What You Need to Know When a Death Occurs



When a death occurs, the grief you feel can hinder the decisions you need to make. We understand the importance of knowing what needs to be done so that a loved one receives the proper care that you wish for them. That’s why we created an outline of what you need to know when a death occurs.


Consult a Relative/Friend for Help


The decisions and preparations that come after a death can make the process more difficult, that’s why it’s best to ask someone who has your trust and also has a clear mind to aid in making important decisions during the funeral process. The support from a friend or loved one will always lighten the weight on you while you are grieving.


Who to Call Next Depends on the Place the Death Occurred


More likely than not, a death will occur in a hospital or while under supervised care, such as hospice or a nursing home; In that case, a health professional will most likely ask you if you have a preferred funeral home that they can contact for you and they will contact them. If it’s an unexpected death at home, your first call should be 911 so that the proper arrangements for removal can be made. The authorities will guide you during the process.

Confirming the Choice of Funeral Home


Once you have decided on a funeral home, you will be in contact with them for the next couple of days on the arrangements that you wish to have. Here is a list of things to keep in mind while making arrangements:


1. Embalming, in most cases, is not required by law


2. Find out if the deceased had insurance

This can help with the cost of arrangements and can be filed by you or, if you wish, the funeral home.

If the deceased has pre-insured with a designated funeral home, you have the right to move the insurance elsewhere.


3. Most cemeteries require an outer burial container


4. Obtain demographic information and social security number

This information will be needed by the funeral home to file a death certificate.

It is advised but not required to obtain a copy of a death certificate.

Death certificates will be required when handling accounts, bills, and if applicable, testaments and insurance.

To administer the estates of the deceased, you must file for a probate with the state to start the legal process.

You can obtain additional death certificates at the Health Department, with proof of relationship to the deceased and ID.



Being prepared for a death can seem daunting, but by thinking about what can be expected and what your options are, you can have the assurance that your loved one will receive the care they deserve. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment box below, or if you would like to discuss your pre-planning options, call our office at (615) 255-5412.





“Consumer Information.” Shopping for Funeral Services. Federal Trade Commission, July 2012. Web. Dec. 2014.

“Preparing For Approaching Death.” Preparing For Approaching Death. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2014.

“Probate Court Clerk’s Office.” Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk. Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk, 1999-2014. Web. Dec. 2014.

When A Death Occurs. N.d. Funeral One Database, Nashville. Ellisfuneralhomenashville.com. Web. Dec. 2014.



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