The following are some explanations of the necessary steps to take upon the death of a loved one. It is information that can be very helpful in preparing for the time immediately after death when things are most stressful and confusing.
Death in a medical facility
When death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff will assist you with necessary legal requirements and paperwork. Notify the medical staff that McFarland Family Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements.
Anticipated death at home
Notify hospice care that McFarland Family Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements. The hospice will then take care of all necessary legal requirements. Many families choose to make pre-arrangements with us so that they are not overwhelmed at the time of death.
Unanticipated death at home or elsewhere
Immediately call 911. Emergency medical personnel will determine the appropriate steps to be taken.
Death out of state
If the death occurs outside of California, call McFarland Family Funeral Home and we will coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death.
To assure that the arrangements are made accurately and expediently, schedule an appointment to make arrangements with the funeral director. Bring the following information of the decedent:
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Father's Name
- Mother's Name and her Maiden Name
- Veteran's Discharge Papers (DD214)
- Cemetery Deed
- Clothing – all normal items including undergarments
- Jewelry & personal items – these items can either be brought on the day of the arrangement, or on the day of the visitation
Our funeral directors will need to obtain detailed vital information for completing the death certificate.
Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents and are issued by the State of California. Photocopies are not considered legal documents. After the original certificate has been signed by the physician or medical examiner and all vital information completed by our funeral home, it is then filed with the Kern County Health Department.
Death certificates in California are $21.00 per certified copy.
During the funeral arrangement, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate are needed. As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. Death Certificates can take up to two weeks from the date of burial or cremation. You may need a certified copy for the following:
- Each Life Insurance Company
- Motor Vehicles
- Pension, IRA or other retirement benefits
- Probate of Will
- Each bank where accounts were maintained
- Final Tax Return
- Stocks and Bonds
- Your own files
- Real Property
- We are willing to send a courtesy notification to Social Security upon request. Once you receive the Death Certificate you can contact them to see if you are entitled to any benefits
Upon death, call (213) 788-7870. Los Angeles Mortuary offers immediate and comprehensive services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When we receive your call, our professional staff will immediately start the process required for cremation to take place. The following is a standard outline of the completed process.
- Family, friends or pertinent authority calls Los Angeles Mortuary
- Los Angeles Mortuary removes the deceased from the home, hospital or other place of death and a unique ID is attached to the deceased
- The deceased is placed in a refrigerated holding facility until the time of cremation
- Los Angeles Mortuary prepares the death certificate, disposition permit, and other necessary records and consults with the family or responsible party
- Family or friends contact Los Angeles Mortuary to make financial arrangements, unless there was a paid Pre-Arrangement Plan in place
- Los Angeles Mortuary obtains the cause of death from the doctor or medical examiner and files it with the Kern County Health Department
- The ID’d decedent is placed in a cremation container and is transferred by our staff to our on-site crematory. Cremation takes place under the direction of our licensed, professional crematory staff and usually takes place three to five days after death
- All recoverable cremated remains are processed and placed in either a temporary or permanent urn and returned to the family
Ten Freedoms for Creating a Meaningful Funeral
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Meaningful funerals do not just happen. They are well-thought-out rituals that, at least for a day or two, demand your focus and your time. But the planning may feel less burdensome if you keep in mind that the energy you expend now to create a personalized, inclusive ceremony will help you, your family and other mourners embark on healthy, healing grief journeys.
The following list is intended to empower you to create a funeral that will be meaningful to you and your family and friends.
- You have the right to make use of ritual.
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. It is a way for you and others who loved the person who died to say, “We mourn this death and we need each other during this painful time.” If others tell you that rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don’t listen
- You have the freedom to plan a funeral that will meet the unique needs of your family.
While you may find comfort and meaning in traditional funeral ceremonies, you also have the right to create a ceremony that reflects the unique personality of your family and the person who died. Do not be afraid to add personal touches to even traditional funerals
- You have the freedom to ask friends and family members to be involved in the funeral.
For many, funerals are most meaningful when they involve a variety of people who loved the person who died. You might ask others to give a reading, deliver the eulogy, play music or even help plan the funeral
- You have the freedom to view the body before and during the funeral.
While viewing the body is not appropriate for all cultures and faiths, many people find it helps them acknowledge the reality of the death. It also provides a way to say goodbye to the person who died. There are many benefits to viewings and open casket ceremonies; don’t let others tell you this practice is morbid or wrong
- You have the freedom to embrace your pain during the funeral.
The funeral may be one of the most painful but also the most cathartic moments of your life. Allow yourself to embrace your pain and to express it openly. Do not be ashamed to cry. Find listeners who will accept your feelings no matter what they are
- You have the freedom to plan a funeral that will reflect your spirituality.
If faith is a part of your life, the funeral is an ideal time for you to uphold and find comfort in that faith. Those with more secular spiritual orientations also have the freedom to plan a ceremony that meets their needs
- You have the freedom to search for meaning before, during and after the funeral.
When someone loved dies, you may find yourself questioning your faith and the very meaning of life and death. This is natural and in no way wrong. Don’t let others dismiss your search for meaning with cliched responses such as, “It was God’s will” or “Think of what you still have to be thankful for”
- You have the freedom to make use of memory during the funeral.
Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Ask your funeral officiant to include memories from many different people in the eulogy. Create a “memory board” or a “memory table.” Ask those attending the funeral to share their most special memory of the person who died with you
- You have the freedom to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
Especially in the days immediately following the death, your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals
- You have the freedom to move toward your grief and heal.
While the funeral is an event, your grief is not. Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you, before, during and after the funeral. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever
Copyright 2007, Center for Loss and Life Transition