What to do when somebody dies and you are acting as the funeral director:

I.   If death is unexpected
II. If death is expected

I. If death is unexpected:
Basically this process is the same as if the death was expected, except that a medical examiner must be notified. Call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. If an autopsy is required, tell the coroner that you are acting as the funeral director, and to call you when the body is released.

II. Hospice, hospital, nursing home or at home expected to die:
Make sure everybody understands that the decedent wants a green burial, and has designated someone to handle the burial (act as a funeral director). Make sure everyone involved understands this. Once they understand that, they'll help you do what is required.

Call decedent's doctor's office. If the cause of death is from natural causes, get the name of the person contacted at the physician's office who provided assurance that the physician would complete and sign the medical certification of death on the certificate and the date he/she was contacted. When speaking with the physician or staff in his/her office there are three questions that should be asked. 1.) Will the physician sign the death certificate? 2.) Will the physician be available to sign the medical certification within 72 hours after presented by the acting funeral director? 3.) Is there any reason this death should be reported to the medical examiner for investigation?

The Bureau of Vital Statistics in the county of death will issue a death certificate and a burial-transit permit. You'll need to know the following for the bureau's registrar, who will help you fill out the death certificate. (The record must be typewritten in black ink. Instructions on how to complete the forms are included on the form itself.)

1.  Decedent's name (First, Middle, Last)
2.  Sex of decedent
3.  Date of birth (Month, Day, Year)
4.  Age
5.  Date of Death (Month, Day, Year)
6.  Social security number
7.  Birthplace (City and State, or Foreign Country)
8.  County of death
9.  Place of death
10.City, town, or location of death
11. Marital Status
12. Surviving spouse (If wife, given maiden name)
13. Residence of decedent
14.  Residence--state, county, city, town, or location; street address
15. Occupation and industry of decedent
16. Decedent's race (Specify the race/races to indicate what the decedent considered himself/herself to be. More than one race can be specified)
17. Decedent's education
18. Was decedent ever in the U. S. Armed Forces?
19. Father's and mother's names (First, Middle, Last)
20. Informant's name, address, and relationship to the decedent
21. Place of disposition (name of cemetery, or other place) and location of
place of final disposition.

For an abbreviated but complete, one-page, printable copy click here

© Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve 2005, 2015

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