When A Death Occurs, What Do I Do?

At Home Or Work

    If death occurs unexpectedly, the police must be notified by calling 911. If the person who died was under medical care, you should contact the primary care physician. (If you don’t know the physician’s name, look for medical records, bills, or prescription bottles.) You can also call a funeral home of your choice and they can advise you about the proper authorities to contact.

If in any case you are not sure of who to notify or what to do, you may call (650) 755-4700, and we'll assist you in notifying the proper agencies.

While In A Hospital Or Nursing Home

When a death occurs in a care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, the professional staff will notify you and the necessary authorities. If the name of the funeral home has been left with them, the institution will notify the funeral home at the time of the death. The funeral director will contact you immediately following their notification to help you proceed. (However, we suggest you contact the funeral home immediately, so you've got the reassurance you need that all is taken care of properly.)

If a loved one was in the care of a hospice program, a hospice representative will give family members instructions and procedures to follow. The coroner/medical examiner will be notified by hospice. Following their release the hospice will contact the funeral home. It is always a good idea for the family to contact us immediately so that we will be aware of the pending call from hospice.

While Under Hospice Care

If a loved one was in the care of a hospice program, a hospice representative will give family members instructions and procedures to follow. The coroner/medical examiner will be notified by hospice. Following their release the hospice will contact the funeral home. It is always a good idea for the family to contact the funeral home immediately so that they will be aware of the pending call from hospice.

What to Expect When You Arrive at the Funeral Home

One of the first things the funeral arranger will do is to provide you with a general price list. He or she will then guide you through the entire arrangement process, explaining how you can create a memorable personal celebration of your loved one's life. This is not a one-way conversation; they want to hear your ideas and desires, and use them as the foundation for the arrangement process.

This process may include:

  • - Preparing and filing the official death certificate
  • - Scheduling the clergy and the location of the service
  • - Selecting a casket, urn or other items
  • - Preparing an obituary notice
  • - Scheduling for the Tahara (ritual washing) and/or a Shomer
  • - Selecting pallbearers


You may also sign necessary authorizations or make arrangements to have them signed by the appropriate family members.

The following checklist will help you remember what information about the decedent and items will be needed when meeting with a funeral arranger.

- Full legal name- Home address

- Social Security number

- Date of birth

- Place of birth

- Father's name and place of birth

- Mother's maiden name and place of birth

- Veteran's discharge papers (DD-214)

- Recent Photograph

- Highest level of education

- Occupation

- Place of burial

- Clothing (if you chose not to go with the traditional burial shrouds)

- Clergy name and phone number

- Survivors (name and relationship)

- Insurance policies (if applicable)