What to Do When a Death Occurs
When a death occurs, whether it is something that was expected or a sudden loss, it is an extremely emotional and stressful time. Taking care of practical matters, such as what to do when a loved one dies can be overwhelming in the face of heightened emotions. At Stanfill Funeral Home & Cremation, we understand how difficult it can be to make decisions and know what details need to be handled while you are trying to process your grief. We are here to help guide you through this process with compassion and care while you deal with the loss of your loved one.
At Home or at Work
If your loved one passes at home or at work, your first step is to notify the proper authorities. The police should be called, as well as your loved one’s physician or hospice care facility if they were under regular care. Emergency medical personnel will know what to do to determine the time and cause of death and other pertinent information needed for legal purposes. Once the appropriate information is gathered, the deceased can be removed from the home.
While Under Supervised Care
When a loved one dies in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, the staff at the facility will have their own protocol to follow. The facility staff will notify you, the family, and the necessary authorities of the death. If the name of the funeral home has been left with the facility, they will be contacted as well. The funeral director will reach out to you with instructions and questions regarding arrangements and answer any questions you may have at that time.
If your loved one was under hospice care, the representative of hospice will have instructions and procedures for the family to follow. These professionals are well-trained to walk families through this difficult time. Hospice will contact the coroner/medical examiner at the time of death, and once the deceased is released, they will contact the funeral home to make arrangements for transportation.
Informing and Meeting With a Funeral Director
Once everything is cleared up with the authorities, your next step should be to contact a licensed funeral director. The funeral director can assist you with details such as obtaining a death certificate, preparing the funeral services, and burial/interment. It’s best to meet with a funeral director within 24 hours in order to begin to make the arrangements needed for your loved one. While handling the final arrangements may seem overwhelming, the funeral director will guide you every step of the way.
Notifying Proper Authorities
In the event that your loved one passes unattended, it is important that the proper authorities be contacted, including the police and a medical examiner. The authorities will be able to guide you in the proper steps to taking care of your loved one.
File for a Death Certificate
A death certificate is a legal document that identifies the date and cause of death as well as other pertinent data related to the deceased. This document can be used for a variety of purposes regarding the deceased and their assets after death. Your funeral director can help you file for this important document. Some items they will need include:
- Full name
- Marital status
- Date and city of birth
- Father’s name
- Mother’s name (including maiden name)
- Name of spouse (if married or widowed)
- Highest level of education
- Occupation and employer
These details will help the funeral director to file the paperwork for the death certificate.
When you meet with the funeral director, they will walk you through the arrangements for legal paperwork and the funeral service. The funeral director can help with procurement of the death certificate and other legal paperwork. Some items they may need include:
- Account statements
- Beneficiary designations
- Life insurance policies
- Stocks and bond certificates
- Tax returns
- Pre- and post-nuptial agreements
- Copies of bills
If no pre-planning has taken place for funeral arrangements, the funeral director can help walk you through all of the options and details to help you prepare a service for your loved one.
Stanfill Funeral Home & Cremation Is Here to Help
Stanfill Funeral Home & Cremation is a locally-owned funeral home in Lexington, TN. If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, call us at the Stanfill Funeral Home & Cremation. A staff member will be available to guide you.