HOME > RESOURCES > STEPS TO TAKE Steps to Take at the Time of Death
Death is uncertain. The only thing certain about it is that it will happen to us all. It seems that no matter how long we try to prepare for it, we can never be really ready for the death of a loved one.
We have prepared this information so that when that time comes, the tedious tasks involved in arranging the care of your loved one may be a little simpler and less hectic.
Depending on where the death occurs and under what circumstances, this explains what you should do when the death occurs:
The Funeral Arrangement Conference
- Death in an Institution: When the death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff should take care of all necessary legal steps. You just need to notify the medical staff that Ruebel is the funeral home handling arrangements so they can have you sign any necessary release paperwork.
- Anticipated Death at Home: Today, more people with terminal illnesses are electing to die at home under the care of hospice. In this situation, you just need to notify Hospice that Ruebel is the funeral home of your choice, they will then take care of all necessary legal requirements. Many times when someone has a terminal illness, the family will elect to make prearrangements with us so that they are not overwhelmed with the many important decisions at the time of death.
- Unanticipated Death at Home or Elsewhere: In these situations, immediately call 911. The police and emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to be taken. Often, the police can release the human remains directly to our funeral home. However, in certain cases, the body may need to go to the Medical Examiner's office so that they can determine the cause of death.
- Death out of state: If the death occurs outside of Arkansas, you should call us on our toll-fee telephone number - 888-783-2357. We can coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death. Being a member of several national associations, Ruebel often can save families money by having our firm make the arrangements.
The Funeral Arrangement Conference
To assure that one of our funeral directors is immediately available and can devote the personal attention and time needed to make the arrangements, we would request that you call to schedule a mutually convenient arrangement time. Although the vast majority of funeral conferences are handled at our funeral home during normal business hours, we are available to come to your residence or meet in the evenings or weekends. One of our funeral directors is always on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
When you come to the conference, you may want to bring with you the following items:
- Military Discharge Papers (Form DD214)
- Recent Photograph for newspaper & preparation purposes
- Clothing - all normal items including undergarments, other than shoes. For women, an outfit closed at the neckline and long sleeves are preferred.
- Jewelry & personal items - these items can either be brought to the arrangement conference, or on the day of the visitation. Please let us know if you would like any of these items to be returned to you.
At the funeral arrangement conference, if you have not already made prearrangements with Ruebel, our funeral directors will need to obtain some vital information for completing the death certificate. Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents and are issued by the State of Arkansas Vital Statistics offices. Photocopies are not considered legal documents. After the original certificate has been signed by the physician or medical examiner and all vital information completed by our funeral home, it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Fees for certified copies vary from State to State.
During the funeral arrangement conference, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate are needed. As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. Although we try to obtain the certified copies prior to the completion of the funeral service, this is not always possible. In order to assist you in ascertaining the number of certified copies needed, below is a worksheet:
- Each Life Insurance Company
- Motor Vehicles
- Pension, IRA or other retirement benefits
- Probate of Will
- Each bank where account maintained
- Final Tax Return
- Stocks and Bonds
- Your own files
- Real Property
Please note that we will notify Social Security of the death so no death certificate is needed for that purpose.