Arrangements After a Death
In the days and weeks after a death many things seem to need your attention. It can be overwhelming. Feelings of confusion and anxiety are common. It is important that you care for yourself and ask for the help you need at this time.
Do not forget about yourself as you attend to the tasks below:
Sharing the news of the death with different people is often done in stages, with the timing based on how close they were to the deceased and how soon a planned funeral or memorial service will take place.
People to contact in the first stage usually include family and friends, the deceased’s congregation, lawyers and accountants who handled the deceased’s affairs, and associations and organizations where the deceased was a member. Seeking the help of friends and family members to make these calls is often helpful.
Referring to the address book of the deceased (in paper and on the computer) is a good way to check that you have not missed important people who should be notified. An obituary in the local or regional newspaper can serve as notice to others.
In the weeks ahead, you will need to contact banks, insurance companies and other institutions to settle legal and financial matters.
Some people have made funeral arrangements in advance – often as part of estate planning. It may be a list of general instructions or detailed, prepaid arrangement with a funeral home and a pre-paid burial plot.
Others leave it to family to attend to these matters after their death. If you do not know if arrangements have been made, and you are the person responsible for making decisions in these matters, try to locate where information may have been kept.
You will likely already have identified a funeral home to remove the body from the place of death. Licensed funeral homes are the only entities in New York State that are permitted to handle the disposal of a body. If circumstances did not involve the disposal of a body, you can still contact a local funeral home to assist you with many tasks. Funeral homes provide support and help in many areas in addition to transporting the body. Most families choose to use at least some of their services. Schedule an appointment to discuss your needs. Services provided by funeral homes. Independent funeral homes in Westchester, listed by town.
Before you meet with the funeral home, try to understand from existing paperwork or other family members what plans the deceased may have had for burial or cremation and any funeral or memorial services. If there is no available information, talk with other members of the family, the executor and/or clergy to develop a plan.
When you speak with the funeral home staff, they will ask for information about the deceased, including date of birth, city of birth, occupation, veteran status, and surviving family members names. They may ask you to bring in clothing and other accessories for preparing the body for burial or cremation. It is a good idea to bring a friend or family member to the meeting with the funeral home and to have a notebook to write down information.
Information regarding legal and financial matters that need to be attended to including:
- Dispersal of the deceased’s property and possessions
- Contacting institutions and others involved with the finances of the deceased
- Continuing the financial obligations of the deceased