A Checklist When Death Occurs
If the death has not yet occured please check out our pre-arrangement/pre-planning page
for information on advanced arrangement for funerals and
which includes a link to our Advanced Planning Information System which gives an extensive
planning sheet for information that would be needed/useful when a death occurs.
If the death has already occured here is a quick checklist:
- Contact the funeral home. The funeral home will help coordinate many items and give you advice. They will
arrange to pickup the body after the proper release forms have been signed. If you previously made cemetery arrangements
the funeral home will help, or if you have not previously made interment arrangements the funeral home can assist as well.
- Contact your rabbi. He/she will advise you on the religious traditions you may wish to observe and synagogue
services or memorials.
- Obtain death certificates.The funeral home will assist you. A doctor or coroner must certify the cause of death.
Some information needed to complete most states vital statistic requirements:
- Death Date/Time
- Death place (city/county)
- Birth Date
- Father's Name
- Mother's Maiden Name
- Social Security Number
- Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number
- Marital Status
- Select pallbearers.
- Determine obituary information. This includes age, common residence(s), place of birth, cause of death, occupation,
education/schools attended, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, and a list of survivors in immediate family.
Specify a charity(s) to which gifts may be made. The funeral home will normally compile the information and submit it to
newspapers along with the scheduled time and place of services.
- Determine who should be notified of death. Make a list of family members, close friends, employer or business
colleagues, or anyone you believe should be notified or may want to attend the service. Notify each by phone. Prepare a list
of out of area people to be notified by letter and/or printed notice, and decide which to send to each.
- Arrange a coordinator for condolences/memorials. Arrange for someone to answer door or phone, noting calls
and memorial gifts, coordinating shiva contributors, house cleaning, etc.
- Help visitors. Coordinate the supplying of food for the next several days, arrange for child care, if necessary,
arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.
- Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.
- Notify insurance companies. Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social
Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military/Veterans Adminstration. Check also on income for survivors from
- Notify Benefits/Billing Companies. If Social Security checks are automatically deposited notify the bank of
the death. 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.
- Close accounts/change address. Notify utilities, landlord, credit card companies, banks, magazines, clubs/memberships,
etc and tell post office where to send mail.
- Send acknowledgments. Send appropriate acknowledgments to people who have sent sympathies, attended the funeral,
made charitable contributions, and to those who have given their time and assistance.
The Funeral Director will prepare Social Security Form SSA 721 to see that the deceased social security number is retired.
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