What To Do When Someone Dies

By Simply Cremations

View all articles by this author

It is inevitable that at some point in time we will lose a loved one. This can be devastating, even when expected.

At Simply Cremations, we understand this and are here to help. And, we keep it simple.


When a death occurs, the first thing we get asked by families is “What do I do now?” and “What is the procedure?”

Here is a step by step process to follow when someone dies, as well as some helpful information to assist you:

  1. Find a Funeral Home. It is wise to shop around and ask questions until you find one that you feel comfortable with.
  2. Inform the hospital or institution of your Funeral Home choice. Most hospitals require a written consent from the family in order for the Funeral Home to perform the transfer of the Decedent. The Deceased is then brought into the care of the Funeral Home at their establishment.
  3. If a home death is the situation, then either a doctor or nurse needs to come to the home to pronounce the death before the transfer can take place.
  4. The Funeral Director you have chosen needs to gather personal information regarding the Decedent such as social insurance number, date of birth, place of birth, legal marital status, father’s name and place of birth and mother’s name, maiden name and place of birth. This information is used to register the death with Vital Statistics
  5. If cremation is chosen (95% of people choose cremation), an “Authorization to Cremate” form needs to be filled out and signed. Simply Cremations uses the Royal Oak Crematorium for all of our cremations - they are a “not for profit” municipal crematorium and burial park. They also have a small chapel that we can use for free, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Saturdays - $175). If a traditional or green burial is requested, we can certainly accommodate that choice as well.
  6. Choose a cremation container (or casket for burial). The cremation container is a vessel that the deceased is placed into in order to cremate. The actual cremation process takes about 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Families can choose for their loved one to be dressed or they can remain in the clothing (hospital gown, etc.) that they are wearing at the time of death.
  8. Sometimes it’s helpful with the grieving process to place a special something with ones loved one – e.g. a flower, poem, letter, photograph or favourite teddy bear.
  9. Choose an urn into which to place the cremated remains. This can be a basic cardboard urn, wood, brass or bronze. There are many types to choose from. Some that are biodegradable are made from cornstarch, mulberry bark and salt, from the Himalayan salt mines. There are also birdbaths and sundials that can hold up to three sets of cremated remains and can be placed in a cemetery or your own back yard or garden. If you are only keeping a small portion of the cremated remains, miniature keepsake urns, wind chimes and cremation jewellery are very popular.
  10. Cremated remains can be interred at a cemetery in a burial plot or niche. Lots of people wish to be scattered on the water or on land. We remind people that this is an irreversible act and recommend keeping a small portion. Some people have found that three years down the road they go to Hawaii, for instance, and think “oh, grandma always wanted to go to Hawaii and now she can” and scatter some cremated remains there.
  11. How many death certificates will you need? Most people get one or two. You need them for banks, Canada Pension Plan or any other authority that may require proof of death. Many places will photocopy the original if you present it in person. However, if you do require more, just give your funeral service provider a phone call requesting more.
  12. “Can I pre-arrange and pre-pay for my own cremation or funeral service?” Yes, you can. Pre-arrangements can ensure your wishes are known and the price is locked in with the funds secured by a trust company. This provides you with peace of mind, knowing your family won’t be burdened with decisions, uncertainties or debt during a time of grieving.


If you would like more information, feel free to call us at Simply Cremations. We will be pleased to assist you in any way we can.

At Simply Cremations, you will not find high pressure sales, commissioned sales people, nor hidden costs - just truly caring and professional services.

Simply Cremations
Unit 2, 2075 Henry Avenue West, Sidney BC

This article has been viewed 10211 times.


Showing 1 to 2 of 2 comments.

And where do you get the doctor with respect to a in home death ?

Posted by Peter | November 16, 2015 Report Violation

Hello, I am very confused about some things. I'd like to know if a will is needed in order to have a loved one cremated. I was told when inquiring about my mother, who has recently passed away, that the funeral directors would not give me any information since it was my brother who made arrangements. They said they would only deal with the eldest child. They wouldn't tell me if my mother had been cremated yet, or if there was a will. Is this standard practice? Thank you, Donna Dean

Posted by Donna | April 27, 2012 Report Violation

Post A Comment

  • security key

Comments that include profanity, personal attacks, or antisocial behavior such as "spamming," "trolling," or any other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our "terms of use". You are fully responsible for the content you post. Senior Living takes no responsibility for the views and opinions of members using this discussion area.

Submit Articles

Current Issue

Search For Articles


Subscribe To
The Magazine