About Us  |  Services  |  Prearrange  |  Obituaries  |  Aftercare  |  Resources  |  Contact Us

What To Do When a Death Occurs


Contact Deschutes Memorial Chapel as soon as a death has occurred at (541) 382-5592.


A time will be set up with the funeral director for you to come in and make arrangements. We will help coordinate arrangements with the cemetery, chapel and clergy. You will need to be able to provide the following information to complete the vital statistic requirements.

  1. You will need to be able to provide the following information to complete the vital statistic requirements.

    • Birth Date
    • Birthplace - City, County and State
    • Father's Name
    • Mother's Name (including maiden)
    • Social Security Number
    • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number for Civil Service
    • Education Level
    • Marital Status

  2. Our staff of funeral directors will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates you will need and we will get these for you.

  3. Make a list of immediate family, close friends and employer or business colleagues. Notify each by phone.

  4. Decide on appropriate memorial service location to which gifts may be sent (our chapel, a church, hospice, library, charity or school).

  5. Gather obituary information, including age, place of birth, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work, list of survivors in immediate family. Give time and place of services. The funeral home will normally write article and submit to newspapers. You will be asked to proofread before submission to prevent any mistakes.

  6. Prepare list of insurance companies, to include name of company and policy number. Our staff of funeral directors will notify all of death and gather needed forms for you and prepare them for your signature. The proceeds will be sent directly to you, unless you wish to do an insurance assignment for the funeral charges. We will also assist you in this if it is what you desire. Let us help you, it is our job and you have enough to do.

  7. We will notify the Social Security office on your behalf. In a week or so, check with Social Security to see that the deceased SS number is retired. The $255 dollar death benefit is payable ONLY if there is a surviving spouse, or a child under 18 or a disabled child.

  8. If Social Security checks are automatically deposited, notify the bank of the death.

  9. Arrange for members of family or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone, keeping careful record of calls. Try not to leave the home unattended during this time, including during the services.

  10. Consider special needs of the household, such as cleaning or shopping for items such as trash bags or paper goods, which might be done by friends.

  11. Arrange for childcare, if necessary.

  12. Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.

  13. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. We will be glad to contact them for you.

  14. Plan for disposition of flowers after funeral. We will deliver all potted plants to the home, and normally all cut flower arrangements are left at the graveside and the cards are delivered to the family.

  15. Prepare list of distant persons to be notified by letter and/or printed notice, and decide which to send to each.

  16. Send appropriate acknowledgments to those who sent flowers, brought food, or gave their time to be of service (can be written note, printed acknowledgments, or some of each). It is not necessary to send an acknowledgement card to every person who signed the register. You may if you wish, but people do not expect to be acknowledged for simply signing the registry. They don't want to cause an added burden.

  17. Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.

  18. Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check also on income for survivors from these sources.

  19. Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.

  20. If deceased was living alone, notify utilities and landlord and tell post office where to send mail.