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My loved one is going to pass soon, what do I need to be ready for this day?

Ask the Director

This is a great question and one which I hear often. Families usually want to come in right away and prepare. My first response is ... stay home with your loved one. Time with your loved one is your most precious commodity.

I have had instances where families were at the funeral home preparing and their loved one passed away while they were with me. This can be devastating. We can help you begin this difficult process at home and aid you in preparing for a meeting with an arrangement counselor after your loved one has passed. I advise that, instead of coming into the funeral establishment, you provide an email so we can send you the information you need.

With this said, I recommend having the following ready:

• Loved one’s full legal name as presented on their social security card.

• Date and location of birth.

• Loved one’s father’s full legal name and state of birth (or country if born outside of the USA).

• Loved one’s mother’s full legal maiden name and state of birth (or country if born outside of the USA).

• Social Security Card and legal ID.

• Usual street address (where your loved one lived the most).

• Length of time in the county of passing.

• Legal marital status.

• Full legal name of surviving spouse (maiden name if applicable).

• Name and address of the informant (individual giving all the above information).

• Military Discharge Paperwork-DD214 (for veterans or spouses of veterans).

• Clothing (usually for burial viewing).

• A photograph for hair and makeup.

• ID of POA/AHCD holder (should there be one).

• Be prepared for all dispositional rights holders to present ID if there is no spouse.

These are key documents and vital pieces of information you will need when working with any funeral establishment. I also recommended that you have a family discussion while your loved one is with you concerning the choice of burial or cremation. This topic often becomes a point of contention with those who remain behind should the conversation never take place. It is a difficult topic to speak about, but you will be thankful you did. It is hard enough losing a loved one, it is even more difficult when all this information needs to be gathered after the fact.

Jason Wheeler is the Managing Funeral Director (FDR4671) with Wood Family Funeral Service.