your funeral director will work with you to…
1 Contact your clergy
Your funeral director will assist you in coordinating with clergy to select a time and place for your funeral or memorial service. We offer the option to have the services held at the funeral home.
2 Order death certificates
The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of death certificates you will need and will order them for you as well.
3 Write and place obituaries
Gather obituary information, including:
- place of birth
- place of death
- college degrees
- memberships held
- military service
- outstanding work
- list of survivors in the immediate family
- time and place of the funeral services
- selecting a charity for memorial donations
Other Things You May Need to Consider
Notify family, friends, and business colleagues
Make a list of those each by phone. You may wish to use a "branching" system; make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people.
Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help. Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone (keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on). Arrange for child care, if necessary.
Notify the bank, insurance company, utility companies, lawyer & executor
- If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death.
- Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military (check on possible income for survivors from these sources).
- Be sure to locate the will prior to contacting the lawyer and executor.
- Also, if the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send mail.
Check on finances
Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.
Make visitor arrangements
Arrange accommodations for visiting relatives and friends.
Select service participants
Choose pallbearers and notify the funeral home with the names of those to be involved. People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers.
Keep track of those to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include "thank you's" to those who have given their time, as well.