When Death Occurs

When a death occurs, whether it is sudden, or if it is expected due to a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one is difficult. No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the decisions that will need to be made at that time. The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after a death.

When death occurs at home or a place of business

If the person was not under hospice care, 911 will need to be called so an ambulance can be dispatched to the scene.  If the EMT verifies that the person has died of natural causes, and that no resuscitation efforts are possible, they will notify the coroner/medical examiner for permission to release the body to a funeral home. The coroner/medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify the family and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred.  If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death. Following the removal of the deceased from the facility, a funeral director will contact the family to discuss getting together for arrangements.

Meeting a Funeral Director

Meeting with a funeral director usually occurs within 24 hours of a death to begin making final arrangements for your loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues. Your funeral director will guide you through planning the necessary arrangements for your loved one according to your wishes.

Items that may need to be discussed, include, but are not limited to, the following:

(Please view our online form to help you gather some of the following information)

  • Selecting Burial or Cremation 
  • Will there be a viewing of the deceased? (Private or Public) 
  • Will there be a visitation? 
  • Selection of Funeral Products (if applicable) 
  • Selecting the Location, and scheduling the date/time of the visitation and funeral service
  • Arranging for cemetery property

Information about the deceased that will be helpful to bring with you when you meet with the funeral director includes the following:

Information Needed for the Death Certificate:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Social Security Number 
  • Date of Birth 
  • Place of Birth (City, State, and County, or Foreign Country) 
  • Did the deceased live in a township? 
  • Was the deceased in the Armed Forces? If so, please provide Honorable Discharge Certificate (DD-214) 
  • Marital Status 
  • Name of Spouse (including maiden name if applicable)
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Occupation and Type of Business or Industry
  • Name and Address of person in charge of funeral arrangements (Next of Kin or Executor of Will)

Additional Information that will be needed for the Obituary:

  • Family Information, to include survivors and pre-deceased family members
  • Biographical Information to include memberships, employment and career information, hobbies and interests, etc.
  • Favorite charities to be designated for memorial contributions in the deceased’s memory
  • Photo of the deceased

Documents that may be needed to complete legal paperwork:


  • If the life insurance proceeds are going to be used to pay funeral expenses please provide:
    • Life Insurance Policies 
    • Insurance Company 
    • Policy Numbers 
    • Beneficiary Designation 


  • Honorable Discharge (DD-214)