What To Do When Death Occurs
- Make an appointment with one of our funeral homes:
- Contact your clergy. Decide on time and place of funeral or memorial service. This can be done at the funeral home.
- The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates you will be needing and will order them for you.
- Make a list of immediate family, close friends and employer or business colleagues. Notify each by phone.
- Decide on appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, charity or school).
- Gather obituary information, including age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service , outstanding work , list of survivors in immediate family and time and place of services. The funeral home will normally write the article and submit to newspapers (newspaper will accept picture and they will be returned intact).
- Arrange for members of family or close friends to take turns answering door or phone, keeping careful record of calls.
- If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death.
- Coordinate the supplying of food for the next several days.
- Consider special needs of the household, such as cleaning , etc., which might be done by friends.
- Arrange for child care, if necessary.
- Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.
- Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (Avoid anyone with heart or back difficulties , or make them honorary pallbearers).
- Plan for disposition of flowers after funeral (church, hospital or rest home)
- Prepare list of distant persons to be notified by letter and/or printed notice, and decide which to send to each.
- Prepare list of persons to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments (can be written note, printed acknowledgments, or some of each). Include "thank you's" to those who have given their time as well.
- Notify insurance companies.
- Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.
- Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits , including Social Security, credit union , trade union, fraternal, and military. Check also on income for survivors from these sources.
- 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.
- If deceased was living alone, notify utilities and landlord and tell post office where to send mail.
- Funeral Director will prepare Social Security Form SSA 721. Check with Social Security to see that number is retired.