What to do when someone dies

There are few things in life more traumatic than the death of a family member. This section will explain what to do when a death occurs.

  1. State Laws Regarding A Death
    New Hampshire Statute RSA 290:2-a states that the deceased cannot be removed from the place of death without a pronouncement of death signed by a physician or registered nurse. A registered nurse can only release the deceased to the Cremation Society if the death was anticipated. In all other cases, only a medical doctor can release the deceased to the Cremation Society. In addition, RSA 611:4 states that deaths occurring under certain circumstances must be referred to the State Medical Examiner who will become responsible for legally releasing the deceased to the Cremation Society.

  2. General Guidelines
    Regardless of when and where a death occurs, the family should call us as soon as possible. There is no need to contact a local funeral home. At that time we will ask some specific questions, such as the name and location of the family member who passed away, the name of the attending physician and the name of the next of kin. If you are undecided about the type of service, you need not make any immediate decisions. We will allow you adequate time to make them and provide you with prices of various options ahead of time to assist you. Finally, we will set up a convenient appointment time to make the actual arrangements, either in person or over the telephone. Alternatively, you can make all the arrangements on-line at the time of death.

  3. Death in A Health Care Facility
    When a death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, there is little the family needs to do other than to call us. The medical staff at the health care facility will take the necessary steps to ensure that all legal requirements are met. Although some health care facilities will call the Cremation Society on behalf of the family, this is the exception rather than the rule. To be safe, it is best that the family calls us directly.

  4. Anticipated Death Outside A Health Care Facility
    Many people with terminal illnesses are now choosing to die at home in more familiar and peaceful surroundings with family and friends close by. If an anticipated death occurs outside a health care facility, the first step would be to call the hospice organization or physician under whose care the individual was receiving medical treatment. The hospice nurse or physician would then release the deceased to the Cremation Society.

  5. Unanticipated Death Outside A Health Care Facility
    If a sudden or unanticipated death occurs outside of a health care facility, the family must call 911 to dispatch local police to the location. The police will then determine the appropriate steps to take depending upon the particular situation. In the case of a nonsuspicious death of an apparently healthy individual, the police would call the State Medical Examiner's office and await instructions. The Medical Examiner, depending upon the circumstances, may require that an autopsy be performed. If the death was suspicious in nature, then the Medical Examiner would in all likelihood order an autopsy.

  6. Out-Of-State Death
    If the death takes place outside of New Hampshire, there is no need to contact a local funeral director in that state where the death occurs. Doing so invariably results in additional expenses for the family. We can make all the necessary arrangements through agents we work with throughout the country. All you need to do is to call us toll free at 1-800-493-8001, and we will handle the rest of the details. We also offer Nationwide Travel Protection that will guarantee the price of your final arrangements no matter where the death occurs.

  7. Advance Arrangements
    If the death of a family member is anticipated, it is wise to begin thinking about the final arrangements in advance. We frequently speak with the family prior to the death to begin the process of gathering the needed information and discussing the services. In this way, the family is not overwhelmed with making numerous important decisions at the time of death. To begin the arrangement process, just give us a call. Alternatively, you can start the process by filling out our on-line form.


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