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What To Do If Death Occurs At Home

If the person who died was elderly or ill and was recently treated by a doctor, your first call should be to that doctor—he or she may be able to determine the cause and time of death and begin the process of issuing a death certificate.

When To Call 911

If the death was unexpected or if there was anything unusual or suspicious about the manner of death (including suicide), you should immediately call 911. The body will likely be taken to the local morgue for an autopsy or other forensic investigation.

As rules for doctors’ authority can vary from state to state, it is always appropriate to call 911 to report a death.

Working With A Funeral Director To Complete The Death Certificate

Your second call should be to a funeral home to engage the services of a licensed funeral director in order to complete the death certificate and remove the body from the home.

To find a funeral home, use our resource Guide: Finding a Funeral Home.

State-By-State Health, Legal, And End-Of-Life Resources

Funeral Planning

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