Whether you have received a 2 a.m. phone call with news of an unexpected death or shared your loved one's final moments of a long illness, your initial reaction to the death was likely shock. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared we are — or aren't — a loved one's death often leaves us feeling numb and bewildered.
If you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming.
What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the hospital staff may say they will take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the funeral home of your choice. Yes, in some rare instances they may, but most often, not. You should always notify us, your Funeral Director first as we will need to discuss with you information and specifics regarding the death. We will also need to schedule a time to gather, so all of us may proceed with a funeral arrangement conference and to discuss and finalize service details. You then will need to notify other extended family, friends and clergy.
It may be easier on you to 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, so the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you. If you are alone, ask someone to keep you company while you make these calls and try to cope with the first hours after the death.
Whatever the circumstances of death, one of your first calls should be to us, Your Funeral Director. We are here to help you in what ever arrangements or options you choose:
If your loved one was working, you'll need to call his or her employer immediately and inform them of the death.
You may be directed to the Human Resources Department within that firm.
You at that time can ask about the deceased's benefits and any pay due, including vacation or sick time, disability income, etc. Ask if you or other dependents are still eligible for benefit coverage through the company.
Ask whether there is a life insurance policy through the employer, who the beneficiary is and how to file a claim.
Look through the deceased's paperwork for the life policy. 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 the death certificate (obtained from us, your Funeral Director) 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 the having the insurance company place the money in an interest-bearing account from which you can write checks.
Not to worry, we have all of the necessary paperwork and documents for you, we will also notify the proper agencies as well. These details will be discussed during our funeral arrangement conference.
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