Serving Families Since 1906

What to do when a Death Occurs

There are several things that need to be considered when a death occurs. The order in which things need to be done usually depends on where the death occurred.

Hospice

Today a large number of people choose to be at home with Hospice or a Home Health Care provider assisting the family until the death occurs. Usually the family will notify Hospice of the provider and Hospice will notify the proper people in the correct order. They will contact the physician, the Medical Examiner's office, and they will call the funeral home. The Medical Examiner's office needs to be notified to all deaths that occur in a home. With Hospice or a Home Health Care Provider involved, a simple phone call is the only notification that the Medical Examiner needs. The Medical Examiner will not need to come to the residence to review any information.

Licensed Medical Facility

If the death occurs at a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation or foster care facility, the staff at the facility will ask the next of kin to name a funeral home to work with. When the facility's standard procedures have been completed, they will contact the funeral home. The funeral home will respond and, at the next practical time, review matters with the family.

Other Location

If Hospice or a Home Health Care Provider is not involved, but the person is under a physicians care, and family or friends are present, the family may want to call the funeral home directly.  If 911 is called and an ambulance responds, the ambulance crew will notify the police who will respond to the residence. The officer responding will contact the Deputy Medical Examiner. The deputy will determine if further investigation is necessary.

  • If the death occurs in a residence and no one is there at the time of death, the police will need to be notified and respond to the residence before the deceased is removed from the home.
  • If in any case the death should occur and you are not sure of who to notify or what to do, you may call your funeral home and they will assist you in notifying the proper agencies.

There are several other questions that you may have in regards to the death of your loved one, such as, “do I have to have embalming?”, “do I need to purchase a casket?”, “what about cemetery arrangements?”, “does the family have a minister?”, “do we want cremation, visitation,. . . ?”    By contacting Rose City Funeral Home, we will be able to help answer your questions and assist in making the appropriate plans. However, one of the best ways to make sure that all of your questions and desires are taken care of is to make pre-arrangements. This is as simple as outlining your wishes to having all of the details written down and the financial arrangements prepaid.  Please contact one of our staff to learn more.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


The funeral home will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery.

  • Bring the following information to complete the State vital statistic requirements:
    • Birth Date
    • Birthplace
    • Father's Name
    • Mother's Name
    • Social Security Number
    • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number
    • Education
    • Marital Status
  • Contact your clergy. Decide on time and place of funeral or memorial service. This can be done at the funeral home.
  • The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates you will be needing and can order them for you.
  • Make a list of immediate family, close friends and employer or business colleagues. Notify each by phone.
  • Decide on appropriate memorial to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, charity or school).
  • Gather obituary information you want to include such as age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service , outstanding work, list of survivors in immediate family. Include time and place of services. The funeral home will normally write article and submit to newspapers (newspaper will accept picture and they will be returned intact).
  • Arrange for members of family or close friends to take turns answering door or phone, keeping careful record of calls. If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death.

If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that’s perfectly acceptable. Your funeral director will come when your time is right.

Burial in a casket is the most common method of disposing of remains in the United States, although burial also occurs. Cremation is increasingly selected because it can be less expensive and allows for the memorial service to be held at a more convenient time in the future when relatives and friends can come together.

A funeral service followed by cremation need not be any different from a funeral service followed by a burial. Usually, cremated remains are placed in urn before being committed to a final resting place. The urn may be buried, placed in an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, or interred in a special urn garden that many cemeteries provide for cremated remains. The remains may also be scattered, according to state law.

Viewing is a part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

The Federal Trade Commission says, "Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial."

When compared to other major life events like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.

Additionally, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist.

It really depends entirely on how you wish to commemorate a life. One of the advantages of cremation is that it provides you with increased flexibility when you make your funeral and cemetery arrangements. You might, for example, choose to have a funeral service before the cremation; a memorial service at the time of cremation or after the cremation with the urn present; or a committal service at the final disposition of cremated remains. Funeral or memorial services can be held in a place of worship, a funeral home or in a crematory chapel.

With cremation, your options are numerous. The cremains can be interred in a cemetery plot, i.e., earth burial, retained by a family member, usually in an urn, scattered on private property, or at a place that was significant to the deceased. (It would always be advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.)

Today, there are many different types of memorial options from which to choose. Memorialization is a time-honored tradition that has been practiced for centuries. A memorial serves as a tribute to a life lived and provides a focal point for remembrance, as well as a record for future generations. The type of memorial you choose is a personal decision. The limit is set only by your imagination.

You might choose ground burial of the urn. If so, you may usually choose either a bronze memorial or monument. Alavailable at many cemeteries are cremation niches in columbariums. They offer the beauty of a mausoleum setting with the benefits of above ground placement of remains. Many cemeteries also offer scattering gardens. This area of a cemetery offers the peacefulness of a serene garden where family and friends can come and reflect.

If you wish to have your ashes scattered somewhere, it is important to discuss your wishes to be scattered ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the cremation ashes scattering ceremony, as they might want to let your funeral professional assist in the scattering ceremony. Funeral directors can also be very helpful in creating a meaningful and personal ash scattering ceremony that they will customize to fit your families specific desires. The services can be as formal or informal as you like. Scattering services can also be public or private. Again, it is advisable to check for local regulations regarding scattering in a public place-your funeral director can help you with this.

Yes — Depending upon the cemetery's policy, you may be able to save a grave space by having the cremains buried on top of the casketed remains of your spouse, or utilize the space provided next to him/her. Many cemeteries allow for multiple cremated remains to be interred in a single grave space.

Uncertainty about income tax issues can add to the stress experienced from the death of a spouse. You should meet with your family attorney and/or tax advisor as soon as possible to review your particular tax and estate circumstances. Before this meeting, it's a good idea to order and read the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publications that are listed at the end of this article. Bring a detailed list of your questions to the meeting. If you do not have an attorney or tax advisor, call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 for answers to specific tax questions.

There are a few options available:

  • Determine if the deceased person qualifies for any entitlements. Check with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and with your State Fund. Many people are entitled to get financial assistance with their funeral costs from these agencies if they qualify.
  • Review all insurance policies the deceased person has; including life insurance. Some life insurance policies have coverage clauses for funeral related costs
  • Find local charities providing financial help for funeral expenses. Search for non profit organizations and for churches in your area.
  • Talk to your funeral director about cremation options- these can be much less expensive depending on your choices.

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