Page 12 - Scene Magazine June 2022 4706
P. 12

 An official declaration of death is the first step to getting a death certificate, a critical piece of paperwork. Without a declaration of death, you can’t plan a funeral much less handle the deceased’s legal affairs.
When You
Need Help
the Most
The loss of a loved one can be a chal- lenging topic but the important thing to know is that we have great support pro- grams right here to help families through the difficulties beginning with your local funeral home.
When a loved one dies the tasks left behind can sometimes feel overwhelming. I suspect that many do not spend a lot of time planning for death primarily because they would rather be enjoying their time living.
I will often write about the gift of plan- ning and developing legal documents and while I would strongly encourage that, there are other activities that need to take place during the most difficult of times. The tasks are complicated and often un- known until you are thrust into the middle of them. Sometimes it feels like stum- bling forward and there is a true sense of hoping that you have done everything you should, but truly hope for understanding if something has been missed.
The following is a collection of sug- gestions from personal experience, area funeral homes, and a variety of organiza- tions and should not be considered legal advice. It may not be comprehensive for your specific concerns but it is a great starting point. Fortunately, your local funeral home will often have a checklist to get you started. Furthermore, AARP has taken the time to pull together a detailed list of action steps for those struggling through this transition as well. Many are condensed and included here. Visit friends-family/info-2020/when-loved-one- dies-checklist.html for more.
Aside from the funeral home there are many others that will need to be notified when a loved one dies. It all begins with
a legal pronouncement of death. If your service will be held, whether to cremate, loved one died in a hospital or nursing where the body or ashes will be interred, home where a doctor was present, and what type of tombstone or urn to
the staff will handle this. If your family order. As an alternative to ashes, planning member passed at home under hospice stones are now another option offered care, a hospice nurse can make the through Richard A. Henry Funeral Home.
pronouncement. But if your relative died at home, especially if it was unexpected, you’ll need to get a medical professional to do this. Call 9-1-1 soon after they pass and have them transported to an emer- gency room where they can be declared dead and moved to a funeral home.
Telling friends and family is difficult at best but they need to be made aware
of the loved ones passing as well as additional details for services. If your loved one has been ill for some time you may have already created an email list to keep family and friends updated. Send out a group text or mass email, or make individual phone calls to let people know their loved one has died. To track down all those who need to know, you may need to go through the deceased’s email and phone contacts. Inform coworkers and the members of any social groups or church the person belonged to. Ask the recipients to spread the word by notifying others connected to the deceased. You may want to consider a post about the death on social media.
If you are fortunate, you will know what your loved ones wishes were after death. Better yet, your loved one pre-planned and paid for their funeral and burial for you. If not, you may find more details by talking with other family members, search- ing through paperwork, or from a family attorney. Without this instruction the family will have to make decisions together including choosing a funeral home and deciding on specifics such as where the
It’s a good idea to research funer-
al prices to help you make informed decisions. Evaluating costs for the funeral and burial may play a role in the choices available. Several funeral homes can be found in the publication.
Choose the funeral home if one is not already identified. They will often assist with many of the next steps including removing the body from the home or hospital, acquiring the death certificate(s), notifying Social Security, reaching out to the Veteran’s Administration, organ dona- tion, writing the obituary and placing it in appropriate publications, and of course coordinating the ceremony from the min- ister to the music.
If your loved one was a Veteran addi- tional costs may be covered. Contact the Veteran’s Administration to find out more details. Oftentimes your funeral home representative will do that for you. If not, call (269) 969-6735.
If your loved one belonged to a frater- nal or religious group, contact the specific organization to see if it offers burial bene- fits or conducts funeral services.
Railroad Retires should reach out to the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877- 772-5772.
Did your loved one want to donate organs? Check their driver’s license to know for certain. The hospital or funeral home will often help with notification.
If your loved one is a minor then par- ents or guardians should be prepared to respond to this question.

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