When a loved one passes away, one of the first calls you make should be to the funeral home of your choice; on the phone, the funeral director will request some basic information from you- your name, the name of the deceased, the place of death and contact information.
This preliminary call is meant to be quick and as streamlined as possible; the bulk of the funeral arrangements will be made the following day, or perhaps the day after, in your face-to-face conference with the funeral director. At this meeting, it is important for you to come equipped with a few items and pieces of paperwork.
Make sure you know the Social Security Number of the deceased, and that you come ready to provide it. Also bring with you the deceased's veteran's discharge papers if applicable; these will be necessary for securing a flag for burial.
If you have pertinent insurance documents, or documents in which the deceased laid out some plans or wishes for the funeral, bring those with you as well. Additionally, if there is a pastor or spiritual leader whose involvement you wish to have at the service, make sure you can provide that person's name and contact information. The funeral director will also ask for a family history of the deceased and inquire about names of survivors; it's wise to list names of siblings, parents, children, grandchildren, and other relatives so you don't forget to mention anyone during this stressful time.
Finally: Should you wish to have any personal items of the deceased on display at the funeral, bring them, as well as any clothing or jewelry items you wish the deceased to wear for the visitation. (Note that jewelry items and other valuables can be returned to you prior to burial or cremation.) it is also wise to bring a photograph or two, for use in the obituary.
This conference can be tough-but coming to it prepared can make it go that much more smoothly.