When a Death Occurs
Brackney Funeral Service offers a different level of caring. We know that funeral service is a calling with vast responsibilities which demands adherence to the highest professional standards and principles. Our families trust us to provide exemplary services, and this confidence makes us equally proud and humbled. We would love an opportunity to serve you.
If you have just experienced the death of a loved one, we are ready to assist you with helpful advice and answers to your questions.
If you’re unclear about how to handle a death in the family, the list below details what you should do immediately and in the days and months following a death.
Friends and family will most likely want to help. Delegating responsibilities to family members and others you trust not only eases your burden but also allows them to show you how much they care about you—and it may even help them begin to heal their own feelings of loss as well.
The following information will be needed to complete the arrangements.
- Deceased full legal name
Deceased Social Security number
Date of birth
Place of birth (city/town, state or foreign country)
Date of death
Place of death (city/town, county)
Legal marital status
Mother’s maiden name
Veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214)
Highest level of education completed at the time of death
Decedents occupation (type of work done during most of working life)
What to do immediately when someone dies
- Notify the authorities that a death has occurred. If you’re not in a hospital or with hospice care at the time of the death, call 911 immediately so that the death can be legally pronounced. If your loved one is in a hospital or under hospice care, this task generally falls to the medical caretakers.
- Arrange for transportation of your loved one by calling Brackney Funeral Service. We will arrange transportation to our funeral home.
- Notify family and close friends of the death. You may wish to ask some of these people to inform others.
- Arrange for a caretaker for children, elderly parents and pets. (This is a good task to delegate to someone you trust.)
- Notify your loved one’s employer, if he or she was still working.
- Locate the will and any pre-planned funeral arrangements.
- Selecting Brackney Funeral Service, will begin the process of planning a funeral, memorial service, cremation or celebration of life.
What to do before meeting with a funeral planner
- Designate a main point of contact, or executor. This might be you or someone else, but whoever it is should also have a friend or family member who can be nearby and help with important decisions and more.
- Gather any documents specifying pre-planned or pre-paid funeral arrangements, and obtain the personal information you need for an obituary and death certificate.
- Contact any religious or military affiliations of your loved one to determine whether burial benefits or specific funeral plans and services are available. If your loved one was a veteran, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at benefits.va.gov/benefits or call 800-827-1000 to explore options for veterans.
- Start an obituary. Your funeral director can help you write an obituary, or you may choose to write it yourself. Have at least one person proofread the obituary before it is submitted for publication.
What to do after the funeral
Get multiple copies of the death certificate. The following agencies will need to be contacted and usually request at least one copy of the death certificate:
- Social Security (800-772-1213; socialsecurity.gov) to discuss ceasing benefits, obtaining survivor benefits and Medicare. Veterans Affairs may also be necessary for the cessation of benefits (800-827-1000; va.gov).
- Health, life, homeowner, automobile and other insurance companies to cease or transfer benefits.
- Utility companies to change or stop services.
- Employer for pension plans or employment benefits; each separate claim will require a separate copy of the death certificate.
- Probate attorney for asset, trust and estate inventory.
- Tax preparer to determine if an estate tax return or final income tax returns should be filed.
- State department of motor vehicle services to cancel driver’s license.
- Bank for safe deposits and remaining accounts; you may be advised to open a new account for the estate.
- Deliver the will to the appropriate office for probate.
- Notify the post office of the death and the location to which mail should be forwarded. (Going through your loved one’s mail can help you become aware of bills, subscriptions or other accounts or services that should be canceled.)
- Notify the police if your loved one left behind a house that will sit vacant, so that they can periodically monitor the home against suspicious activity.
Aftercare resources and grief support
Depending on your relationship with your loved one and the traditional mourning customs of your faith, the weeks and months after a death in the family may be extremely difficult. Be sure to take steps to ensure that you are handling the death in an emotionally healthy way, and know that caring for yourself and allowing others to care for you are part of the healing process.
Grief is natural, personal and has no timetable. It may last for a shorter or longer time than you expect, and it may be coupled with feelings of anger, guilt, emptiness or hopelessness. Whatever your experience, know that there are family and friends all around you who are willing to support you at this time.
It’s hard to know how to handle a death, especially when that person is a close friend or family member. There are things that need to be done—and more than likely you will not have to do them alone. Enlist a support system to lean on. It’s so helpful to have someone to assist with planning a funeral and putting someone’s things in order. It also feels good to have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.