Steps to take at time of death
Depending on where the death occurs and under what circumstances, this explains what you should do when the death occurs:
- Death in a Medical Facility: When the death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff should take care of all necessary legal steps. Notify the medical staff that our funeral home is the funeral home handling arrangements.
- Anticipated Death at Home: In this situation, notify Hospice that our funeral home is the funeral home of your choice, they will then take care of all necessary legal requirements. Many times when someone has a terminal illness, the family will elect to make prearrangements with us so that they are not overwhelmed with the many important decisions at the time of death.
- Unanticipated Death at Home or Elsewhere: In these situations, immediately call 911. The emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to be taken.
- Death out of state: If the death occurs outside of Pennsylvania, you should call our funeral home first. We can coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death.
Funeral Arrangement Conference
To assure that our family is immediately available and can devote the personal attention and time needed to make the arrangements, we will coordinate a time for you to meet with the funeral director. When you come to the conference, you may want to bring with you the following information about the decedent:
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Father's Name
- Mother's Name and her Maiden Name
- Veteran's Discharge Papers
- Cemetery Deed
- Clothing - all normal items including undergarments, other than shoes. For women, an outfit closed at the neckline and long sleeves are preferred.
- Insurance Policies
- Jewelry & personal items - these items can either be brought to the arrangement conference, or on the day of the visitation.
- Obituary information (Place of Employment, Retirement date, Church membership, List of Clubs or Membership, and List of Survivors). At the funeral arrangement conference, if you have not already made prearrangements with us, our funeral directors will need to obtain some vital information for completing the death certificate. Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents and are issued by the State of Pennsylvania. Photocopies are not considered legal documents. After the original certificate has been signed by the physician or medical examiner and all vital information completed by our funeral home, it is then filed with the PA Department of Health (Depending on where the death occurred). Death certificates in Pennsylvania are $ 6.00 per certified copy.
During the funeral arrangement conference, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate are needed. As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. Death Certificates can take up to two weeks from the date of Burial or Cremation. In order to assist you in ascertaining the number of certified copies needed, below is a worksheet:
- Each Life Insurance Company
- Motor Vehicles
- Pension, IRA or other retirement benefits
- Probate of Will
- Each bank where account maintained
- Final Tax Return
- Stocks and Bonds
- Your own files
- Real Property
Please note that we will send a courtesy notification to Social Security. Once you receive the Death Certificate you can contact them to see if you are entitled to any benefit.