Many people have questions during this difficult time. We want to make sure you have all of the information you need to make informed decisions. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us, and we will help you in any that we can.
The following information is provided to give you an idea of the steps you should take in the event of a loss.
Click on the questions below to reveal each respective answer.
If a death occurs at a home, hospital room, nursing center, or hospice, you need to let an emergency medical technician, police officer, nurse, or skilled attendant help you to notify your funeral director. They can then advise the director as to when they should arrive to take your loved one back to the funeral home for proper care.
It is very important for you to also consider if you want your loved one embalmed or if cremation might be your intention.
Except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. Embalming may be necessary, however, if you select certain funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with a viewing. If you do not want to embalm, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it, such as direct cremation or immediate burial.
You should also contact your clergy for spiritual support. Along with your funeral director, both can effectively plan the details for your service like time and place of receiving, the actual ceremony, and/or graveside arrangements.
Have a close family member or friend help you make a list of outer family members, other friends, your employer, and others you feel need to be notified. Ask others in your family to help contact those on the list. Also, ask family members to help answer phone calls and greet visitors who may come to the residence to pay their respects. You may want to record each encounter in a guest register.
You should know the birth date, birthplace, names of father and mother, Social Security number, Veteran's discharge or claim number, marital status, and education history. Any or all of this information will be needed to comply with state laws regarding death certificates. The funeral home can help you determine how many copies of the death certificate (presently $10.00 per certificated copy in North Carolina) you will need and can order for you. It is strongly advisable to put this information in a special protective location (fireproof safe) so that it can be retrieved quickly when needed.
The essential information for the obituary would include age, place of birth, length of illness, occupation with years of service, civic or church involvement, educational background, a list of surviving family members, the time and place of visitation, services, and burial as appropriate. We would strongly recommend that you make short biographical notes about the person before visiting with your funeral director to use if he prepares the obituary.
If you decide to create the obituary yourself, please try to e-mail it or bring a copy of it to the funeral home so that it can be properly amended to the specifications of the various newspapers you may want it placed in. We can scan your photographs to be used with obituaries as well as use them in customized memorial folders or a DVD.
If you would just call or e-mail us, we would like to assist you with pre-information before your visit with the funeral director. You should also arrange care for the household including meals, child care, and cleaning.
Also, don't forget to arrange for a neighbor or friend to stay at the house while you are away at the funeral service and visitation.
Cremation is a personal choice for a family. We, at Whitley's, have assembled information and comments from people all over America as to various ways cremation can be handled with respect and honor. There is a twenty-four hour waiting period in North Carolina before cremation can take place.
First, you can have direct cremation whereby families elect no viewing, then cremation is arranged.
Second, direct cremation services can have additional services whereby families can have a memorial service arranged at a church, funeral home chapel, graveside, or private residence. Many of these families may even have a visitation period at the funeral home or home where the urn, pictures, video presentation, etc. are used to honor the life that has been lived.
Third, families can have a traditional funeral service with embalming and the use of a minimum/cremation casket with a physical viewing and funeral service. Cremation is then arranged with the cremains returned to the family, burial at a cemetery, or scattered in an appropriate place.