This information is designed to give you basic knowledge that will help and guide you through the process. Below are answers to frequently asked questions from families we have served.
Death may occur at various institutions including a hospital, nursing home, adult family home, assisted living facility. Death can happen at home or even at the scene of an accident.
The nursing supervisor, charge nurse or facility manager will need to know the funeral home of choice. That person will generally call the funeral home when they are ready.
In most instances a home death will come under the watch of Hospice. If the decedent was registered with Hospice, they must be called first. They will call the funeral home to make the removal. Hospice patients are registered with the County Coroner’s office. Hospice acts as a liaison between the decedent’s family and the Coroner. In the event of an accidental death or an unexpected death, 911 needs to be called and the death reported. The police or the fire department will respond in behalf of the Coroner’s office. A determination will be made in the field whether or not further investigation is required. If not, the funeral home may be called to make the removal. If cause of death is uncertain or questionable, the Coroner’s office may make the removal themselves. They will release the body after their investigation is complete. The Coroner’s office ultimately has jurisdiction on every death that happens in their county.
Vital statistic information is required in order to file the Washington State Death Certificate. The death certificate becomes a legal document filed with the State. Certified copies of the death certificate are then purchased at the health department so families can take care of their business affairs. The information asked will include full name of the deceased including any AKA’s, birth date and place, level of education, Social Security number, and parent’s full names, including the mother’s full maiden name, to list a few. Full names are very important to many that are doing genealogy research. Middle names can often times help connect families. See “Vital Statistic Sheet”. When a death certificate is signed by the attending physician or the coroner’s office, it is then routed to the local registrar at the county health department. In addition to filing the death certificate, the funeral home will be issued a Burial/Transit Permit. The permit is required to provide final disposition of the remains. Nothing will take place until the permit is issued. Disposition may include, burial, cremation or shipment out of State as well as international shipment.
If the deceased is a veteran, and veteran benefits are requested, a record of service or discharge document, Form DD214, is required. Veterans are entitled to certain benefits based upon length of service, whether there is a service related disability or if the death happened in a VA or VA contracted institution. All veterans and their spouses (and “dependent” children) are entitled to free burial or inurnment in a National Cemetery. (Note: this does not include funeral home charges unless death occurred while in active duty.) Other benefits include; a U. S. Flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and an Honor Guard detail from the veteran’s branch of service. Some limited cash benefits are available mainly to retirees and disabled vets under VA care. We can help obtain a DD214 if it is lost or unavailable. However, it could delay some benefit requests as the discharge papers are searched for by the V. A.
Most newspaper obituaries, except for some small-town newspapers, have a charge for printing. We have an “Obituary Form” on this website that will assist you in developing the obituary. We suggest you use this form to write the obituary on your computer. After editing, it can be e-mailed to us for placement in the newspapers of your choice. If you do not have a computer, bring the completed form to our office or fax it. We will help you, but in this case you must allow time for retyping and submission prior to deadlines.
You may e-mail us a separate attachment in jpeg format or bring a photo in for scanning. Generally, photos are an extra charge at the newspaper. Special Note: Funeral Alternatives offers free use of our website for photo, service information and full length obituary. There is also a guest book for friends to leave memories and condolences for the family. Again, this service is no charge to every family we serve.
It is important to call before coming in. This will help us establish a mutual time to meet your needs with availability of the proper licensed staff. We will review all the items listed above and many more. It would be helpful, depending on the service you choose, to bring with you a photo and the clothing you want the deceased to wear in the event of a viewing. Conferences can last from forty-five minutes to two hours depending upon the type of service we are providing for you. Your call ahead of time can help us prepare you for the things we need before you arrive. We also offer arrangements in the home if needed or requested.
We offer cost-free, no obligation, programs that provide valuable information about pre-planning and the funeral process. Give us a call to schedule a presentation. 360.753.1065
These programs are strictly educational.
There will never be any sales involved.
The program can be customized to meet the needs of your group.
We are proud to be a part of the Speaker’s Bureau of The Senior Action Network of Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties.
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