Do When Death Occurs
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When a death occurs in your family, you will be faced with
important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time. You may
not know what to do or when to begin making arrangements. Bearing the
responsibility can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone. We
have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you
will need to take when a death has occurred. Your funeral director will
help coordinate all of the details when you meet for an arrangement
After a death has occurred, notify the funeral home of your
choice. The following are some questions that they may ask when you call:
What is the full name of the deceased?
What is the location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing
Facility or Residence)?
What is your name, address and telephone number?
What is the name, address and phone number of the
Are they a member of the Lynden Burial Society?
They will most likely then set an appointment time for you
to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral
arrangement. They will ask you to bring in some items and information that
will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items may include:
Clothing for the deceased
Social security number of the deceased
The deceased's birth date and city and state of birth
The deceased's parents names, including mother's maiden
Information about the deceased's education
Marital status of the deceased
Veteran's discharge papers or Claim Number
A recent photograph of the deceased
Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
The funeral home will assist you in determining the number
of the death certificates that you
will need and will order them for you.
Secure the deceaseds home and property.
Arrange for the care of any pets if applicable
Cancel paper delivery and stop mail if applicable
Contact your clergy. Decide on a time and place for the
funeral or memorial service.
Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and
notify each by phone. You may wish to use a "branching" system: make a few
phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a
phone call or two to specific people.
Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made
(church, hospice, library, organization, school).
Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place
of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held,
military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the
immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The
funeral home may offer to write or edit the obituary and submit it to the
If Social Security checks are deposited automatically,
notify the bank of the death.
Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next
Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning,
food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help.
Arrange for child care, if necessary.
Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.
Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People
with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers).
Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a
church, hospital or rest home).
Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be
notified by letter and/or printed notice.
Prepare a list of people to receive acknowledgments of
flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a
written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include "thank you"
notes/cards to those who have given their time, as well.
Notify insurance companies of the death.
Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor.
Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death
benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal,
and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources.
Check promptly on all debts and installment payments,
including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel
them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with
creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.
If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility
companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail.
Your Funeral Director should prepare the necessary Social
Locate the following documents, if any, and information.
Note: If the estate is probated, these documents should be
given to the personal representative.
community property agreement
latest financial statements and credit card information
bank account locations and account numbers
safe deposit box, including location and box number (if
the right to access the safe deposit box, keep a careful
record of what was in the box and what you removed from it)
social security card/number
Veterans service number and record
list of employer benefits or retirement benefits
income tax return for the preceding year
vehicle registration and titles
mortgage documents, property deeds
***Be cautious about any person unknown to you who calls or
offers or requests for information. Sadly, scams and cons
can occur at this time.
NOTE: If you are an attorney-in-fact under a power of
attorney, your power to act ends upon the death of the principal.