When A Loved One Passes Unexpectedly – What To Expect When You Go To The Funeral Home


The loss of a loved one is difficult under any circumstances. When someone dies unexpectedly, his or her loved ones are faced with grief and making plans for which he or she weren't prepared. Should you be faced with the passing of someone for whom you must make funeral arrangements, it would be helpful to know what's ahead.

One of the very first things you will do is visit the funeral home you have chosen. Your first visit will probably be within twenty-four hours of the person's death. The staff at funeral homes tends to be gentle, patient, and very helpful. They are there for you, and will do all they can to help make the process as easy on you as possible.

What to Bring

One of the most important things you can bring to your first visit is at least one other person. If possible, bring another loved one to help you make decisions. You may also want someone who can take notes. You may find it difficult to remember things.

If possible bring the deceased person's:

  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Birthplace
  • Parents' names
  • Military papers—current or discharge
  • Clothing if they are to be buried.
  • Cemetery information if you have it
  • A picture of the deceased for the obituary

You may have received instructions to bring other things when you made your appointment.

What to Expect

You will be assigned a funeral director. This person will meet with you, and be with you throughout the process.

You will sit with your director and go step by step over the necessary preparations. You will be asked about services you want held. This may be at the funeral home, a religious affiliation, or other location. You will also discuss where the burial will take place if applicable. Dates and times will be set. Your director will communicate with these locations to make sure everything is in place.

Your funeral director will ask for documents and information they need to report and record the death. You will be asked how many death certificates you would like. They will tell you who requires a certificate. This will help you determine how many you want to order. There's a fee for each certificate. These fees vary by state.

Your director will help you compose the obituary if you like, and they will submit it to the papers of your choice.

The funeral home will probably report the death to the department of social security. They will also give you information about contacting the department for any death benefits you may be entitled. Some funeral homes give families a pamphlet with information on what agencies need to be contacted and how to reach them.

You will be asked what services you desire on the day of the burial if you are having one. These services may include:

  • Additional pallbearers supplied by the funeral home
  • A family car to drive you and others to and from the service
  • A car to transport flowers
  • If it's to be a military service, do you want a flag on the coffin and the 21 gun salute? The funeral home can coordinate with the local legions to arrange this.

You will probably be asked to pick out the coffin or urn during your first visit to the funeral home. Most have a display of available options from which you can choose. They also have vaults available if you haven't purchased one at the cemetery. Your funeral director will explain the state laws pertaining to vaults, and explain the differences between those that seal and those that do not.

Before you leave, the funeral home should have enough information to give you an estimate of your total costs. They will discuss payment arrangements with you. Be sure to let them know if there were any life insurance policies in place. Funeral homes can work out payment with life insurance companies.

A trip to the funeral home can conjure up very uncomfortable feelings. This is normal, but the one thing that is for sure is that you will be treated with the utmost of compassion during this difficult time. 


17 June 2015

Have You Planned for Your Future?

When my father passed away a year ago, my mother didn't have any problems with the funeral or burial. My father planned his funeral in advance. He didn't want to burden my mom with any problems during her time of grieving. That hit me. I realized that I didn't have any plans for my own future, which would make it even harder on my wife and kids. So, I contacted a funeral home online and requested information about burial services. The funeral home provided me with many options that I could afford to pay over time or upfront. My wife also helped select burial plots for us because we didn't want to be separated — even after death. I encourage you to read through my blog. It offers great tips and advice on how to plan for your own future. Don't wait. You never know what life holds for you.