When Death Occurs
Who Do You Call First?
When death occurs, what you do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When the death occurs in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff usually takes care of some arrangements such as contacting the funeral home you choose and, if necessary, arranging an autopsy.
However, you or a designated family member or friend will need to notify others. We recommend that you only make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask them to make a phone call or two to specific people. That way, the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you.
If you are alone when death occurs, ask a friend or neighbor to keep you company while you make these calls. You will be much better able to cope with the first hours after the death.
One of you first calls should be made to a licensed funeral director. Naturally, we'd like you to call us, but whether or not you choose one of our funeral professionals to care for your loved one or select a different firm, you should know that the funeral director can:
Transport the body
Obtain a death certificate
Offer a cremation casket, urn and/or grave marker
Arrange the memorial service
Prepare and publish the obituary
Help notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company, and banks
Offer grief support
Direct you to other resources
Don’t Forget to Call the Employer
If your loved one was employed, you will need to call his or her employer immediately to let them know of the passing.
At a later date, you should ask about the deceased's benefits and any pay owed to them including vacation or sick time. Also ask if you or other dependents are still eligible for benefit coverage through the company and whether there is a life insurance policy, the beneficiary, and how to file a claim.
Call the Life Insurance Company
If your loved one had a life insurance policy, locate the related paperwork. Call the agent or the company and ask how to file a claim. Usually the beneficiary (or the beneficiary's guardian, if a minor) must complete the claim forms and related paperwork.
You will need to submit a certified copy of the death certificate and a claimant's statement to establish proof of claim. Remember to ask about payment options. You may have a choice between receiving a lump sum or having the insurance company place the funds in an interest-bearing account.
For more information on what's involved when death occurs, don't hesitate to contact us.