When Death Occurs

When A Death Occurs

When a death occurs in your family, you will be faced with important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time. You may not know what to do or when to begin making arrangements. Bearing the responsibility can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone. Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you with the details and offer our guidance. We have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you will need to take when a death has occurred. Your funeral director will help coordinate all of the details when you meet for an arrangement conference.

  1. After a death has occurred, notify Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service by calling 804-275-7828. The following are some questions that we may ask when you call:
    • What is the full name of the deceased?
    • What is the location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
    • Approximate weight of the deceased?
    • What is your name, address and telephone number?
    • Are you the legal next-of-kin, what is your relationship? If you are not the legal next-of-kin, then who is? What is the name, relationship, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
    • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan?

    We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include:

    • Clothing for the deceased. Preferably long sleeves and high neckline.  Also provide a complete set of underclothes and eyeglasses if applicable.
    • Social security number of the deceased.
    • The deceased's birth date and city and state of birth.
    • The deceased's parents names, including mother's maiden name.
    • Information about the deceased's education
      Highest grade completed? High School graduate? College graduate?
    • Marital status of the deceased.
    • Veteran's discharge papers.
    • A recent photograph of the deceased.
    • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable).
    • Cemetery lot information (if applicable).
  2. Start to think about designing the ceremony.  When will it be?  Where will it be?  Who will lead the ceremony?  You don’t need to make these decisions alone; your funeral director will guide you through the process and coordinate all the details.

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  3. The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you.
  4. Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and notify each by phone. You may wish to use a "branching" system: make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people.
  5. Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school.)
  6. Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The funeral home will usually write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper(s).
  7.  As a gift to the family, Morrissett will prepare a video tribute.  You need to start gathering 30 to 45 pictures that give a representation of the decedent’s life.  The pictures can be in paper form or given to us digitally on a disk or memory stick.  You will also be asked to select a couple of songs that will become the soundtrack for the video.  Your funeral director will explain this further during the arrangement conference.
  8. Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone. Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on.
  9. If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death.    (Do NOT notify the Social Security Administration yet.  Your funeral Director will advise you as to the appropriate time.)
  10. Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next several days.
  11. Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help.
  12. Arrange for child care, if necessary.
  13. Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.
  14. Make some notes of memories and thoughts; this can help when you talk with the person that will conduct the ceremony.  Involve the whole family, especially the children; sometimes we forget to gather their feelings and input.
  15. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with health issues or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers.)
  16. If not purchased through the funeral home, you will need to purchase any floral tributes that you desire from one of our local florist.  (Remember, if there is going to be an American flag used, you do not want to order flowers for the top of the casket.
  17. Eat and Rest.  The next few days are going to be physically and emotionally draining.  Try to keep up your health.  Put up your feet and eat sensibly when you can.
  18. Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be notified by letter and/or printed notice.
  19. Prepare a list of people to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include "thank you notes" to those who have given their time, as well.
  20. Notify insurance companies of the death.
  21. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor.
  22. Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources.
  23. Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.
  24. If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail.
  25. Your funeral director will prepare the necessary Social Security forms.
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