What to bring with you to the funeral home
There are a number of items that you will need to bring to the funeral home in the days before the funeral service. Bringing as much as possible with you to the arrangement conference will help with the planning process.
- A photo of your loved one to use in their online obituary.
- General information about the deceased (birth date, city and state of birth, Social Security number, parent’s names, educational institutions, marital status)
- Copies of life insurance policies
- Military discharge papers (DD 214 form) if applicable
- Cemetery paperwork if applicable
- Funeral prearrangement paperwork if applicable
- Clothing, undergarments, shoes, glasses (if applicable) and jewelry for your loved one
What to expect at the funeral arrangement conference:
The funeral arrangement conference is the primary planning session for the funeral services for your loved one. Our staff will be in communication with you during the days leading up to your services, to finalize many details, but the majority of decisions will be made at this conference.
You can expect to be at the arrangement conference for approximately one and a half to two hours. During this time we will assist you in creating a service that truly reflects and honors the life of your loved one. We will also help you with selecting merchandise and developing an online memorial to your loved one. Finally, we will discuss your wishes regarding cemetery property and a marker or monument.
Some families choose to have one or two family representatives attend the conference, while other families prefer that everyone be present. We can accommodate whatever meets your needs. If you plan to have more than six family members attending, please let us know in advance so we will be prepared for your arrival.
Many of the details covered in the arrangement conference can be taken care of in advance. Our staff is available to sit down and discuss your wishes ahead of time, whenever is convenient for you. Often, when a death is considered to be imminent by medical professionals, a family will come in to the funeral home and make their selections, reducing the number of decisions that need to be made after the death occurs. For more information, please see our advance planning section.
Applying for benefits
Our staff will file a notice with Social Security that your loved one has died. Please provide your funeral director with your loved one’s Social Security number to begin the process. After the notification, you should contact Social Security to discuss benefits for you and your family. They can be reached at 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a representative, please be sure to call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Benefits vary by a number of conditions, including the age and relation of the surviving family members, and can also change over time. Please review the information and instructions at the Social Security website, www.SocialSecurity.gov for the most up-to-date information.
Veterans, please see our veteran’s benefits page
Filing paperwork with banks, utilities and more.
After the death of a loved one, many families are surprised by the number of individuals and organizations that must be notified in order to claim benefits, change billing addresses or end services
Some of these entities include your loved one’s bank, credit card provider, church, accountant, attorney, estate executor, home, life and health insurance providers, utility companies, phone company, home maintenance providers, physician, dentist, newspaper and magazine subscription offices and government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the US Postal Service, Veterans Administration and the voters’ registration office, and many others.
This can be an overwhelming task, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Our staff can provide you with a Resource Guide with sample letters to all of these entities to assist you in the notifications. The Guide is available in paper or CD format. It will help you work through all of the notifications in an orderly manner, streamlining the process.
You will need a certified copy of your loved one’s death certificate in order to make many of these notifications. Our staff will take care of ordering the certificates from the Office of Vital Statistics and notify you when they are ready. A photo copy of the certificate is often enough for many organizations, but we recommend obtaining several certified copies as a precaution. We can also order more copies to you in the future if necessary.