When Death Occurs
You and your family must make many decisions and gather numerous facts and documents
when a death occurs. We realize this is a very difficult time and want you to know
we are here to help.
Following is some information we hope you will find helpful
as you take care of your loved one's final arrangements.
- Notification of the Proper Authorities
- The Death Certificate
- Preparing for the Arrangements
- Celebrating the Life of the Deceased
- Preplanning Information
If death is expected in the near-term but has not occurred yet, then we encourage
you to make arrangements with us ahead of time. To do this, please call the Duesterberg-Fredrick
Funeral Home of your choice to make an appointment to sit down with a funeral director
ahead of time.
At the time of death, our first priority is to arrange to take custody
and care for the deceased. Depending on where the death occurs and under what circumstances,
the following explains what you should do:
Death in an Institution: When death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical
staff will generally take care of all necessary legal steps. All you would need
to do is notify the staff which Duesterberg-Fredrick Funeral Home (e.g. Duesterberg-Fredrick
Funeral Home or Wampler Shaw Chapel) will be handling arrangements so that they
can have you sign any necessary release paperwork. When death occurs, they will
contact us to make arrangements so that we may assume custody of the deceased.
Anticipated Death at Home: Today, many people choose to be at home with Hospice
or Home Health Care assisting the family until death occurs. In this situation,
you would simply notify Hospice which Duesterberg-Faredrick Funeral Home will be
handling arrangements, and they will take care of all necessary legal requirements
including contacting the attending physician, the Medical Examiner, and finally
the funeral home. Many families facing this situation elect to make a prearrangement
with us so that they are not overwhelmed with the many important decisions associated
with final arrangements.
Unanticipated Death at Home or Elsewhere: In these situations, immediately call
911 emergency services. The police and emergency personnel will then determine the
appropriate steps to be taken. Only when it is appropriate will our firm be contacted
to take custody of the remains.
Death out of state: If death occurs outside of Indiana, please call Duesterberg-Fredrick
Funeral Home (812) 882-8721 or Wampler Shaw Chapel (812) 735-3388. We will coordinate
with a local funeral director at the place of death. By being a member of several
national associations, we can often save money by having our firm make the arrangements.
Perhaps even more important than saving money is selecting a reputable local funeral
home to provide these important services.
There are several other questions that you may have in regards to the death of a
loved one. By contacting the Duesterberg-Fredrick Funeral Home of your choice, we
will assist you in answering any question you have.
The Death Certificate: A death certificate is a legal document signed by the attending
physician indicating the cause of death and other vital statistics pertaining to
the decedent. If your loved one died in an accident, the county medical examiner
or coroner may prepare the form. The funeral arranger can help you prepare and file
the death certificate with the state and assist you with purchasing certified copies.
Certified copies are needed to apply for benefits due the family, to sell or transfer
ownership of property, to gain access to safety deposit boxes and bank accounts
and to receive Veteran's benefits. Additional copies may be ordered at any time
directly from the county or state agency responsible for vital statistics.
Preparing for Arrangements
Funeral Arrangement Conference
To assure that one of our funeral directors is immediately available and can devote
the time and attention needed to make quality arrangements, we request that you
call to schedule a mutually convenient arrangement time. Although the majority of
arrangement conferences take place at one of our funeral homes during normal business
hours, we will upon request come to your residence or meet during evenings and weekends.
Our staff is available to respond to your need 24 hours a day during every day of
In preparation for making funeral arrangements, we request that you bring the following
items, some of which may not be applicable for your situation:
- Vital Statistic Information
- Full Legal Name
- Mother's First and Maiden Name
- Date of Birth
- Years of Education
- Social Security Number
- Immediate Family
- Occupation and details
- Marriage Information
- Military Discharge Papers (Form DD214)
- Recent photograph
- Clothing including all normal items
- Jewelry and personal items if desired
- Insurance Papers (if used to pay for the funeral)
- Cemetery Deed
At the funeral arrangement conference, and providing you have not already made a
prearrangement with us, our funeral director will request vital statistics information
for use in completing the death certificate. With this information, we will administrate
obtaining signature from the certifier (physician or medical examiner) after which
it will be filed with the State of Indiana. During the arrangements process, we
will ask whether you wish to purchase certified copies of the death certificate
that are available from the State at a nominal fee. As a normal part of our service,
we will also file necessary papers with the Social Security Administration and with
the Department of Veterans Affairs (if applicable).
Celebrating the Life of the Deceased
We believe a funeral service should be special and personalized to honor the life
of the deceased, and to create a positive long lasting memory for surviving family.
Towards that end, we strive to provide many options regarding how a family can say
good-bye to their loved one. Regardless of which option a family selects, two important
considerations translate to meaningful funeral service. First and foremost, funeral
services, which incorporate significant personalization celebrating the life of
the deceased, provide significant meaning and comfort to families. Second, funeral
ceremonies benefit the needs of the living, not the deceased. As such, the design
of the funeral service should balance the needs of the living with any wishes expressed
by the deceased. You can expect our funeral director and support staff to assist
you with accomplishing this goal. By having a funeral that celebrates and reflects
on a life well lived, you allow the opportunity for everyone your loved one ever
knew to have a chance to say good bye!
