A Death has Occurred
If you were present during the final moments in a loved one’s life, then you’ve been fortunate. We believe that while nothing prepares you for being present at the death of a loved one, bearing witness to the death of a loved one can bring new insights into your own capacity for selfless love and caring, help you to renew or intensify bonds with other family members, find a new respect for siblings, or help in the healing of old emotional wounds. It is a priceless gift – but it’s one you may not truly value until much later.
So, Who Do You Call First?
When someone dies, what you do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When the death occurs in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of contacting the funeral home you choose, but we recommend that you call the funeral home as well.
If your loved one was on Hospice Care and passes away at home; the first call should be to your Hospice Care Provider. They will let you know when they will be over to the house. Your next call would be to the funeral home. Be sure to let the funeral home know when the Hospice Nurse will be arriving so that he/she is is given time to complete her obligations.
If your loved one passes away at home unexpectedly, your first phone call should be to Emergency Services. The police and/or the ambulance will respond to your call. The police will call The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and your loved one's Doctor to report the unexpected passing. Once they obtain permission from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to release your loved one into the care of a funeral home - the police will call the funeral home.
One of the first calls you will make should be to a licensed Funeral Director. We 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
Help notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks
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'll 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 then 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 click here or contact us.