Information Needed at the Time of Death
For the majority of people, death takes us by surprise. Regardless of age, health, and what kind of advance funeral planning has already been done, chances are you will be at a loss when that phone call comes through.
Most of the time, the first decision you will need to make is which funeral home will be handling the remains of the deceased. From there, you will be able to put your trust into the hands of the funeral director, who will help guide you through the process of making decisions, filling out paperwork, and otherwise beginning the monumental task of settling the deceased’s affairs.
Of all the questions you will be asked during the initial consultations and conversations with officials, the first things you’ll need include the deceased’s:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth (including the city, state, and/or foreign country)
- Full home address
- Social security number
- Level of education attained
- Marital status
- Military service
- Spouse’s full name (including maiden name, when applicable)
- Father’s full name
- Mother’s full name (including maiden name, when applicable)
- Informant (also known as the next of kin, this is the person who will be legally responsible for making the arrangements)
- Informant’s relationship to the deceased
- Informant’s address and contact information
These items are usually needed to file a death certificate, and may also be used to help craft the obituary or death notice, so it is important to provide accurate, current information.
What to Do if You Don’t Have All the Necessary Information
In instances where you may not have been particularly close to the deceased (but you are still considered the next of kin), you may have to search for this information. Items like social security number and birth information are typically recorded with government organizations, and you may need to provide proof of death in order to access them.
You can also check hospital records, bank statements, and other personal correspondence. Because people can and do pass away without close friends and family sometimes, there are protocols for filling out death certificate information when some (or all) of the information is unknown.
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