Primary Goal of this Step
You need to engage a funeral director to complete the death certificate and properly transport and store the remains. Most hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices require the removal of the body within a few hours after death.
In order to choose the right funeral director and get the process moving forward, you will have to be prepared to answer a number of tough questions about the ultimate disposition of the body (burial or cremation) and what type of funeral service you would like.
Important Tasks: Prepare to Call & Hire a Funeral Director
Find pre-existing funeral plans
If the person who died made funeral plans before death, you should work directly with the particular funeral home or crematory that he or she selected. Make sure that any pre-payments do not get double charged to you.
Decide on burial or cremation (you need to make this choice in order to complete all the following tasks)
When death occurs, you must choose a final disposition for the body. This disposition, often referred to as interment, generally takes the form of either burial or cremation.
Decide on the type of funeral service
If you’d to have a service before the body is buried or cremated, you'll be having a funeral. If you’d like to have a service after the body has been buried or cremated, you'll be having a memorial service. If you'd like the funeral service to happen at the gravesite, you'll be having a graveside service.
Decide where the funeral service (and burial, if appropriate) will take place
You will need to choose a location for the service (funeral home, church, synagogue, etc.) and burial (cemetery), if appropriate. If the death occurred far away from where the funeral (and burial) will occur, you will need to work with a funeral director in the place the person died as well as a funeral director at the destination to make transportation arrangements. Typically you will start with the destination funeral director and he or she will recommend when/how to engage the local funeral director.
Now you’ll know what kind of funeral director you’ll need to call
Depending on what you chose above, the typical options are:
• Funeral followed by burial - Contact a funeral director at funeral home
• Funeral followed by cremation - Contact a funeral director at funeral home
• Direct burial, memorial service later - Contact a funeral director at funeral home
• Direct cremation, memorial service later - Contact a funeral director at a crematory or funeral home