How do I obtain Death Certificates?

Our funeral home will assist families in obtaining certified copies of death certificates. The State of Florida requires that the funeral establishment who first takes custody of the deceased is to file a death certificate with the State of Florida. In most cases, the death certificate form originates from our office and is then hand delivered to the attending physician for certifying. After the death certificate has been completed by the physician and approved by the medical examiner (cremation and special circumstances), it is then hand delivered to the local vital statistics office in which the county that the death occurred in, where it will be filed with the State of Florida. Once the death certificate has been filed, the vital statistics office will provide certified copies of the death certificate. Each county sets a fee for each certified death certificate.

Are Veteran Benefits available to me?

Any honorably discharged veteran is entitled to certain benefits upon death. To determine whether an honorably discharged veteran will qualify for monetary benefits or reimbursements, we encourage you to contact a local veterans’ services representative, or call the veterans’ administration directly. Each honorably discharged veteran is entitled to be buried in a VA cemetery (space permitting). Our veterans who choose cremation may elect to have their ashes placed in Arlington Cemetery, if so desired. The next of kin of an honorably discharged veteran is eligible to receive a flag in their memory. Our staff will assist you in obtaining a flag and providing any forms necessary for benefits.

How do I notify Social Security when death occurs?

Anytime a death occurs, it is the funeral home’s responsibility to notify the Social Security Administration that a death has occurred. This will be done by our staff with form SSA 721. We ask our families to call the Social Security office at their earliest convenience to determine if any death benefits are available or what will happen with any benefits that the deceased may already be receiving. Our staff will assist you and your family in any way we can.

What is the usual amount of time to complete the cremation process?

Florida Law requires a mandatory 48 hour waiting period from the time of death as a minimum waiting period. In addition to this waiting period, the law requires that the death certificate be completed. The death certificate is then forwarded to the Medical Examiner in whose jurisdiction the death occurred. The Medical Examiner is then the one who grants permission for a cremation to take place. While most physicians usually sign the death certificate as quickly as their busy schedules allow it, it may take a few days to get the death certificate through this certification process. The law requires this process to insure that cremations are not performed before any questions about the cause of death have been adequately answered.

How many Death Certificates will be needed?

The number of Death Certificates you require will depend on your individual circumstances. Death certificates are normally required to settle the affairs of the deceased, therefore, the number required will be dependent upon the quantity and status of these assets. We will assist you by providing a list of common instances where death certificates are required. In certain cases, you may wish to consult with your legal advisor on this topic.

How to talk to children about death?

• For example, saying a dead person is "asleep" will not only mislead a child, but may also cause the child to believe that the dead person might "wake up" again.

• Don't use euphemisms. Remember, children can cope with what they know. They cannot cope with what they don't know.

• Show them. Children often don't understand something until they can see it. You will not harm them, for example, by showing them the ashes from a cremation or caskets in the selection room.

Who must I tell when a death occurs?

When a death occurs, you will need to notify the deceased person's family members and close friends as well as their employer/business colleagues, school/college and any associations they were affiliated with. This is easiest done by telephone.

Try to get a family member to help you and keep a record of all calls made and received.

Keep a list of everyone who sends flowers, writes, calls, etc. and decide who will acknowledge them.

Contact the deceased person's bank. This is especially important if receipts such as Social Security checks are deposited automatically, or if mortgage payments and such are made directly from the account.

You will need to find the deceased person's Will and notify their lawyer and/or executor and also inform any insurance companies. There may be income for survivors to come from insurance policies, or from credit of trade unions, fraternal organizations, the military, etc.

Check for any outstanding debts, such as credit card bills. Some insurance policies may take care of them, but even so, you may need to ask for an extension on payments which are coming due to tide you over until the insurance money is paid.

Where appropriate, contact the deceased person's landlord, cancel utilities such as electricity and telephone and give the post office a forwarding address for mail.