When a death occurs in your family, you will be faced with important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time. You may not know what to do or when to begin making arrangements. Bearing the responsibility can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone. Brandywine Valley Funeral Care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you with the details and offer our guidance. We have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you will need to take when a death has occurred. Your funeral director will help coordinate all of the details when you meet for an arrangement conference.

Notify Brandywine Valley Funeral Care.

Call one of our funeral professionals at 302-764-2900.

We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include:

  • Clothing for the deceased
  • Social security number of the deceased
  • The deceased's birth date and city and state of birth
  • The deceased's parents names, including mother's maiden name
  • Information about the deceased's education
  • Marital status of the deceased
  • Veteran's discharge papers or Claim Number
  • A recent photograph of the deceased
  • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
  • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)

Contact your clergy.

Decide on a time and place for the funeral or memorial service (the services may be held at the funeral home).

Determine the number of death certificates needed

and will order them for you.

Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and notify each by phone.

You may wish to use a "branching" system: make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people.

Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made

(church, hospice, library, organization, school).

Gather obituary information,

including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The funeral home will usually write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper(s).

Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone.

Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on.

Social Security/Insurance/Will & Estate/Utilities.

If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death. Notify insurance companies of the death. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor. Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources. If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail.


Prepare a list of people to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include "thank you's" to those who have given their time, as well.