Over the years, we have learned through experience the more a funeral service is
personalized to celebrate the life of a loved one, the more meaningful it becomes
to surviving family members and friends. Please know that it does not matter whether
the service will be large or small, nor does it matter the amount of money spent.
Rather, meaningful funerals incorporate what the deceased was in life, and in this
manner, celebrates a life lived. With this is mind, the following are suggestions
that lend personalization to the funeral service. These suggestions may cause you
to think of several other unique ways to celebrate the life of the deceased, and
we encourage you to challenge us with these requests understanding that we will
make every effort to implement your wishes.
Simple items such as a memory box can be used to rekindle and preserve favorite
memories. For example, family and friends may write a note to say goodbye in their
own way or alternatively place items special to them in the memory box. The memory
box is often placed in the burial or cremation casket with their loved one. We've
often seen young people find meaning in decorating the box so that not only the
items inside but also the decoration outside lend personalization.
Memory Boards and Tables
Memory boards and tables have become a common way to personalize a funeral service.
Photographs and other memorabilia can be displayed at the visitation and service.
These items are often cherished and stimulate positive memories regarding the deceased.
In this way, they also lend comfort to those left behind. We provide families with
poster boards at no extra charge. They can be taken home and decorated with photographs.
Memory table space is also provided to display items of significance.
Personalized Memorial Folders
Memorial Folders have traditionally been used at memorial or funeral services. By
personalizing the memorial folder with photos, verses or special sayings, the memorial
folder becomes a keepsake for those who want to preserve cherished memories of someone
Personal Funeral Service
Other ways to personalize the funeral service, memorial gathering or visitation
include music. We encourage you to incorporate the favorite song/artist of the deceased.
All we need is a compact disc or cassette containing the music desired. If your
loved one had a hobby or was involved in the arts, crafts or photography, bring
some of their work to be displayed at the visitation or funeral service. If your
loved one enjoyed favorite scripture or other writings, please advise us so that
we can suggest ways to incorporate this into the service. Consider incorporating
eulogies into the funeral service. Often times, close friends or family know the
deceased better than the presiding clergy and as such can better reflect on the
life of the deceased in a more personal way. After all, who better to speak about
the deceased that someone who knew the deceased on a personal basis. In processing
to the cemetery, consider a favorite place your loved one liked to go, or someplace
of significance to the life lived. With this input, we can often arrange to have
the procession pass by this place.
We have found that part of the stress families feel when making funeral arrangements
is the time pressure and unfamiliarity with the task. By making funeral arrangements
in advance, there is no time pressure, which allows you the customer the opportunity
to make better decisions regarding your funeral arrangements. Also, we find that
family members appreciate knowing the wishes of their relative, relieving them of
the burden of making those decisions. Sometimes, prearranging is beneficial when
one's family structure is complicated and as such, knowing who might act as the
decision maker is not easily known. Prearranging is popular, with as many as half
of our customers making arrangements ahead of time.
The reasons people prearrange
- Relieves surviving family members of the emotional burden associated with making
funeral arrangement decisions.
- By prepaying funeral expenses, it relieves surviving members of the financial burden
associated with funeral final expenses.
- Protects assets from confiscation due to long-term care expenses.
- Allows a less stressful environment in which one can make important decisions.
- Provides a record of your wishes that will be accessible by surviving family members.
- Allow surviving family members to concentrate on the memories of a lifetime rather
than the details surrounding death.
- Allows the customer to determine exactly how much to spend for funeral services.
- Transfers the risk of inflation of funeral costs to the funeral home.
- Reduces the opportunity for intra-family conflict regarding funeral arrangement
- Offers the opportunity to pay for funeral expenses in installments.
Why do we recommend prearrangement? Because we've never had a family tell us that
they regretted that they had prearranged. Conversely, we do serve families ill prepared
when death occurs, causing potentially great burden, both emotional and financial,
to surviving family members.
What about portability and other possibilities? While all who purchase plans from
us intend to use our firm, certain contingent factors could arise that could cause
them to change their mind. For example, they could unexpectedly move to another
part of the country and perhaps change their view of returning to this area, even
after death. To protect our customers and possible contingencies, all monies normally
available to us at death can be redirected for use at any funeral home nationwide.
No penalty is deducted from available funds nor is any reduction of growth of the
policy held back should the customer desire to use another funeral home. Our business
philosophy is summed up in a No Regrets Service Guarantee, and we want the same
to apply to those purchasing a prearrangement plan from us, even if ultimately they
do not use our firm.
How do I prearrange?
We will assist you with making your funeral arrangements in advance. There is no
cost or pressure associated with making advance plans, and it is possible to put
significant biographical and arrangements information on file with us without pre-paying
for your funeral expenses. Towards this end, we desire to educate you on the options
available so that you can make intelligent decisions regarding what is best for
you and your family. To arrange for an appointment or to ask questions regarding
this service, please call the Duesterberg-Fredrick Funeral Home (812) 882-8721 or
the Wampler Shaw Chapel (812) 735-3388 or contact us via email.