It will help if this person has been through the arrangement process recently, and help even more if they are not related, nor emotionally close to the deceased. Identify this person right now, at this minute, so that if something should happen you'll have that first decision, at least, made. Contact this person as soon as you learn of the death and make no decisions whatsoever, not even having the body moved, until he/she is by your side. Which leads into our second topic . . .
Be aware that, if death occurred in a nursing home, you may be pressured to have the deceased moved immediately. If you need an out, you can say you believe the deceased may have written plans for the disposition of his/her remains, and that you need a short time to locate them. Odds are the deceased's room is paid for through the end of the month, so there's no real need to rush so the home can plug another patient into that bed. Hospitals and many cities have a morgue or medical examiner's office where the body can be retained until you have your feet under you enough to make that educated decision.
A word to the wise; don't be surprised if some member of the medical staff -- or even a member of the clergy for that matter -- volunteers to call someone for you. Some funeral homes pay generous finders fees to anyone directing business their way. This can be a most expensive 'kindness' and should be politely refused.
Learning the rules can be expensive. A good rule of thumb is to deal only with the funeral home that will be conducting the funeral, but be aware also that the huge corporations that own literally hundreds and thousands of funeral homes in North America and abroad tend to work together, so there may be no incentive for your funeral director to help you save money if another of his corporate buddies stands to also profit from your misfortune.
Home Page ~ About FHP
~ First Step ~ Funeral
Homes ~ Casket Smarts
Cemetery Shopping ~ Monuments ~ Funeral Brokers, etc ~ Suggested Links ~ Make a Donation ~ Download Software ~ Order Book ~ E-mail us your questions/comments