What to Do When Death Occurs
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. England Family Mortuary is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you with the details and offer our guidance. We have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you will need to take or think about when a death has occurred. A printable checklist may be found here. Your funeral director will help coordinate and assist you in the details when you meet for an arrangement conference.
1. After a death has occurred, notify your nearest England Family Mortuary Location by calling (951) 695-8555. The following are some questions that we 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, telephone number, and email address?
· What is the name, address, phone number, and email address of the next-of-kin?
· Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan? (If yes, what is the plan name or number?)
· How much does your loved one weigh?
· Is there easy access to the deceased?
· Who is the primary physician who will be giving causes of death?
We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement or email all paperwork for a virtual arrangement process. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include:
· Clothing for the deceased (if applicable)
· 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 name
· Information about the deceased’s education
· Marital status of the deceased
· Veteran’s discharge papers or Claim Number
· A recent photograph of the deceased
· Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
· Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
2. You may contact your minister or clergy at any time after the death. We simply ask that you do not arrange the date or time of any services prior to meeting with our staff. We will help you decide on a time and place for your service, which may include the use of our remodeled chapel in Temecula.
3. The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you.
4. 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.
5. Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school)
6. Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, 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. England Family Mortuary offers a free obit written by the family or a death notice written by our staff on our website. Click here for an obituary guide.
7. Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone. Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later.
8. If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify social security and the bank of the death.
9. Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next several days
10. Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help
11. Arrange for childcare, if necessary
12. Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends
13. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart of back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers.)
14. Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
15. 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” to those who have given their time, as well.
16. Notify insurance companies of the death
17. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
18. 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
19. 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
20. If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail
21. Your Funeral Director will prepare and send the death notification by a funeral director and submit it to the Social Security Administration on your behalf.