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A Death has Occurred

If you were present during the final moments in a loved one’s life, then you’ve been fortunate. We believe that while nothing prepares you for being present at the death of a loved one, bearing witness to their passing can bring new insights into your own capacity for selfless love and caring, renewed or intensified bonds with other family members, a new respect for siblings, or a healing of old emotional wounds. It is a priceless gift – but it’s one you may not truly value until much later.
 

So, Who Do You Call First?

Whether you were sitting right next to the bed, or was unfortunate to get a call at 2 a.m. with news of a death of someone you loved, chances are your first feelings were of “being numb” and confused. But, if you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, you really can’t give into the shock or grief - you’ve got to move forward, and take care of things.

What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the funeral home you choose, and if necessary, arranging an autopsy.

However, you – or a designated family member or friend – will need to notify others. We’ve found it will make it easier on you if just a few phone calls are made to other relatives or friends, where you ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people. In that way, the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you.

And if you are facing this situation alone, then ask a friend or neighbor to keep you company while you make these calls. In that way, you’ll be better able to cope with the first hours after the death.
 
One of the first calls which should be made is to a licensed Funeral Director. Naturally, we'd like you to call us. But whether you choose to trust one of our funeral professionals to care for your loved one, or select a different funeral home, you should know that the Funeral Director will help you:

  • Transport the body
  • Obtain a death certificate
  • Select a casket, urn and/or grave marker
  • Arrange the funeral, memorial and/or burial service
  • Prepare and publish the obituary
  • Help notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks
  • Offer grief support
  • Direct you to other resources
     

Don’t Forget to Call the Employer

Was your loved one employed? Then, you'll need to call his or her employer immediately, to let them know of the passing, and the resulting change in their staffing arrangements.

At some later point (most likely when the funeral is over), you should ask about the deceased's benefits and any pay, which is owed to them, including vacation or sick time.

Also ask if you or other dependents are still eligible for benefit coverage through the company. And, you might ask whether there is a life insurance policy through the employer, who the beneficiary is, and how to file a claim.
 

Call the Life Insurance Company

If your loved one had a life insurance policy, locate the related paperwork. Call the agent or the company and ask how to file a claim. Usually the beneficiary (or the beneficiary's guardian, if a minor) must complete the claim forms and related paperwork.

You'll need to submit a certified copy of the death certificate and a claimant's statement to establish proof of claim. Remember to ask about payment options. You may have a choice between receiving a lump sum, and the having the insurance company place the money in an interest-bearing account from which you can write checks.

For more information on what's involved with funeral planning click here or contact us.

Our Services

We understand that it is not always possible to pay respects in person, & hope that this small token will help. You can search for your loved one using the form below.

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Obituaries & Tributes

It is not always possible to pay respects in person, so we hope that this small token will help.

Prearrangement

Dying is one of the few events in life that's certain to occur, yet one we rarely plan for. Should we spend more time preparing for a two week vacation than we do our last days on Earth?

Daily Grief Support by Email

Grieving doesn't always end with the funeral: subscribe to our free daily grief support email program, designed to help you a little bit every day, by filling out the form below.

Weekly Email Tips to Support a Grieving Friend

It's hard to know what to say when someone experiences loss. Our free weekly newsletter provides insights, quotes and messages on how to help during the first year.

Proudly Serving the Communities of Armstrong, Estherville, Fenton, Graettinger, Ringsted, and Swea City
(712) 362-2646 Henry-Olson Funeral Home and Crematory
401 N. 7th Street
Estherville, IA 51334
Email: henryolsonfuneral@gmail.com
712-864-3441 Henry-Olson Funeral Home and Crematory - Armstrong
506 2nd Ave.
Armstrong, IA 50514
Email: henryolsonfuneral@gmail.com
515-889-2796 Henry-Olson Funeral Home and Crematory - Fenton
306 2nd Street
Fenton, IA 50539
Email: henryolsonfuneral@gmail.com
712-859-3919 Henry-Olson Funeral Home & Crematory - Graettinger
104 N. Cedar St.
Graettinger, IA 51342
Email: henryolsonfuneral@gmail.com
515-272-4242 Henry-Olson Funeral Home & Crematory - Swea City
408 4th Ave. West
Swea City, IA 50590
Email: henryolsonfuneral@gmail.com
712-866-1006 Ringsted