What To Do First - A Checklist

When a death occurs there are so many things to consider and decisions to make. These lists can help you navigate through them.

Notify these people as soon as possible:

  • Your doctor, who may provide a medical certificate of death or request an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
  • Contact the Woodland office to arrange for the transfer of the deceased (usually this can be done within 1-2 hours although it may take longer to obtain a release from the hospital) and set an appointment with you to make further arrangements.
  • Relatives, executor/executrix and friends 
  • Employers (the employer of the deceased and relatives who will need time off)
  • Insurance agents (life, health and accident)
  • Religious, fraternal, civic and veterans organizations and unions, if applicable
  • Lawyer and accountant

Secure the vital statistics of deceased:

  • Full legal name - other names must be identified by “also known as” (AKA)
  • Home address and telephone number 
  • Name of business or employer’s name, address and telephone number
  • Industry and occupation
  • Date and place of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Father’s name and birthplace
  • Mother’s name, maiden name and birthplace
  • Locate the will, if any

Discuss With Woodland Funeral Director

Topics for discussion:

  • Clothing that the deceased will be buried or cremated in
  • Whether your loved one is to be buried, cremated or entombed
  • Service details - would you like a memorial service after the cremation takes place?
  • Whether a member of the clergy will be engaged for the memorial service
  • Music, pictures, flowers, scripture or other readings
  • Container or casket selection
  • If you would like a charity to receive donations in memory of your loved one
  • Would you like to use our chapel for a short gathering or service prior to the cremation?
  • What type of urn would you prefer (Metal, Wood, Marble, Ceramic, etc.)?
  • What type of final resting place you would prefer for your loved one (choice of burial, above ground niches or scattering of cremated remains)?
  • Would you like other members of the family to be with your loved one in the future? This determines the size of the resting place.

Decisions to be made regarding burial of urn:

  • What type of memorial do you prefer (bronze or granite marker set flush with the ground or an upright memorial)?
  • Would you like to protect your loved one’s urn with an urn vault?
  • Would you like other members of the family to be with your loved one in the future? This determines the size of the lot.

Decisions to be made regarding above-ground niches:

  • Would you like the niche to be inside a building or outside?
  • What type of material would you like the niche to be constructed from? Granite or Bronze are choices for outdoor niches and Marble or Glass are choices for indoor.

Decisions to be made regarding scattering:

  • Would you like to be present for the scattering?
  • Would you like a memorial to be placed in the area?

Collect Documents

(Required to establish rights for insurance, pensions, survivor benefits, ownership, etc.)

  • Will
  • Legal proof of age or birth certificate
  • Social Insurance Card
  • Marriage license
  • Citizenship papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank books
  • Deeds

Tips For Writing A Death Notice

A Death Notice is usually posted in the “Current Services” section of our Woodland Direct Cremation website, and/or in the local paper.  When you have the arrangement conference,  we can assist you in composing the death notice and will make arrangements with the newspaper for you.

The following information is customarily included in a Death Notice:

  • Full name of the deceased (nickname could be included)
  • City or town of residence
  • Some indication of the nature of the death - such as “suddenly,” or “after a long illness”
  • List of immediate family members of the deceased, specifying if the they are alive or dead, through the terms “deceased was pre-deceased by her sister...” or “is survived by his wife”
  • Locations and times for the visitation and service
  • Any memorable way of honouring the deceased, as by mentioning personal achievements, hobbies and interests, military service.

Transporting Ashes To Another Country For Burial

Woodland staff have extensive experience shipping ashes to other countries for burial. If you require international transportation, please advise us as soon as the death has occurred so we can begin making arrangements with the appropriate authorities. Please be advised that complying with the requirements of other jurisdictions takes time - a minimum of one week, often longer.

Acknowledging Kindness

In the month after the passing of a loved one,  it is customary to send thank you notes to friends and family who have supported you during this difficult time,  made memorial donations, or sent flowers, mass cards, food or other condolence gifts. Short personal notes can be written on the acknowledgement cards. People tell us they sometimes find it hard to come up with the appropriate words for these thank you notes. Just a few lines are all that is needed to show that you and the family appreciate the kindness that has been shown you.