What to Do When Someone Dies


When someone dies, you may feel overwhelmed with grief and loss. Here are a few ideas to help you know what to do when someone dies, including tips for funeral planning. If you know about the process, you’ll better know what to say and how to help when someone dies.

If you need help planning a funeral, you may find What to Do When Someone Dies helpful. Coping with a loved one’s death can make you feel overwhelmed and lost; a book like Nicci French’s can help you cope.

You may also feel overwhelmed and stressed. While the last thing on your mind is planning a funeral, this is something that you have to do. There is no way I can tell you everything you need to do when someone dies in this article, which is why I encourage you to get a book about coping with everything from funeral arrangements to grieving the loss of someone you love.

4 Tips for When Someone Dies

This is a guest post by Shirley Hurley Hall.

Learn your options for dealing with the remains

When planning a funeral, there are many options for dealing with the remains including donating the body to medical science, direct cremation without a service, direct burial, and burial or cremation with a service. One of the first things you do when someone dies is to choose a funeral director, discuss the options and make arrangements for the collection of the remains. Every option comes with an often hefty price tag, so it’s worth doing some independent research before you make the final decision. You will need to obtain a death certificate, a burial permit (if needed) and, if you have chosen cremation, to decide what to do with the ashes after the funeral.

If you are caring for someone who has not died yet, read 12 Gift Ideas for Someone Who is Dying.

Plan the viewing of your loved one

Before the start of the funeral service, people may want to view the loved one in order to say their personal goodbyes. This can either take place at home or, more commonly, at the funeral home, church or the location of the memorial service.  This step of funeral planning involves the funeral director, who will discuss appropriate clothing and viewing times with you and the next step is to let people know where and when this will take place.

Decide on notices and memorials when someone dies

One thing to do when someone dies is to notify the appropriate people. One way to make sure that everyone knows about the funeral is to put a notice in the local newspaper. This will usually include the person’s name, date of birth, date of death, location of the memorial service and any pertinent information about the funeral. You may also want to arrange an obituary to run before or after the funeral service.

When planning a funeral service, think about what to do about flowers. While they can be a lovely tribute, more and more people opt to donate them to a suitable place after the service (such as an elder care home, hospice or children’s home). Another popular option is to dispense with flowers and to ask people to make a charitable donation in the deceased name.

Plan the memorial or funeral service

What to Do When Someone Dies

What to Do When Someone Dies

You will also need to think about the mechanics of the funeral service itself. This includes which hymns or songs will be sung, or whether there will be tributes by family members and friends and what music will be played. All of this will be included in the order of service which you can arrange yourself or with the help of the funeral director or pastor.  As part of the service itself, many people include a memorial book in which people can write their tributes.



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The last thing you need to consider is whether there will be a wake or reception after the service and where this will take place. This will be the final touch in planning a funeral for your loved one.

You may be interested in reading How to Help Your Boyfriend Cope With Death, if you are supporting someone who has recently lost a loved one.

If you have any thoughts on death or funerals, please comment below. I can’t offer advice on what to do when someone dies, but it may help you to share your experience.

“The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive – perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin.

About the author of this article: Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional web content writer and blogger. 

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2 thoughts on “What to Do When Someone Dies

  • Valerie

    This may be off beat yet someone that I know loves his dog so much that it hurts him. He cries for her, holds her it’s like the dog is part of his soul. I’m just wondering what to do with him if something happened to his dog. He is one of my best friends yet just wondering if he will cope or go into chronic depression to where he’ll be devastated to the point he’d have to take a couple weeks off from work for grieving..

  • I need help

    My friend’s dad just died today … she and her sister were in school when they learned it …. I felt so sad and desperate when I heard these sad news. I do not know very well these girls but I know that have a good heart and I want to help.The problem is that I do not know how because we don’t know well each other… My best friends happens to know these girls and today when we learnt it, she called her and she sounded so desperate and she was crying ..and I couldn’t help myself from not crying .