Points to discuss with your family, your attorney, or executor:
- Filing of all life insurance claims.
- Updating bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and financial portfolio.
- Changing auto and property titles.
- Contacting Social Security to change benefits and file for death benefits.
- Contacting the Veteran’s Administration and/or Railroad Retirement, if applicable.
- Contacting place of employment or union about possible benefits.
Assistance available through our funeral home:
- Additional Death Certificates (needed for settling insurance claims, etc)
- Additional Acknowledgement Cards
- Help completing VA benefit forms.
- Helping you make your own prearrangements.
- Marker selection and engraving.
- Additional cemetery information.
- Grief Recovery resources.
Helpful Instructions and Useful Phone Numbers:
- Contacting Social Security
The number for the Social Security Administration office is (800)772-1213 or online at www.ssa.gov. Benefits include a one-time benefit to the surviving spouse or dependent children. If applying for benefits other than death, you may need a birth certificate and/or marriage license.
- Contacting the Veteran’s Administration
The number for the Veterans Affairs Department of Benefits Information and Assistance, 2901 Montopolis, Austin, TX is (800)827-1000 or online at www.va.gov.
- Regarding Banking Information
Make a request for release from each bank or financial institution in which the deceased and you held a joint account. The bank will tell you what forms you may need to sign
- About Titles, Deeds, and Registrations
Before you change the deed on any property and remove the deceased’s name, check with local officials where the property is located. You’ll need a copy of the Death Certificate for this process. The same is true for changing titles and registrations on vehicles.
- Gathering Bills and Credit Obiligations
Do a thorough job gathering outstanding bills and credit obligations, like loans and credit cards. In some cases with installment loans and credit cards, you may be covered by credit life insurance which will pay off the account balance in the event of death.
- Review your own insurance needs
With the passing of a spouse of other loved one, your insurance needs may change. You don’t want to be overinsured or underinsured. Talk to a trusted advisor about what is appropriate and make the necessary adjustments.
What To Do When Death Occurs
Contact the funeral home as soon as a death has occurred. A time will be set up with the funeral director to come in and make arrangements. The funeral home will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery, church and clergy.
You will need to provide the following information to complete the State of Oklahoma vital statistic requirements for the death certificate.
- Full Name of Deceased
- Birth Date
- Birthplace-City and State
- Father’s Name
- Mother’s Name (including maiden)
- Social Security Number
- Discharge papers, if veteran
- Spouse’s name (maiden name)
- Place of Burial or Disposition
- Education Level
A Brief Checklist
- The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates you will need and we will get these for you.
- Contact immediate family, close friends and employer or business colleagues.
- Locate deceased’s prepaid funeral contract and insurance policies.
- Gather obituary information, including college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, list of survivors in immediate family. The funeral home will normally wirte the article and submit to local newspapers. Please be aware that local newspapers may charge for this service.
- Serenity Funeral Home will notify Social Security for you. **The $255 dollar death benefit is payable ONLY if there is a surviving spouse, or a child under 18 or a disabled child. You will need to call Social Security in a week or so to apply for this and other benefits.
- If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death.
- Arrange for members of family of close friends to take answering door or phone, keep record of calls. Try not to leave the home unattended during this time, including during the services.
- Consider specials needs of the household, such as cleaning or shopping for items such as trash bags or paper goods, which might be done by friends.
- Arrange for childcare, if necessary.
- Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.
- Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home.
- Plan for disposition of flowers after funeral. Normally all cut flower arrangements are left at the graveside and the cards are delivered to the family
- Prepare list of distant persons to be notified by letter and/or printed notice, and decide which to send to each.
- Send appropriate acknowledgements to those who have sent flowers, brought food, or gave their time to be of service (can be a written note or printed ackowledgments). It is not necessary to send an acknowledgement card to every person who signed the register. You may if you wish, but people do not expect to be acknowleged for simply signing the registry. They don’t want to cause an added burden.
- Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.
- Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check also on income for survivors from the sources.
- 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.
- If deceased was living alone, notify utilities and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail.
Is an Internet community of persons dealing with grief, death, and major loss. We have almost 60 e-mail support groups and two web sites.
Was created to provide you with bereavement resources, memorial products and links that can help you through your personal loss. It also serves as an excellent educational tool for all who travel down the road of grief.
Provides information on how to handle to death of a loved one. They cover many topics from legal issues to dealing with personal grief.
The Centering Corporation
Is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and resources for the bereaved. Centering was founded in 1977 by Joy and Dr. Marvin Johnson.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS )
A national non-profit organization made up of, and providing services to, all those who have lost a loved one while serving in the Armed Forces.
Yourself and Grief
Someone you loved has passed away, times are difficult and you are faced with the need to mourn. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death of your loved one. It is an essential part of healing and saying good-bye. The articles below provide suggestions on how to move toward healing during your journey of grief.
- Helping Yourself Heal When Someone Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal When Your Parent Dies
- Helping Yourself When A Baby Dies
- Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season
- Helping Dispel 5 Common Myths About Grief
- Helping Yourself Live When You Are Seriously Ill
- HelpingYourself Live When You Are Dying
Others and Grief
If you know someone who has experienced the death of a loved one and want to know how to help them. The articles listed below provide suggestions for helping others with their grief.
- Helping a Friend in Grief
- Helping a Man Who is Grieving
- Helping a Friend Who is Dying
- Helping a Friend Who is Seriously Ill
- Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
- Helping a Homicide Survivor Heal
- Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving
- Helping AIDS Survivors Heal
- Helping SIDS Survivors Heal
- Helping Your Family When a Member is Dying
- Helping Your Family When a Member is Seriously Ill
- Helping Your Family Cope When A Pet Dies
Grieving Children and Teenagers
Children and teenagers have special needs following the death of a parent, family member or friend. The articles below provide wonderful insight in helping children and teens mourn, express their grief and understand their grief.
- Helping Children Cope with Grief
- My Grief Rights: Ten Healing Rights for Grieving Children
- Helping Teenages Cope with Grief
- Helping Infants and Toddlers When Somone They Love Dies
- Helping Children with Funerals
- Helping a Child Who is Seriously Ill
- Helping a Child Who is Dying
- Helping Grieving Children at School
- Helping Bereaved Siblings Heal
Related Topics: Funerals, Memorials and Cremations
The time following your loved ones death can be filled with decisions, sadness and confusion. The articles below can help you understand the importance of the rituals surrounding death.
- Helping Your Family Personalize the Funeral
- Helping Create a Meaningful Eulogy
- Ten Freedoms for Creating a Meaningful Funeral
- Why is the Funeral Ritual Important?
What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grieving process.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters, they have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming is the temporary preservation and sanitation of the deceased’s remains. Embalming is not required by state law except when a viewing is planned. It may also be required when the deceased is to be transported from one state to another state by common carrier.
Why are funerals so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding cost at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.
Can I make funeral arrangements before I die?
Yes. Today, prearranging and prepayment of funerals are becoming more common. It not only relieves loved ones of the stress of having to make difficult decisions at an emotional time, but it also allows you to insure that your personal wishes are carried out. Furthermore, you can guarantee the cost of your funeral and guard against funeral cost increases by prearranging.
What happens if I am still paying on a prearrangement plan and I die?
If you have chosen an insurance product to fund the prearrangement, the balance will be automatically paid. If a funeral trust is chosen, the family must pay the balance. There are advantages and disadvantages to both payment options, but all of them can be addressed at the prearrangement conference so that you can make the best possible decision.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Most funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If a loved one dies out of state, can the local funeral home still help?
Yes, they can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the deceased to another state or from another state.
Can I have a funeral or a viewing if I want cremation?
Yes, viewing can precede the actual cremation. Your funeral home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with cremation following or a memorial service.