What You Need to Do When a Death Has Occurred

No matter when a death happens, it's difficult knowing what you need to do first and who you can turn to for help. Just remember you can call us 24/7 at 716-627-2919 and we'll help guide you through this difficult time.

Here's what you need to do if a death occurs at a :

Home or Place of Business

If your loved one was not under hospice care, you should notify the police immediately. They will be dispatched to your home and will call the coroner/medical examiner, who will take the deceased to their office and will determine if any further action is necessary. The coroner/medical examiner will need to release the body before a funeral home can be called in to help.  

If the person was under hospice care, you can contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

Hospital, Nursing Home or Hospice Facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. The hospital or nursing home will call the funeral home if this information has been given to them before the death of the individual.

If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, you will be asked a few questions about the wishes of the deceased and when would be a good time for you to come into the funeral home to make arrangements. If you are not present when the funeral director arrives, you will be contacted by phone to set up a time to meet.

When to Call Your Funeral Director

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, you can give us a call and we'll talk you through next steps: obtaining a death certificate, transporting the body, and in the event pre-planning wasn't done make your arrangements for the funeral/memorial service.  The funeral director will also help you notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased to assist with those arrangements. We're here to help advise you and relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.

Meeting with Your Funeral Director

It's important to meet with us within 24 hours of a death to begin making the final arrangements for your loved one. Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very overwhelming task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but our staff has years of experience dealing with these issues and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Information Your Funeral Director Will Need:

This is the information your Funeral Director will need for arrangements.  It includes:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Marital Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Date and City of Birth
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
  • Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
  • Occupation and Employer
  • Social Security Number
  • Veterans Information
  • Life Insurance Policies (if using for funeral expenses)
  • Recent Photograph
  • Clothing
  • Cemetery Information (if applicable)

You will need these documents as you work through the estate process:

  • Account Statements
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Real Estate Deeds
  • Car and Boat Deeds
  • Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  • Post-Nuptial Agreements
  • Loans and Leases
  • Copies of Bills (Hydro, Cable, Phone etc.)
  • Last Will
  • Tax Returns

If no pre-planning has been done, you will need to make decisions on the following arrangements. These include:

  • Scheduling the Location, Date and Time of Visitation and Funeral Service
  • Selecting Burial or Cremation
  • Choosing Funeral Products
  • Arranging a Cemetery Plot
  • Preparing an Obituary Notice
  • Scheduling Transportation Arrangements

Just remember, we'll be guiding you through all the steps, determining what you want to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favorite sports team?  What was their favorite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.

Click here to see the various options for your loved one's celebration of life ceremony.