Before funerals at funeral homes, there are several things that need to be done after loved ones die. You may have never experienced a death personally, or you may have never had the responsibility of taking care of things after a loved one dies. So, you may not know what steps you need to take after your loved one dies.
The first thing you need to do after your loved one dies is to report the death to the proper people so the death certification process can begin. Death certificates are the joint work of a doctor (or coroner) and a funeral director. You will need several copies of the death certificate to settle your loved one’s estate and handle things like bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, and insurance.
If your loved one died at a hospital, in a nursing facility, or under hospice care, the staff there will help you through the notification process and they will begin to complete the death certificate.
If you have already talked with the funeral home, contact them to notify them of your loved one’s death. They can help get the process underway.
If you don’t know who to call about your loved one’s death, then call 911. You need to make sure that you give them the funeral home information so that your loved one’s body can be claimed for final disposition.
Next, if your loved one died in the hospital, an assisted living facility, or a nursing facility, you will need to clean out their possessions. Although you may not feel like doing this right away, you may face steep charges from the assisted living or nursing facility after your loved one’s insurance has been discontinued if their things are still in their room.
You will work closely with the funeral home for a significant portion of time after your loved one dies. If your loved one died in a hospital or hospice care, the hospital or hospice agency will contact the funeral home for you.
However, if your loved one died in an assisted living or nursing facility, you will be responsible for contacting the funeral home to transport your loved one’s body to the funeral home. Most of these facilities will give you only a short window of time to make these arrangements.
When the funeral home personnel arrive to transport your loved one’s body to the funeral home, they will usually suggest a time (within 24 hours) for you to come to the funeral home to meet with the funeral director to make final arrangements for your loved one.
If you have already been in touch with the funeral home, you may have already begun making final arrangements for your loved one. If you have not been in touch with the funeral home, then you’ll need to decide whether your loved one should be cremated or buried and what type of funeral service should be held for your loved one.
Be sure to bring your loved one’s important documents with you when you meet with the funeral director. These include your loved one’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree (if applicable), Social Security card, and military discharge papers (DD-214) if you want military honors presented at their funeral or memorial service.
The funeral director will guide you through planning the funeral or memorial service and will take care of making all the necessary arrangements, including writing the obituary, getting permits, and coordinating logistics.
Be sure to notify family members, clergy members, close friends, and employers (if applicable) of your loved one’s death as soon as possible after your loved one’s death.
If you need help planning funerals at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you.