When A Death Occurs

When A Death Occurs

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, but you are not alone in this. We’re here to support you throughout this journey and make this process one of love, healing, and life celebration. Below is some information to help you get started, but you can contact us at any time if you need help.

When a loved one dies there are many thoughts and questions that you will have.

What do we do? Who do we call? Where do we begin? We are here to guide you and answer all of your questions.

Should your loved one die unexpectedly at home, you will need to contact emergency personnel by dialing 911 or calling the non-emergency personnel to report the death. In either case, the medical examiner or coroner will need to pronounce the death. They will then notify the funeral home of the death. We will then make our way to the residence to speak with the family and take your loved one into our care.

Should the death occur under the care of a hospice service or in a heath care facility, such as a nursing home or hospital, the staff of the facility will notify the funeral home of the death. Our staff will then make our way to the facility to take your loved one into our care.

Should you find yourself not knowing what to do please feel free to contact our staff to help assist you with making the proper contacts.

Within Hours

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, but you are not alone in this. We are here to guide you throughout this journey and make this process one of love, healing, and life celebration. Here are some things to consider doing within the first few hours.

  • Contact the funeral home to schedule an arrangement conference. This is a good time to ask if your loved one has taken the time to pre-plan their funeral.
  • Contact family members that will help make the funeral decisions
  • Consider a day that would work best for the visitation and funeral
  • Consider items to bring to the arrangement conference such as clothing, photo, veteran discharge papers (DD214) and biographical information.
Arrangement Conference

Do not fear this step. Our experienced staff will guide you through every step. There are many things that we will discuss.

We want this process to be as comforting as possible. While most families choose to have the arrangement conference at the funeral home, our staff can also meet with you in the comfort of your home.

During the conference, we'll ask you about your loved one to gain an understanding of the person the services will honor. Use this time to communicate your ideas and preferences, share your loved one's life story, revisit memories, and highlight their accomplishments.

This process helps our staff to guide you in the creation of a personalized, meaningful celebration of your loved one's life.

This process may include:

  • Gathering information for required forms such as the death certificate.
  • Scheduling the services and events (including the location, date, and time)
  • Discuss participants such as the minister, musicians, readers, pallbearers, military group and gift bearers to name a few.
  • Selecting merchandise such as a casket, urn, or other products you may need.
  • Drafting or reviewing an obituary.
  • Arranging necessary transportation


We'd like to make this process as smooth and stress-free for you as we can. Information that would be needed for required paperwork are:

  • Full legal name and home address
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Father's name
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Veteran's discharge papers (DD-214), if applicable
  • Highest education
  • Occupation held longest throughout their life
  • Information about the burial location if applicable
  • Names and relationships of survivors


Please also bring a recent photograph of your loved one. Don't worry about cropping the photo as our experienced staff will take care of that.

Clothing your loved one will be laid to rest in is another consideration. These should be brought into the funeral home for the arrangement conference or as soon as possible. These items can include slacks, blouse, shirt, personal undergarments, socks, slippers, shoes, suit, dress, skirt or overalls. You can also bring in their cologne or perfume as well as any make up or nail polish that they preferred.

The First Few Days

You will undoubtedly go through many emotions during this time period. Its good to lean on family and friends. They are also looking for some way to help during this time. Here are also a few things that you will need to consider.

  • Following the arrangement conference, contact extended family and friends to inform them of the death and when the funeral and visitation will take place.
  • Create photo boards. We often find that this is a wonderful remembrance time for families. Going thru photos and remembering moments is a wonderful experience and begins the healing process.
  • Although our staff will take care of many of the details involved in planning a funeral there may be some that the family will need to handle. Now would be the time to take care of those.
  • Make any contacts to necessary insurance companies
After the Service

Now that the service has ended and most of the family have gone home, what do you do?

Our services do not end the day of the funeral or celebration. You will have many questions and we are here to help.

Most often we find that families have questions in regards to life insurance policies, social security and veteran's benefits. This is also the time to consider your monument needs or even pre-planning your own funeral or celebration.

We are here to assist you with the insurance claims or help you call social security or the veteran's service office. Should you need a ride please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home | (715) 449-2688
445 Main St., PO Box J, Birnamwood, WI 54414

Schmidt & Schulta Funeral Home | (715) 253-2713
401 W. College Ave., PO Box E, Wittenberg, WI 54499

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