Tasks when death occurs

Tasks Checklist:

  1. Family Meeting for Planning
  2. Completion of forms needed immediately, see below
  3. Book burial or cremation
  4. Order coffin
  5. Assess transportation requirements
  6. Plan laying out of the body
  7. Arrange viewing of the body
  8. Make service arrangements
  9. If cremation is chosen, arrange disposition of ashes
  10. Send obituary to newspaper

                            DETAILS OF TASKS AT THE TIME OF DEATH

Depending on the circumstances of death, each set of activities will be slightly different.

This is to bring family and friends together to review the wishes and/or pre planning of the deceased, and to plan for implementation of those wishes. If it would be helpful, a Last Wishes volunteer could be included.  If the death is expected, this meeting could take place before the death occurs, and may include the person who is dying.

For details, see Required Forms page
Three BC Government official forms are time related and must be obtained, filled out and faxed as soon as possible after the death has occurred.
For details of these forms, see Required Forms page.
A. Registration of Death forms are numbered by the BC Government. They can be obtained by phoning 250 712 7562. Have a local fax number ready for forms to be sent to you; email is not appropriate for security reasons.
B. Medical Certificate of Death
The completed form is obtained from the attending physician.
A and B must be faxed together to 250 712 7598.  A Burial Permit will be faxed back in a few hours; until this is received, the body may not be moved.
Private Transfer Permit Application
This form is required as well as the Burial Permit. If Last Wishes does not have a copy available, phone 250 265 4865. The application form must be filled out, faxed and returned before moving the body, and can be started in anticipation of the death.  

For other forms which will also need to be completed, see Required Forms.

BURIALS are legally required to take place in a designated cemetery. The New Denver Cemetery is run by the village of New Denver.  Burials need to be booked through the village office at 250 358 2316. Two village employees are require to do the ‘opening and closing’ of the grave (digging and filling in). Burial usually takes place within 72 hours of death. If the time is longer, sanitation issues may require embalming, which is only carried out by a commercial funeral provider.
CREMATION  cannot take place prior to 48 hours after death.  It must be done in a designated crematorium, arranged through a commercial funeral provider. Prior to cremation, pacemakers have to be removed; this is usually done by the attending physician.  Replaced joints do not need to be removed.
PLANNED HOME DEATH  The body of the deceased may be kept in the home until burial or cremation.
DEATH IN A FACILITY If the death occurs in a hospital or other facility, the staff need to know as soon as possible what the funeral arrangements will be.
UNEXPECTED DEATH  The Coroner will be responsible for assessing the cause of death, and also must be informed about funeral arrangements. An autopsy (medical examination of the body to determine the cause of death) may be required.

A ‘rigid, combustible, leak-proof container’ (coffin or casket) is required for either burial or cremation. This can be made locally from any kind of wood, including particle board or plywood. Last Wishes keeps several in store, and will provide names of local woodworkers who keep materials on hand. If it is not possible to have one made, it can be obtained from a commercial funeral provider.
A sheet may be used to lift the body into the coffin. If the body is to be cremated, the head end of the coffin must be marked. If people wish to decorate the coffin, any paint applied should be water based.

Transportation in a coffin must be arranged from the site of death to wherever the body needs to go. A coffin containing a body should not be visible during transportation. Three or more adults will be required to lift the coffin containing an adult. A truck or van should be measured to ensure that it is long enough to for an adult coffin.  A child’s coffin will fit in larger cars.

This process is optional, and may include washing and dressing the body for viewing and burial, or for cremation. Laying Out may take place at home, or in a community building with many people participating. It helps if people gather beforehand to discuss with an experienced person what to expect     and what they will do. Items need to be assembled such as water, disposable gloves, towels and clothing.

Viewing the body is also optional, and can occur at home or in a community building. If the viewing period is to be greater than 72 hours, embalming may be necessary to preserve body tissues.
In situations of sudden death, or when the family or friends have not seen the deceased person for some time, the opportunity to see the body can be a crucial component in coming to terms with the reality that death has occurred.

Ceremonies serve various purposes including community acknowledgement of the death, providing support, sharing grief with bereaved family and friends, and celebrating the life of the person who has died. The body or cremated remains may be present at the service but do not need to be. Arrangements can be made entirely by the family and friends, or may include a religious leader. An ‘order of service’ may be prepared that includes biographic or other information, and whatever rituals, readings, music etc are chosen.

Arrangements will be needed to pick up the cremains, commonly known as ashes. Cremains weigh 4-8 pounds, and are returned from the crematorium in a plastic bag or cardboard box.  They may be transferred to an urn, and buried or scattered later. Urns may be made of various materials eg pottery, brass, wood. It is possible that if cremains are scattered on water they may not sink and the water will move them to the shore.

If desired, write and place a funeral notice or obituary in a newspaper. In New Denver, it is traditional to post a notice in the Post Office window.