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What to Do When a Loved One Passes: Tips for Coping

Funeral Arrangements in Middletown, NJ Made Easier

A death in the family is a daunting time for most individuals. It brings a plethora of raw emotions and memories to the surface and a zillion things to organize. John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, Inc. recognizes that making funeral arrangements is a sensitive time for many Middletown, NJ families. Our funeral directors and staff have gathered some helpful tips for coping, including a step-by-step guide for what to do when a loved one passes. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. We’re here to help you in your time of need with the funeral, burial, and cremation services at affordable prices.

First and Foremost, You’ll Need to Report the Death

The proper authorities must be notified to obtain a legal death certificate, which is required to begin all funeral arrangements. If your loved one passes away in a hospital or hospice care, the attending physicians will take care of it for you. However, if your loved one passes away at home, you’ll need to call 911. Be sure to obtain multiple copies of the death certificate, as everyone from the funeral home to the deceased’s bank and the insurance company will need this when handling their estate and other affairs. You’ll also need to verify if the deceased was an organ donor, so that those preparations can be made as soon as possible. You should be able to find this information on their driver’s license or in their advance directive. Be sure to make arrangements for the care of any pets, plants, or dependents.

Select an Experienced Funeral Director & Home to Work With

While this may sound like we’re tooting our own horn a little bit, we cannot stress enough how valuable working with an experienced funeral director and home is when making funeral arrangements. Once you’ve reported the death, you’ll need to make plans to transport the body for an autopsy, embalming, and mortuary services. It usually takes a funeral home to claim the body for burial or cremation. If your loved one didn’t already invest in pre-planning services with a funeral home, it will be up to you to call around and check online reviews to find the right funeral director and home for your needs and budget.

Begin Making the Funeral Arrangements as Soon as Possible

Regardless of which funeral home you choose, the next step will be determining what type of service is most appropriate to honor your loved one’s wishes and memory. You’ll need to decide if the body will be buried or cremated so that the preparations can be made as soon as possible. If the deceased didn’t already purchase a cemetery plot or space in a mausoleum, you’ll need to make cemetery arrangements as well. The funeral home will help you compare various funeral costs. Be sure to contact the deceased’s insurance company and check into any relevant employment benefits. If your loved one was a military veteran, you should also investigate veterans’ benefits and funeral honors.

Once those decisions are made, you’ll then need to think about the tone of service and a suitable location and officiant. Some funerals involve memorial services and viewings ahead of the formal ceremony, as well as graveside services at the chosen cemetery or mausoleum followed by a reception or gathering with food. If you decide on viewing with an open casket, most funeral homes will require the body to be embalmed. Because you’ll also need to decide on a casket, cremation urn, grave marker, transportation of the body, flowers, and other considerations, you’ll want to begin making the funeral arrangements soon. When you work with our funeral home, we’re here to help you. Remember to give yourself the time and space to grieve – you don’t have to bear the weight of the funeral arrangement responsibilities solely on your shoulders. Whenever possible, designate tasks to your support network.

Notify Others of the Death and Prepare to Write an Obituary

You’ll need to notify others of the death, including close family, friends, and neighbors, as well as the deceased’s employer, doctor, bank, and insurance company. The post office, social security office, mortgage company, and credit reporting agencies also need to be notified. This may require you to go through the deceased’s contacts and personal effects. If they owned property, you’ll want to ensure it’s secure until it can be dealt with or sold. You may need to meet with a probate attorney, as well as inventory or transfer assets. You’ll also want to gather information and photos for an obituary, or death notice placed in your local newspaper and on the funeral home’s website, to notify people when the services will be held. This information will also be helpful when you create funeral programs or tribute displays to be viewed during the service.

Tips for Customizing Your Loved One’s Funeral or Memorial Service

One of the best ways to help you cope and come to terms with the death will be customizing the funeral or memorial service in a way that’s befitting of your loved one’s memory. Choosing an officiant from their church or synagogue and an eloquent speaker who knew them well to deliver the eulogy will bring you peace of mind. Selecting songs or readings that had special meaning to the deceased and your family will also help bring closure during the service. There’s no right or wrong way to plan a memorial service program or celebration of life service. Just about everything can be customized. Many families also purchase a guestbook, so they can remember who attended the service long after.

Contact Our All-Faiths Funeral Home in Middletown, NJ Today

If you’re struggling with what to do when a loved one passes, contact our all-faiths funeral home in Middletown, NJ for expert assistance. John F. Pfleger Funeral Home, Inc. is here to help any way we can.

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