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What to Do When a Death Occurs

No matter when or where a death occurs, the family should call us as soon as possible. Once we find out more about your family, the deceased and their wishes, we can begin making arrangements quickly and efficiently. If you are unsure about any of the steps involved or have not yet made a decision about the kinds of funeral services you would like to have, we can offer our expertise and honest advice or simply give you additional time to decide.

New Hampshire State Laws Regarding a Death

New Hampshire Statute RSA 290:2-a states that the deceased cannot be transferred from the place of death into our care without a pronouncement of death signed by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. In addition, RSA 611:4 states that deaths occurring under certain circumstances must be referred to the State Medical Examiner who will become responsible for legally releasing the deceased to the funeral home.

Vermont State Laws Regarding a Death

Under Vermont Statute 18 V.S.A. § 5202(b) Any licensed health care professional who has access to the facts and can certify that death is not subject to the provisions of section 5205 of this title may complete and sign a preliminary report of death on a form supplied by the Commissioner and will thereafter be in charge of releasing the body from the place of death to the Cremation Society (Ker-Phaneuf Funeral Home for the Phaneuf website). If death is subject to the provisions under section 18 V.S.A. § 5205(a) When a person dies from violence, or suddenly when in apparent good health or when unattended by a physician or a recognized practitioner of a well-established church, or by casualty, or by suicide or as a result of injury or when in jail or prison, or any mental institution, or in any unusual, unnatural or suspicious manner, or in circumstances involving a hazard to public health, welfare or safety, the medical examiner who resides nearest the town where the death occurred shall be notified and said medical examiner shall notify the state’s attorney of the county in which the death occurred. The state’s attorney shall thereafter be in charge of the body and shall issue such instructions covering the care or removal of the body as he or she shall deem appropriate until he or she releases same.

Death in a Health Care Facility

Besides getting in touch with us directly, there is very little for the family to do if their loved one was in a health care facility such as a hospital, licensed nursing home or hospice house. The medical staff will take all the steps necessary to ensure legal requirements are met.

Anticipated Death Outside a Health Care Facility

It is becoming more common for people to choose to die in their own home under hospice care, surrounded by family. When this is the case, your first call should be to the physician or the hospice organization. Without this phone call, the body cannot be released to the funeral home.

Unanticipated Death Outside A Health Care Facility

If a sudden death occurs, your first call should be to 911 in order to dispatch local police to the scene. Typically, the matter is then passed on to the State Medical Examiner’s office who will decide whether or not an autopsy is necessary to determine the cause of death.

Out-of-State Death

If death occurs outside of your state of residence, you do not have to reach out to just any funeral home in the area. We are able to make arrangements nationwide, with the help of reliable agents who work with us. All you need to do is call 1-800-PHANEUF (1-800-742-6383) and we will handle the rest. We also offer Nationwide Travel Protection as part of our pre-planning offerings that will guarantee the price of your final arrangements no matter where the death occurs.

Planning for a Death

If you or a family member is terminally ill, it is wise to begin thinking about your end-of-life plan. This allows wishes to be heard and important decisions to be made. Helping families plan for this difficult event is something that we do often and recommend highly. To begin the arrangement process, you may call us or start the process by filling out our online form.

What to Do When a Death Occurs - Phaneuf

Personal and Estate Settlement Services

This service is available for all families. Estate and identity theft prevention experts provide fast, convenient guidance with families through a range of post-death needs.

Begin Making Your Arrangements Online

Use our online or downloadable form to begin making service arrangements for your loved one.