What to Do Next: FAQs about Death and Funerals

When a loved one dies, there are suddenly many decisions to make and questions to answer. It can feel overwhelming and you may not know where to start. This helpful list of frequently asked questions will guide you as you navigate this difficult and unfamiliar terrain.  

  • What do I do when a death occurs? Call us immediately at (650) 227-3142. We’re here to help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we will make arrangements so that we can begin caring for your loved one.  
  • What information do I need to have when I call? You’ll need the full legal name, birthday and social security number of the person who has died, the location of the death, whether the person was under the care of a hospice or physician, the name and relationship of the next of kin, and whether your loved one is ready to be transferred to our care.  
  • What if I can’t remember everything discussed in that initial phone call? Our licensed experts will help you every step of the way and will send you an email with relevant information as soon as your call has ended.  
  • What is an arrangement conference? This is a meeting during which the funeral director will help you file any necessary paperwork and make arrangements for your loved one’s funeral service and burial or cremation.  
  • What should my loved one wear, and who is responsible for gathering that clothing? There are no hard and fast rules about what the deceased should wear, but typically, you’ll want to choose a long-sleeved outfit that will make your loved one look comfortable and natural. You will need to gather everything that your loved one would normally need when getting dressed, including underwear and dentures, and bring it all to the arrangement conference.  
  • Is it necessary to have a viewing or visitation? Whether you have a viewing or visitation for your loved one is up to you, but many people feel it’s a good way to give people an opportunity to pay their respects and to bring closure to family members.  
  • Why have a funeral? Funerals give friends and family members a way to honor the life of the person they loved, share their thoughts and feelings, support one another, and begin to heal. Whether you choose a funeral service immediately following a death or a memorial service some time down the road, it’s important to have that ritual to help bring closure and healing. 
  • What do I do if I don’t know how to plan a funeral and my loved one left no instructions? The caring, competent professionals on our staff are knowledgeable and experienced and can guide you through every step of the process.  

At Skylawn Memorial Park, we’ve been helping families face the death of a loved one since 1959. Whether you have an immediate need or you’d like to preplan for your own end-of-life arrangements to relieve the burden from your family, we can help. Call us at (650) 227-3142 for more information or visit our Plan Ahead page to request your preplanning guide.

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