When Death Occurs

Whether a death is sudden or expected, the loss of a loved one is indescribable. When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering. This section seeks to guide you through the immediate hours following a passing.

When death occurs at home or a place of business:

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and will place the call to the coroner or medical examiner.  From there, the coroner or medical examiner will remove the body and determine whether further action is necessary.  The coroner or medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative, and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

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

The staff of a care facility, such as a hospital or 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 passing.  If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased's wishes and set up a time to make arrangements. 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, arrange the cremation service. Funeral directors are there to help you and advise you.

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
  • Social Security Number