Who do I contact when a death occurs?
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One of the most common concerns among people we meet at Santa Cruz Watsonville Cremation & Burial Service is who to call when a loved one dies. The answer can vary depending upon the circumstances surrounding the nature of the death, but usually falls into one of two categories.
For example, when a person dies after a prolonged illness and has been under the regular care of a licensed physician, regardless if the person dies at; home, hospital or convalescent hospital, the funeral home can be called directly and can respond to take custody of the deceased. The funeral director and staff will then begin the process of completing and filing a death certificate within the county of death. The family can meet with an arrangement counselor to discuss their preferences and finalize the arrangements.
The other situation is when a person dies with no previous illness or as the result of an accident or other form of unexpected death. In those circumstances it is necessary to contact the county coroner. In most cases the coroner’s office will dispatch an official to take custody of the deceased and begin an inquiry into the cause of death. Once the coroner has concluded the inquiry, the family may select a funeral home to assist them. The funeral director will then arrange for the release and transportation of the deceased, the completion of the death certificate and coordination of the family’s preferences.
Even though these regulations may seem simple enough, the complexities can be daunting, when dealing with the stress and emotions of a loved one’s death. Your funeral director and the funeral home staff are trained to know just what to do and how to navigate through all of the complexities. Should you have questions or need our help, the dedicated staff at Santa Cruz Watsonville Cremation & Burial Service is here to assist you, when you need us.
Who prepares the death certificate?
There is often confusion after a loved one has died over who is responsible to provide the death certificate. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation concerning this question. The families we meet often think that the hospital, the physician or possibly even hospice will provide the certificate of death. Even though there can be special exceptions, that belief is largely inaccurate. The funeral home and funeral director are responsible to prepare the original death certificate and to arrange for the filing of the death certificate within the county of death. Once a family has chosen a funeral home, they will meet with the funeral director to provide pertinent information about the deceased and discuss other details about the arrangements they wish to make. This will include information such as name, place and date of birth, social security number and other vital statistics information. The funeral director will then contact the attending physician to obtain the medical information including the cause of death and duration of illness. Once all of the vital statistic and medical information have been collected by the funeral director, the original death certificate will be produced for final certification by the physician. Once signed, the funeral director will present the death certificate to the county health department for filing and issuance of the permit for disposition. Today, much of this process is done over an internet based system known as the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) sponsored by the state of California. It is important to note that state law requires that a death certificate must be filed within eight days of the date of death and before completing the final disposition of the deceased.
Even though this process may seem simple enough, the complexities can be daunting when dealing with the stress and emotions of a loved one’s death. Your funeral director and the funeral home staff are trained to know just what to do and how to navigate through all of the complexities. Should you have questions or need our help, the dedicated staff at Santa Cruz Watsonville Cremation & Burial Service is here to assist you when you need us.