When Death Occurs
You and your family must make many decisions and gather numerous facts and documents when a death occurs. We realize this is a very difficult time and want you to know we are here to help. Following is some information we hope you find helpful as you take care of your loved one’s final arrangements.
Notification of the Proper Authorities: When a death occurs in a care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, the professional staff will notify you and the necessary authorities. If a loved one was in the care of a hospice program, a hospice representative may give family members instructions and procedures to follow. In other situations, such as when a death occurs at home or in the workplace, a family member or co-worker should contact emergency personnel and the person’s physician if he or she was under a doctor’s care.
Contacts you should also make: One of the first phone calls you will need to make is to contact us at the funeral home. We are experienced professionals who can provide important information and guidance. Call or contact other family members and friends. Call clergy or other spiritual advisors. If your loved one wanted to be an organ donor, inform the hospital staff or the organization to receive the donations.
The Death Certificate: A death certificate is a legal document signed by the attending physician indicating the cause of death and other vital statistics pertaining to the decedent. We will prepare and file the death certificate with the state and purchase the certified copies you want. Certified copies are needed to apply for benefits due the family, to sell or transfer ownership of property, to gain access to safety deposit boxes and bank accounts as well as dealing with many of the legal requirements that surround a death. We may be able to provide you additional copies at a later time, or you may choose to order them directly from the county or state agency responsible for vital statistics.
Your First Call to the Funeral Home: A phone call to the funeral home lets us know that a death has occurred. You may ask us any questions at that time and be able to discuss the details of your memorialization choices in detail later when we meet in person. During this phone call, we will gather information to be enable us to transport your loved one to the funeral home. We will also ask you several questions, including whether you choose to have embalm your loved one and if there are any documented plans for memorialization events and disposition. We will schedule a date and time for us to meet with you and let you know what you should bring with you. (A checklist of items is provided in the next section.)
First Visit to the Funeral Home: When we meet, we will guide you through the entire planning process and explain how you can create a memorable personal celebration of your loved one’s life. The planning process may include: preparing the death certificate; scheduling the location, date and time of all memorialization events; selecting the names of the persons who will preside or otherwise participate at these events and prepare any desired obituaries. In addition, you may be: selecting a casket, urn or other memorialization merchandise; signing necessary authorizations or making arrangements to have them signed by the appropriate family members.
This would also be a good time to bring with you any photos, music or memorabilia so that we can discuss how you would like them incorporated into the upcoming memorialization events. Today, more and more people are choosing to personalize memorialization events. A favorite song, a favorite gathering place, even a favorite activity can all become part of an event. We will listen and assist you in planning a loving tribute that captures the spirit of the person whose life you wish to honor. To learn more about personalizing the service, please refer to the ‘tell your story’ page of this web site. We will also discuss personalization with you during the planning conference.
The following checklist will help you remember what information about the decedent and items will be needed when meeting with us.
- Full legal name and any nick names of the deceased.
- Their Social Security number.
- The deceased’s home address.
- Their date of birth.
- Their place of birth.
- Their father’s name.
- Their mother’s maiden name.
- Their race and ethnic background.
- Their highest education level.
- The schools they attended, years of attendance and years of graduation.
- Their veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214).
- The name of their spouse(s).
- The date(s) and place(s) of each marriage(s).
- The date(s) and place(s) of each spouse’s death.
- The deceased’s occupation(s) and the dates (or time span) of each occupation.
- The industry in which that occupation was plied.
- The names of employer(s), date(s) and place(s).
- Lodges, clubs and associations the deceased belonged to.
- Hobbies and interests of the deceased.
- Names of those preceding the deceased in death.
- The names of survivors and their spouses (name, residence and relationship).
- Do you prefer memorials to flowers.
- Should memorials be directed to a particular fund or charity.
- Any other information relevant to the obituary.
- Preferred place of memorialization events.
- The name and phone number(s) of the presider of each event.
- The name(s) and phone number(s) of bearers.
- The name(s) and phone number(s) of other participants.
- The planned place of interment or other disposition.
- A recent photograph, any other photos and memorabilia to be used.
- The clothing that the deceased will be wearing.
- Glasses, jewelry, wig and/or prosthesis.
- Any documents indicating memorialization preferences.
- Insurance policies
Remember that cremation is only one body preparation option and that there may be a visitation and/or funeral ceremony prior to the cremation just as there may be a gathering and memorial service with or without an urn present before or after the cremation.
If your memorialization plan includes interment (of the entire body or the cremated remains), you will need to select a grave space, lawn crypt or mausoleum space and a cemetery memorial.
Any memorialization event may, of course include a display of photos and other memorabilia items that illustrate the life of your loved one. You may also choose memorialization options at the cemetery. These options include: dove releases, military honors for veterans, to name but two. We can explain the options available to you at the planning conference.
Feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have, or to set an appointment to begin the process of pre planning your service or the service of a loved one. In addition to the ways of reaching us listed on the ‘Contact Us’ page of this web site, you may also reach us by e-mail at: MMountain@centurytel.net, or MountainFuneralHome@yahoo.com.