When a Death Occurs

What to do when a loved one passes away

Whether you received a phone call in the middle of the night of an unexpected death, or you are present at your loved one's final moments of a long illness, the shock of someone close to you passing can be devastating. Regardless of age, circumstances, or how prepared we think we are, a loved one's passing often leaves us in shock. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming. The following is a brief guide that you will help you through the decision making process. Should you have any further questions, we encourage you to contact our funeral home, and speak to one of our experienced funeral service professionals. The staff at the Curran Funeral Homes are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you.

When a death occurs under supervised care (Hospital, Nursing Home, or Hospice)

In these cases, the professional staff will notify you and the necessary authorities. If the name of the funeral home has been given to them, they should also notify them as well. The funeral director will then contact you immediately to confirm your loved one's wishes, and help you proceed. During this time the director will gather the necessary information to transfer your loved one into our care

If a loved one is under Hospice care, a Hospice representative should be contacted immediately when the person passes away. In many counties, the medical examiner will be notified by Hospice, and following the release, the Hospice will contact our funeral home.

In any case, it is a good idea to call the funeral home immediately so that we will be aware of the pending call from the hospital, nursing home, or hospice.

When a death occurs at home or work

A family member or co worker should immediately call emergency personnel (911). Upon arrival, they will guide you through the next steps that need to be taken. Often times this involves contacting the local Coroner's Office, especially the death is related to an accident, or if the person that passed away is not under medical care at the time of death.

Making arrangements with the funeral home

We can meet your family at one of our funeral homes, or in the comfort of a family member's home. Regardless of location, the funeral director will guide you through the entire arrangement.

The planning of a tribute for loved one usually includes:

  • Obtaining historical information for the obituary and to file the official Death Certificate
  • Scheduling the location, date and time of services or visitation if requested
  • Selecting a casket, urn, or other merchandise
  • Signing any authorizations or make arrangements to have them signed by the appropriate family members

You are welcome at this time to bring photos, music, or any additional items to assist the funeral director in planning a unique tribute for your loved one. More and more people are personalizing the funeral service. This is something we encourage, as many families have reported the benefit of personalization as it relates to the healing process. The funeral director will discuss this with you during the arrangement conference.

The staff at the Curran Funeral Homes go above and beyond to try to make a very difficult time a bit easier for the families that we serve.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Notifying Social Security when a loved one passes away
  • Notifying any employer where the loved one was receiving a Pension
  • Assisting with Insurance Policies your loved one may have, including guidance through the sometimes tedious process of completing claim forms

The following is a checklist that will help you remember what information will be needed when meeting with one of our funeral directors:

  • Full Legal Name and Home Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Date and Place of Birth, as well as parents full names (including maiden names)
  • Level of Education completed
  • Occupation
  • Paperwork from cemetery where burial will take place (If applicable)
  • Clothing as well as a recent photo
  • Clergy name and contact number
  • Survivors (name and relationship)
  • If the deceased was a veteran, the discharge papers (Form DD-214)

Keep in mind, any of these arrangements can be made through Advance Planning with our funeral directors. This can be a beneficial option, as it helps to ease the stress that many of these decisions can cause by having everything already in order prior to the passing of a loved one.

A staff member at the Curran Funeral Home will be happy to answer any other questions you have. Feel free to contact us at any time.

Who should come with me to the arrangement conference?

If you are the only next-of-kin, do not feel like you need to make all the arrangements alone. Families often come to the arrangement conference in groups for moral support and to participate in the funeral experience.

What if there was a pre-arrangement?

If your loved one made a pre-arrangement with our funeral home, we'll have that information on file here for you. We will use the time in the arrangement conference to go over any details that were not yet planned for.

If your loved one pre-arranged their funeral with another funeral home and you wish to transfer that arrangement to us, please let us know as soon as possible. If the funeral has been pre-paid at another funeral home, we can transfer those funds to our funeral home to make sure your loved one's wishes are fulfilled.

What if the death occurred away from home?

If a death occurs away from home, contact us first. We will find a local funeral home near the place of death and arrange for preparation and transportation of the remains back to our funeral home on your behalf. We can also help coordinate with the other funeral home if you are planning to have a service prior to having the family member returned to your home area.

What if there is no will?

Dying intestate--dying without a will--means that a probate judge will appoint an administrator of the deceased's estate. If you are chosen as the administrator, your responsibilities will be similar to those of an executor of a will: distributing assets, paying creditors and balancing the estate.

Many people assume that upon a person's death, all assets will immediately go to the spouse. If there is no will, this is not always the case. Most states will divide assets between the surviving spouse and any children, regardless of the children's ages. If there are no children, some assets may be granted to the parents of the deceased. In the case of a single person with children, the entire estate will be split among them. When a person is single with no children, the estate may be granted to the parents (or siblings, if parents are deceased).

It is important to remember that state probate laws vary, and individual situations may be taken into account in probate court when decisions are made to distribute the deceased's assets. If you have any questions or concerns, you may want to consult an attorney that is experienced in end-of-life planning and probate.

My loved one was a veteran. What benefits can he or she receive?

Benefits are available to veterans whether they are interred in a national cemetery or a private cemetery. If your loved one will be laid to rest in a national cemetery, benefits include a gravesite in any national cemetery with open space, fees for opening and closing of the grave, a government headstone or marker, a flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no cost to the family. If the veteran will be buried in a private cemetery, he or she is eligible for a government headstone or marker, a flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. In some circumstances, he or she may be eligible for a burial allowance. To determine exactly what benefits your loved one will receive, contact the Veterans Administration directly or visit their website here.

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