When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one.  When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.  The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.

When death occurs at home or a place of business

When a death occurs at home or work and the person is under the regular care of a physician it is usually quickly determined that the person may be released to a funeral home.  If a person dies who is not under the care of a physician the police should be notified and they will guide you.  The body is usually released to the Medical Examiner's office who will determine the cause of death likely through an autopsy.  They will then release the body to the funeral home.

A person who dies under the care of Hospice and their representative is not present they should be called immediately.  They will come and guide you through the process if they have not already done so.

You will find it extremely helpful in all of these instances to make a call to the funeral home at first opportunity.  We are used to these situations and are always glad to assist you.

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred.  If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death.  If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements, however, if you are not present a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Informing a Funeral Director

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director.  Funeral directors are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport the body, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.  Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.

Meeting a Funeral Director

You should meet with a funeral director as soon as reasonably possible following a death to begin to make final arrangements for your loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues, and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Information needed at the time of making arrangements

When a death occurs, either locally or away from the area, your first telephone call should be to your local funeral home where the services will be held. Our funeral home can also coordinate with any other funeral home to return your loved one home if the death occurs away from here.

The following will be needed at the time funeral arrangements are made to complete the death certificate and provide obituary information. Please click here to download form.


Home Phone:________________Date of Death________________Time______am/pm

Place of Death:_________________________________________________________

If Facility, Date Admitted:_________________________

Doctor:_______________________________________Medical Record #___________

Social Security Number:_________________________

Date of Birth:________________Place of Birth________________________________

Served in the Armed Forces: Yes/No  Dates:__________________________________


Town, Village or City:________________________________County:_______________

Calling Hours: Date & Day__________________________Time:__________________

Funeral or Memorial Service:______________________________Time:____________





Father:_________________________Mother (Maiden Name)____________________




If deceased, Spouse’s date of death:________________

Usual Occupation:________________________________Type of Business:______________________________

Employer:__________________________________________________Years Employed:____________________

Retirement Date:_______________________

Military Information: Branch___________________________Service #_____________

Dates: Entry__________________________Discharge:_________________________

Medals/Honors Received:_______________________________________________________________________

Other Information:_____________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________(use back for additional information)

If US flag and/or Military service is desired, please bring discharge papers - DD214

Church & Church Organizations:_________________________________________________________________





SURVIVORS: Names, City, & State of Residency





# of Grandchildren__________________# of Great Grandchildren_________________

# of Great Great Grandchildren: _____________________



# of Aunts:_______Uncles:_______Nieces:_______Nephews_______Cousins_______


(Use back for additional information)

Informants Name:_______________________________________________________


Telephone number(s)_____________________________________________________

email address:__________________________________________________________

Photo: Yes/No

Making Arrangements

First the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate.  This includes:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Marital Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Date and City of Birth
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
  • Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
  • Occupation and Employer

If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service.  These include:

  • Scheduling the location, date and time of the visitation and funeral service
  • Selecting burial or cremation
  • Choosing Funeral Products
  • Arranging a cemetery plot
  • Preparing an obituary notice
  • Scheduling transportation arrangements

A funeral director will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favorite sports team?  What was their favorite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.