Gebhart Funeral Homes

What to Do when Death Occurs

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Our funeral directors will work with you to put together a personalized package, and discuss the many options and details that make each of our services a personal, lasting tribute to your loved one.

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When a death occurs in your family, you will be faced with important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time. You may not know what to do or when to begin making arrangements. Bearing the responsibility can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone. Gebhart Funeral Homes is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you with the details and offer our guidance. We have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you will need to take when a death has occurred. Your funeral director will help coordinate all of the details when you meet for an arrangement conference.

  1. After a death has occurred, notify Gebhart Funeral Homes by calling 302-798-7726 (Claymont) or 302-328-2312 (New Castle). The following are some questions that we may ask when you call:
    • What is the full name of the deceased?
    • What is the location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
    • What is your name, address and telephone number?
    • What is the name, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
    • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan?

    We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include:

    • Clothing for the deceased
    • Social security number of the deceased
    • The deceased's birth date and city and state of birth
    • The deceased's parents names, including mother's maiden name
    • Information about the deceased's education
    • Marital status of the deceased
    • Veteran's discharge papers or DD214
    • A recent photograph of the deceased
    • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
    • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
  2. Discuss clergy you may want and where and when you may want services to be held. Be prepared to discuss with the funeral director.
  3. The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you
  4. Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and notify each by phone. You may wish to use a "branching" system: make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people
  5. Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The funeral home may write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper(s) 
  6. If you would like gifts to be made to charity in the name of the deceased, decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school)
  7. If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death
  8. Arrange lodging for visiting relatives and friends
  9. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers)
  10. Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
  11. Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be notified by letter and/or printed notice
  12. Notify insurance companies of the death
  13. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
  14. Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources
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