What Do I do now?
The first few minutes after you have suffered the loss of a loved one can be confusing, especially if the death was unexpected. This guide will give you an overview of what to expect, but If you are unsure of what to do, please feel free to call us so we may help you navigate the initial steps.
Your first phone call about the death will depend on which of the following scenarios you find yourself in.
If your loved one passes away unattended by a medical professional, or is found...
Contact your local Police or Sheriff’s department by dialing 911, and request an officer to pronounce the time of death. In these cases, the officer will contact the County Medical Examiner and they may choose to do an investigation if the cause of death is suspicious or traumatic in nature. In either case, you or the officer can contact us at 760-727-8906 and we will coordinate with the Medical Examiner.
If your loved one passes away under Hospice, Nursing Home, or Hospital care...
If the nurse isn't present at the time of death, call him/her and ask them come to the location to confirm that your loved one has passed away. When the death is confirmed, ask the nurse to call us for removal at 760-727-8906.
Our driver will arrive at the location to perform the removal within two hours of being notified. There are no additional fees for after hours transportation. Our Staff will contact you once we have your loved one in our care. This may be the following business day if the death occurs after hours or over the weekend.
Responsibilities of Legal Next of Kin
The legal next of kin, in respective order, as defined by CA Health and Safety Code 7100 is:
- Person with Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Surviving Spouse
- Majority of Adult Children
- Majority of Adult Siblings
The next of kin will be required to sign our forms authorizing cremation or burial. This may be done at our office in-person or remotely via email or fax.
Filing the death certificate
The State of California requires a Death Certificate to be registered for each individual before they are buried or cremated. It is our responsibility as the mortuary to do so. A California Burial/Cremation Permit is also filed at the same time. There are several steps to filing a death certificate, and completing the process generally takes five to seven business days.
Our staff contacts the attending physician of the decedent for cause of death information.
- The causes of death are input into the California Electronic Death Registration System.
- The San Diego County Health Dept. reviews the causes of death.
- A signature or voice attestation is obtained from the doctor.
- A burial/cremation permit is made and accompanies the Death Certificate electronically to the Health Dept. for final registration.
Completing the Services
Completing the cremation or burial
Once the Death Certificate has been filed, we are legally able to proceed with the cremation or burial. In the case of cremation, the cremated remains are typically ready for pick up by the family within the following 48 hours. In the case of a burial, we will deliver the decedent in the chosen casket to the cemetery on the day of the scheduled service. The cemetery staff will then direct the services.
Obtaining Copies of the death certificate
We are happy to order certified copies of the Death Certificate for you, or you may go directly to the County Health Department, as soon as the certificate is initially filed. Six weeks after the date the Death Certificate is filed, you may go to the County Recorder's Office to purchase certified copies.