What to Do When A Death Occurs
AT HOME WHEN THE PERSON IS NOT UNDER HOSPICE CARE OR SOME PLACE OTHER THAN A HOSPITAL:
Contact the authorities immediately by calling 911. If the person is not under a doctor's care, then most likely in this circumstance an autopsy will be ordered by the medical examiner. The deceased cannot be picked up by the funeral home until authorities have completed their investigation and released the body. Give the name and telephone number of our funeral home to the investigating officers and they will call us for you. Typically, if the authorities do order an autopsy, the medical examiner will have their own service transport the deceased to his office. The family should then contact our funeral home. The person listed as next of kin by the authorities will need to come to our funeral home and sign a release form giving us permission to pick up the deceased. During this time the family should also schedule an appointment to make the final arrangements. The arrangement appointment is usually much more productive if the family waits until all involved family members are present so all decisions can be made together.
HOME HOSPICE CARE:
Hospice workers are thoroughly trained to care for the deceased. When you feel death is imminent or death has occurred, immediately call your hospice contact number and do exactly as instructed. Give them our name and telephone number and they will make all necessary calls in the correct sequence and make sure everything is completed. They are trained to take care of you AND your loved one. Let them.
When the family is notified that death is imminent or death has occurred, the family should sign a release form with the hospital authorizing our funeral home to pick up the deceased from the hospital. The hospital staff will make all necessary calls in the correct sequence and make sure everhthing is completed. They are also trained to take care of you AND your loved one. Let them.
OUT OF TOWN OR OVERSEAS:
Due to the expense and red tape involved in transporting human remains, it may be much simpler and less costly to have cremation done (if this is your choice) in the area the death has occurred. If there is a pre-need policy, it is generally transferable to any funeral home that agrees to honor it. If a pre-need policy is in effect, make sure you find out if there is "away" coverage to ship the body back to the funeral home provider listed in the pre-need policy (up to $500 is available on some policies). A funeral home elsewhere is not required to honor the exact charges but should give you reasonable credit.
It is important to shop around for a funeral home that will honor your pre-need policy as closely as possible to the original agreement. Never select a corporately owned funeral home such as funeral homes owned by Service Corporation International (SCI). Their prices are typically so high you will not receive sufficient credit on your pre-need policy to cover their charges. Most independently owned funeral homes will have more reasonably priced services.
It may be impossible to find a funeral home in a different country that will honor your pre-need policy. If you are faced with this situation, simply pay for the services and cancel the pre-need policy when you return home by providing a death certificate of the insured to the insurance company the pre-need policy was underwritten by. It will be treated like any other life insurance policy where the proceeds go to the beneficiary of the policy.
YOUR PRE-NEED CREMATION POLICY:
Once death has occurred, the legal next of kin must come to our funeral home to complete the at-need cremation arrangements on the insured person. This includes completing information necessary for the death certificate, authorizing the cremation in writing and completing a form that states our funeral home completed all services that were purchased on the insured's pre-need policy. If the next of kin is out of town, these forms can be faxed to them but the signatures must be notorized. Neither preparation for the cremation, nor the claim for the pre-need policy, can be started until we receive the forms back with the next of kin's ORIGINAL signature. These forms are usually over-nighted back to us. At the time of death, it is usually much simpler just to have the next of kin contact our funeral home and we will instruct them on everything. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.