The most common question funeral directors hear from people who are planning funeral arrangements in advance is “What do we do when the death actually occurs?” The simplest answer to this question is ”Call the funeral home.” We recommend this because there are several different notifications that must take place depending on the circumstances surrounding the death.
If your loved one is in a care facility such as a hospital or nursing home, the staff at the facility will assist you in the process. If death occurs at home, the local Coroner's Office or the police must be notified. In this case, you can call the funeral home and they will make the necessary notifications for you or you can call the police and they will be aware of what to do to help you. When a death occurs at home and the person who died has not been under the routine care of a doctor, do not become alarmed if the police department sends an officer to your home. This is common, and is intended to rule out any foul play. When a person dies and no doctor has been treating that person, the Coroner's office may conduct a postmortem examination that could include an autopsy, prior to releasing the person the care of the funeral home.