What to Do When Death Occurs

What to Do When Death Occurs

When a death occurs in your family, notify Berge-Pappas-Smith Chapel of the Angels by calling 510-656-1226.

You will be faced with important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time.  Our caring staff 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. We will coordinate all these with you.

  1. After a death has occurred, notify Berge-Pappas-Smith Chapel of the Angels by calling 510-656-1226. The following are some questions that we may ask when you call:
    • What is the full name of the your loved one?
    • What is the location of your loved one (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
    • What is your name, address and telephone number?
    • What is the name, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
    • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan? (If yes, what is the plan name or number?)

      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 your loved one
      • Social security number of your loved one
      • Their birth date and city and state of birth
      • Their parents names, including mother’s maiden name
      • Information about their education
      • Marital status
      • Veteran’s discharge papers or Claim Number
      • A recent photograph of your loved one
      • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
      • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
  2. Contact your clergy. Decide on a time and place for the funeral or memorial service (the services may be held at the funeral home).
  3. Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school)
  4. Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, 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)
  5. If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death
  6. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers)
  7. Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
  8. Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be notified by letter and/or printed notice
  9. Notify insurance companies of the death
  10. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail
  14. We will assist you in preparing the necessary Social Security forms.

Please know you are not alone. Our caring staff are experts at helping you and your family navigate the planning process. We are available at anytime, please call 510-656-1226 for assistance.

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