A Death has Occurred
Who Do You Call First?
What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the funeral home you choose, and if necessary, arranging an autopsy. If the death occurs at home, under hospice care, the hospice nurse must be notified first, before the funeral home is called. If a death occurs at home, without hospice care, your local emergency services (911) must be called.
You – or a designated family member or friend – will need to notify others. We have found it will make it easier on you if just a few phone calls are made to other relatives or friends, where you ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people. In that way, the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you.
And if you are facing this situation alone, then ask a friend or neighbor to keep you company while you make these calls. In that way, you’ll be better able to cope with the first hours after the death.
One of the first calls which should be made is to a licensed Funeral Director. Naturally, we'd like you to call us. But whether you choose to trust one of our funeral professionals to care for your loved one, or select a different funeral home, you should know that the Funeral Director will help you:
Transport the body
Obtain a death certificate
Select a casket, urn and/or grave marker
Arrange the funeral, memorial and/or burial service
Prepare and publish the obituary
Offer grief support
Direct you to other resources
Don’t Forget to Call the Employer
Was your loved one employed? Then, you'll need to call his or her employer immediately, to let them know of the passing, and the resulting change in their staffing arrangements.
At some later point (most likely when the funeral is over), you should ask about the deceased's benefits and any pay, which is owed to them, including vacation or sick time.
Also ask if you or other dependents are still eligible for benefit coverage through the company. And, you might ask whether there is a life insurance policy through the employer, who the beneficiary is, and how to file a claim.
Call the Life Insurance Company
If your loved one had a life insurance policy, locate the related paperwork. Call the agent or the company and ask how to file a claim. Usually the beneficiary (or the beneficiary's guardian, if a minor) must complete the claim forms and related paperwork.
You will need to submit a certified copy of the death certificate and a claimant's statement to establish proof of claim. Remember to ask about payment options. You may have a choice between receiving a lump sum, and the having the insurance company place the money in an interest-bearing account from which you can write checks.
For more information on what's involved with funeral planning contact us.