Funeral Planning: What To Do When A Loved One Passes

Funeral planning tips.

Losing a loved one is a very emotional and difficult experience. If you’re experiencing it for the first time, you'll likely have a lot of questions, not the least of which is "What happens next?"

It's a complicated process, both emotionally and logistically. Below, see important information that will help guide you when making decisions, contacting people, and coordinating final arrangements. It’s often a good idea to bring in a close friend for help and support when grieving and making arrangements. Whatever approach you take, however, you need an approach plan.

What to do immediately following the death

If a death happens at home or the workplace, contact emergency personnel or your loved one's doctor if they underwent semi-regular medical care. If nobody else was present at the death, it’s crucial to notify the police before moving the deceased to another location. If your loved one dies in a hospital or hospice program, hospital staff will notify you and the appropriate authorities. 

Registration of death

Typically, the next step to take in your loved one’s passing is the registration of their death. The documentation and processes will depend on their specific situation, and whichever professional you work with will help with the registration and certificate.

The initial days

Once you’ve completed the arrangements, it’s a good time to let the family and friends of the deceased know. You should also review any wishes your loved one made, and meet with the funeral home to begin funeral plans. At this point, it’s also a good time to write an obituary so their social community can be made aware.

Turn to your network for support

Often, the best resource during the grieving process is loved ones. Connect with family, friends,  neighbors, and spiritual advisors, as their words and presence can provide comfort and support. Your funeral director, in addition to helping put together arrangements, will likely be more than happy to provide any emotional support you may need. 

What to do if there are no pre-arrangements

If your loved one didn’t leave arrangement instructions, you’ll likely need to answer a few questions when meeting with the funeral home. These will revolve around choosing burial or cremation, purchasing a casket, the details of the funeral, and more.

What to prepare before meeting with the funeral home

When preparing for your loved one’s final arrangements, it’s encouraged to bring photos, videos, or treasured items. This will help guide your planning of the service. It’s also good to have information on hand, such as their name, address, social security number, birth date, and more.

What to anticipate when meeting with a funeral home

Typically, when you meet with the funeral home to discuss arrangements, they’ll give you a basic outline of the cost. They’ll then take you through the process and seek to learn more about your loved one. This is the ideal time to voice any ideas or preferences you have regarding your loved one’s final farewell. 

How a funeral home supports you

As mentioned, your funeral director and home will help with preparing and filing the official death certificate. They’ll also help in scheduling the service, selecting the casket, and drafting the obituary.

If you’ve lost a loved one and need guidance on the next steps, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Dale Woodward. We'd be honored to guide and support you during this difficult, emotional time.

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