Dealing What Comes After: What To Do Immediately Following A Loved One's Death


The death of a loved one is something that no one can ever really prepare for, even when it is expected. When the final ending arrives, it is normal to still feel shocked and helpless, even if you have already spent months watching a spouse, parent, or child battle a terminal illness. If you have found yourself in this terrible position and wonder how you will be able to cope when the end arrives, the following information will help you get through those first few days and ensure that their final arrangements are handled with care. 

Make formal notification

After your loved one passes and you have taken a moment to say farewell, you will need to make formal notification to the proper authorities. If the death occurs at the hospital or in any type of medical facility, the attending staff can assist you with this action. 

When death occurs in the home and a minister, hospice nurse, or other medical care provider is in attendance, they can also help you make the proper death notifications. When no one else is available to do this, you will need to take one of the following actions: 

  • call the director of the funeral home where the services will be held
  • call your loved one's medical care provider 
  • call 911 and report that a death has occurred 

Making any of these calls will begin the process of having the death properly certified by a coroner, doctor, or funeral director so that the body can then be transported to the funeral home of your choice.

If your loved one was an organ donor, try to remember that time is critical and make sure that the proper authorities are notified so that arrangements can be made to properly preserve the organs. 

Make initial arrangement choices

If your loved one was able to finalize their funeral arrangements before they passed, the funeral home will already have the answers and authorization to begin preparing the body and arranging the service. If, however, no arrangements have been made, you will need to make some basic choices soon after the death has occurred, including: 

  • making the choice between interment and cremation
  • selecting a funeral home 
  • opting for either a cemetery or mausoleum as the final resting place 
  • deciding whether to hold a traditional funeral, a graveside service, or a memorial service at a later date

If the death occurs away from home, it may be necessary to have the body transported by hearse, train, or plane to where the service is to be held and the body to be interred. When the distance is considerable, you may want to consider having the body cremated in the city where death occurred and then planning a memorial service at a later date in their home location. 

Make pertinent financial decisions

In addition to making proper death notification to law enforcement and medical personnel, you may also need to make some financial decisions for your loved one. These can include some or all of the following: 

  • notifying their bank, mortgage company, utility providers, and credit card companies
  • notifying insurance brokers 
  • notifying the landlord or property management company, if they were a tenant in a rental property
  • notifying their employer, if they were employed at the time of their death
  • notifying their attorney 
  • notifying service providers, including Social Security and disability providers

Because their lender, insurance agent, attorney, and service providers may each require a certified copy of the death certificate, you will need to remember to order enough copies. 

The funeral director you have chosen to assist you with final arrangements for your loved one will be able to answer your questions and help guide you through the final arrangements. These caring professionals understand the loss you are feeling and will strive to help you navigate through this difficult time as easily as possible. 


22 August 2018

Understanding The Funeral Planning Process

Hi everyone, my name is Sari Blakenship. My first time visiting a funeral home was an extremely comforting experience. Although I was blindsided by the death of my loved one, the funeral director helped me through the planning process without taking advantage of my grief. I was allowed to work at my own pace to cope with the grief in a healthy way. I was never rushed or pressured, despite the necessary timeline. Whenever I couldn't move forward, the funeral director held my hand and offered words of comfort. I would like to share each step of the funeral planning process to help others through this difficult process. Planning a funeral takes a lot of thought and time during a particularly difficult period. Please visit whenever you need a hand.