What to Do when 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. Riewerts Memorial Home 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.
- Call us as soon as possible. If the death occurs outside of our local area or out of state, allow us to handle the transportation arrangements. Unless there will be funeral services in that remote location, we can save you the additional expense incurred by involving two funeral homes in the transaction. We utilize special service providers that are experienced in the transportation process.
- We have experienced, licensed funeral directors available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will arrange for the deceased to be transported to the funeral home and discuss a time for you and your family to meet with us to make the funeral arrangements. We will facilitate and coordinate a funeral that reflects the way you wish to remember your loved one and provide you with many options and suggestions during the process.
- You will need to provide us with the following information for the death certificate:
- Full legal name
- Date and place of birth
- Father’s name
- Mother’s first and maiden name
- Social Security Number
- Veterans Discharge (if applicable)
- Education level
- Occupation, place of employment and type of business (even if retired)
- Marital Status
- Home address
Please verify any information you are unsure of before you provide it to us.
- Prepare information for the newspaper notice(s) and obituary including survivors, occupation information, church memberships, club memberships, etc.. The Record newspaper which covers Bergen and Passaic Counties will print almost any information you provide in the paid death notice which can run an average of $200.00 per day or more per day for lengthy notice. Other area newspapers such as the New York Daily News and the New York Times have paid death notices available for averaging from $600.00 per day to several thousand dollars expanded notice. We also place notices in any out of town newspapers you desire. We will compose the notice for you or provide you with sound advice and guidance in preparing one of your own.
- Contact your family and friends with the final funeral arrangements. It is natural to contact people as soon as the death occurs but please remember that the timing of the funeral arrangements maybe subject to the availability of the Church, Clergy, Cemetery, etc. on a particular day and time. It is better to contact them a second time to confirm the arrangements after you have met with us than to have your family and friends make arrangements to attend on a particular day only to have it change. Driving directions are available on this website. We can also provide detailed directions to churches, cemeteries, etc.
- Contact your florist to arrange for flowers.
- Consider arranging for someone to stay in your home during the funeral when you are not there. Although we have not had a family experience a problem recently, it is wise to take precautions.
- You may wish to ask family and friends to act as pallbearers, do readings during church, gift bearers in church, etc. We can also offer you advice on eulogies, personal remembrances, photo displays and other ways that you can make the funeral a special event.
- Arrange for hospitality for the funeral attendees. We can provide direction for you in choosing a place for post funeral luncheons, etc.
- You will want to send an acknowledgment card to those that sent flowers, sympathy cards and mass cards. Remember to make a list of other items people have sent you at home such as food, cards, etc. and also send them an acknowledgment.
- Contact Social Security at 800-772-1213. Social Security will determine if any benefits are to be paid to the surviving spouse or dependent children. We send a notification to Social Security but you should contact them to insure any benefits you may be entitled to. We will help you file for Veterans Benefits if you are eligible.
- Locate the Last Will and Testament. It must be presented to the Surrogate’s Office to begin probate. The County Surrogate’s Office is there to assist you. Most people can probate the Will themselves but you may consider the services of an attorney if you have any doubts about your ability to comply with the probate process. We can recommend an attorney for you do not already have one.
- Carefully check on life insurance policies, pension benefits, fraternal and union benefits. We can assist you with these items if necessary.
- Check promptly on credit cards, installment loans etc. and notify them that the person is deceased and the estate is handling these obligations.
- Ask our staff with any other questions or concerns that you may have during this trying time in your life. We are always here to help.