When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one.  When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.  The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.

When death occurs at home or a place of business

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the medical examiner.  From there the medical examiner will take the body and determine whether further action is necessary.  The medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice or palliative care, contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow. The home nursing staff and palliative care workers are all experienced in the protocol and procedures of a death at home. If you have a family member in a palliative care situation, please ask the nursing staff to initiate the procedures necessary with our funeral home. We work hard to make sure if a death occurs at home that is expected, that your expectations are met and the transfer of your loved one is respectful and dignified without any problems.

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the funeral home after a death has occurred.  If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death.  If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements, however, if you are not present a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements. Unfortunately in today's busy world, sometimes the hospitals do not contact the funeral home to notify us of the death; if several hours pass and you feel you should have been contacted by our office, please feel free to contact us immediately so we are made aware of the passing of your loved one. Contact Us

Informing a Funeral Director

Once you feel you are ready to speak about funeral arrangements, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director.  Funeral directors are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport the body, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.  The funeral director will also help you with CPP/OAS and many other aspects of the business affairs of the estate of the deceased. Funeral Directors are registered Commissioners of Oaths for the province of Nova Scotia, should you require documentation certified legal documents at no charge. Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.

Meeting a Funeral Director

You should contact the funeral director right away, but the meeting with a funeral director can be arranged for, within a day or two of a death to begin to make final arrangements for your loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues, and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Making Arrangements

First the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate.  This includes:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Marital Status
  • Social Insurance Number and Nova Scotia Health Card Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name) and their birth places
  • Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
  • Occupation and Employer

The funeral director will also need pertinent documents required to do all the legal paperwork, those documents may include:

  • Last Will - indicating the name of the Executor
  • Beneficiary Designations

Unfortunately, although the Privacy Act provides security of individual information, it does inhibit the funeral home from being able to assist with many pieces of businesses.

If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service.  These include:

  • Scheduling the location, date and time of the visitation and funeral service
  • Selecting burial or cremation
  • Choosing Funeral Products
  • Arranging a cemetery plot
  • Preparing an obituary notice
  • Scheduling transportation arrangements

A funeral director will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favorite sports team?  What was their favorite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.

Have a question? Ask the Director