When you first contact the funeral home to make arrangements, you will probably answer a few general questions about funeral plans, vital statistics of the deceased, and whether there was prearrangement or a will, the decedent’s family preferences for a burial or cremation, and what type of services you would like to hold. Plans will be finalized when you meet with the funeral director. This is no time for you to go at it alone, bring family and close friends to help you make decisions. The following list is some things you might want to bring with you when meeting with the funeral director.
*Vital information about the decedent--date and place of birth and death, parents' names, names of pre-deceased relatives and survivors, Social Security number, dates of marriages/divorces
*Highest level of education
*Military information including separation or discharge papers (DD-214), if the deceased was a veteran
*Any information related to a pre-arrangement, if applicable
*Place of burial or final disposition if a cemetery plot has been purchased
*Photographs--one or two recent photographs will be used during the embalming and cosmetology process
*Names and phone numbers of clergy or celebrants you wish to involve in the ceremonies
*Clothing, including undergarments and jewelry or glasses you would like the deceased to be viewed wearing
*Records of life insurance policies
This is a question of personal preference; some deciding factors, of course, will be quality of service and price points. It is recommended that you ask a friend of the family to help obtain prices from several funeral homes so that you can make an informed decision, based on facts and not emotions. Have the friend request a breakdown in pricing so that when you are comparing funeral homes you are actually comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Having all the costs broken down allows you to compare prices adequately.
If a person dies at home or at work, the first call must be made to 911. Any unexpected death occurring without a physician or medical personnel present must be reported to the police and an investigation held. The medical examiner will examine the body then arrange for it to be transported to the morgue for autopsy (if necessary) or to the funeral home.
If your loved one was currently receiving medical care, be sure to notify the doctor. If your loved one was in hospice care, it is not necessary to call 911. You can call the hospice facility direct.
You will need to notify family, friends and clergy. It may be easier on you to make just a few phone calls to close relatives and ask them to inform specific people so the burden of spreading news does not rest entirely on you. If you are alone, don't be afraid to ask someone to keep you company as you make the first phone calls and cope with the first hours after the death.
Are you suddenly dealing with an unexpected death in your family? You just knew your Aunt Betsy had made pre-arranged funeral preparations; after all, she had always planned for every other life changing event. Remember all the baby showers, weddings, and the Fourth of July family reunions that she so carefully and meticulously thought-out and pieced together at a moment’s notice? Aunt Betsy had always been such a gracious hostess. You stop for a second and reflect - certainly she would have made funeral plans - well didn’t she?
After sorting through her affairs, you now realize your beloved Aunt Betsy had never made any kind of arrangements for her own funeral; but knowing how Aunt Betsy had always put others before herself, she probably never thought she would pass away at such a young age. Besides, there was always someone else in the family that handled notifying all the relatives, planning the funeral, writing the obituary, and putting together a heartwarming reception. Including all those other details that are so minute, yet memorable. Now as you are given the responsibility of planning this delicate matter. You ponder for a minute – Where do I start?
Planning a funeral for an unexpected death of a loved one can be emotionally and physically taxing; there are so many decisions that need to be made in such a short period of time. Unfortunately, the scenario above is a common occurrence. At Family-Funeral & Cremation we want to help those who have never had to handle funeral arrangements. Our mission is to communicate and aid those who are faced with this untimely responsibility. To help those in need, we will be offering a series of helpful steps to guide you through these troubling times.
In the meantime, should you have questions or immediate needs please call and ask for one of our family service counselors (850) 466-5440.
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