What to Do
When Someone Close to You Passes:
No matter how prepared we think we are – or aren’t, a loved one’s death often leaves us shocked and confused, both of which can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can seem overwhelming. If you are responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, you may need the help of a trusted family member or friend.
Making the first phone calls
If the person dies in a hospital or medical facility, most likely the staff will take care of calling the funeral home of your choice. If the person dies at home or at work, the first call would be to 911 unless the person is under hospice care, then that should be your first call, then the police. If a person dies without a physician or medical personnel present, the death must be reported to the police for a coroner’s examination. After the coroner’s examination the body can then be transferred to the morgue or the funeral home.
You will need to call family and friends. Some find it easier to call a few close family members and friends and request that each of them make a few phone calls to others of your choice, so the burden of telling the news isn't all on you. If you are alone, call a close family or friend to keep you company in these first hours.
Call a funeral director
Whatever the circumstances of death, one of your first calls should be to a licensed funeral director. He or she may help you:
- obtain a death certificate
- locate the pre-need grave or mausoleum space
- or help you to select mausoleum, columbarium or an in ground, final disposition place of rest
- select a casket, urn and/or grave marker
- arrange the funeral, memorial and/or burial service
- prepare the obituary
- help you to notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks
- offer grief support or direct you to other resources
If the deceased did not preplan his or her funeral, you should consult with family and friends for recommendations for a local funeral home. The funeral director will be of great help to you in regard to all of the above.
Other Helpful Sections:
Dealing With Grief