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Planning a funeral in advance or at the time of a death.

Planning a funeral can be stressful and confusing. We have written the following information to help both family members and caregivers to prepare for the steps that need to be taken to plan a funeral and when a death occurs.

Before a death has occurred.

A Wetzel and Son funeral director can meet with you before a death occurs to discuss all of the varying aspects of the funeral. However, we feel that it is important during the final days of a person's life that their family spend as much time with them as possible. Wetzel and Son will always be here to support you.

The funeral home can be your primary resource for help in discussing all of the options, alternatives and costs for funeral services in advance, such as having a viewing or visitation, a funeral or memorial service, a burial or a cremation. Any, or all, of these options can be incorporated into a funeral today. If you would like to arrange for a funeral service in advance, an appointment may be made with us to review all of the options and expenses. The meeting with a funeral director will take approximately 2 to 3 hours, whether arrangements are reviewed before or after a death has occurred. We will discuss statistical information for forms that are completed for the government, review the need and use of the certified copies of the death certificates, create an individualized plan for the funeral service, and provide a cost estimate based on the services selected. The estimate will include all of the funeral home expenses and all of the other funeral related charges. If you have specific questions regarding planning a funeral in advance, we can be contacted by telephone or e-mail between 9 am and 5 pm. Further information about planning a funeral in advance continues further down this page.

What to do when a death occurs.

Once a death has occurred, the family has the option to gather together to be with the deceased at the home, hospice, or hospital. When you are ready for Wetzel and Son to come to the place of death, a call should be made to the funeral home, by either a family member or another caregiver. We will immediately respond to your telephone call. Please do not call the funeral home until you are ready for our staff to come out to you. You can call us at any time of day or night to notify us that a death has occurred. Our professionally attired and trained staff will coordinate the necessary activities at the place of death and will be prepared to answer questions that you may have.

At the time of a death, if the deceased is in a nursing home or in a hospital, Wetzel and Son should be called by either a family member or a staff member of the health facility. If the death takes place at home and the deceased is under a hospice care program, call the hospice program first. They will authorize you to call the funeral home, or they will do so for you. If the death takes place at home and there is a family doctor that has been caring for the deceased, the physician should be called first, and will authorize you to contact the funeral home. If the death takes place at home and there is no attending physician or hospice program, the local police department should be called. They may authorize Wetzel and Son to come to the house or possibly decide to take the deceased to a local hospital, at their discretion.

Calling Wetzel and Son when a death has occurred.

When a person passes away and Wetzel and Son is called, please notify the secretary or staff member who answers the telephone that a death has occured. We will make the necessary arrangements to have the deceased brought to the funeral home. We will also discuss an appointment time to meet with the family to arrange for the funeral, or set a time for one of our directors to make a return call to the family to set that appointment.

General information about planning a funeral.

Our staff members are salaried professional funeral directors, not commissioned salespeople. The funeral home will be able to assist you in filing for certified copies of the death certificate, Veterans benefits, Social Security benefits, and, if requested, insurance claims. We will be in contact with your cemetery, clergy, florist, newspaper, musicians and any other organizations that you would like to participate in the funeral service.

  • Generally, funerals are planned for two or more days after the family meets with the funeral director.
  • It can be arranged to have the service delayed additional days if family circumstances require it.
  • Wetzel and Son will normally contact and arrange the following for you, if desired:
    • Contact and schedule the services with the clergy.
    • Initial contact and schedule of services with the cemetery or crematory. Many cemeteries that are owned by large corporations require a family member to visit the cemetery, after arranging the funeral with Wetzel and Son, to sign authorization forms before the funeral day.
    • Newspaper notices or Obituaries.
    • Floral arrangements.
    • Veterans and Social Security benefit filing.
    • All required governmental filing.
    • All other aspects of funeral services.
  • If you contact the church on your own, be sure to verify the information immediately with Wetzel and Son if service times and dates are discussed. This will eliminate scheduling conflicts.

Planning for the funeral with Wetzel and Son.

Wetzel and Son will meet with you during the morning or early afternoon and assist in the planning of all funeral related items. The meeting with a funeral director will take approximately 2 to 3 hours. Arranging a funeral in the daytime allows the Wetzel and Son staff to be in contact with all other people or organizations involved in the funeral service and verify the timing of services and availability of all people involved immediately. Clothing and personal memorabilia items are not required to plan a funeral in advance.

Several items are needed to plan a funeral with a funeral director. Some of the items are statistical items, required for documents which are filed with local, state or federal governmental agencies:

  • Medicare and Social Security cards or numbers.
  • The date and city, state and country of birth.
  • The parents names including the mother's maiden name.
  • The number of years of education completed.
  • The industry and occupation during the working career.
  • The veteran's discharge papers for a veteran or spouse of a veteran.

In addition to the statistical information, the funeral home will need other personal information or items:

  • The church or clergy which might provide the religious services.
  • The deed to the cemetery lot.
  • A full set of clothing, including undergarments, stockings, socks, shoes or slippers.
  • A recent photograph as a guide for appearance and hair style, all photos will be returned to the family on the day of the services.

The following items will be needed if a viewing or visitation is to take place at a Wetzel and Son funeral home or some churches:

  • Up to 50 loose or digital photographs, chronologically ordered, ranging over a lifetime, to be used for a video slideshow to be displayed at the funeral and with an obituary on www.wetzelandson.com.
  • Music on CD, iPod, or other music device to be played duing a funeral home visitation.
  • Personal items indicative of hobbies or other items of family importance for public display.