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First Steps to Take When a Death Occurs

Catholic Cemeteries seeks to help San Jose, CA, residents that are trying to navigate the steps after the death of a loved one. We know that when someone dies it can be a challenging time to think clearly. Someone you love is no longer here, and somehow planning a funeral was not part of the conversation—and now you are not sure what to do next. Let the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose help your loved one meet eternal life with faith, hope, and love.

We believe that our responsibility is to help care for you and your loved ones before, during, and after a death occurs, and the need for traditional cemetery services arises. Our various service offerings will help you with all the necessary steps to make your funeral arrangements as smooth as possible. If there is anything we can do to make this difficult transition easier for you to navigate, that is exactly what we are here for. Contact

Gravestone & Yellow Leaves

Who to contact

One of the first things you’ll need to do is reach out to people and let them know someone has died. This includes authorities that will need to record the death for legal purposes. If the death occurs under hospital or hospice watch, the proper authorities will be notified and help you make arrangements with the coroner’s office for transport of the remains, so you won’t have to worry about getting in touch with them. If death happens at home, you’ll need to contact the local police or 911 for assistance. Also, keep in mind that if your loved one is an organ donor, you’ll need to act quickly to preserve any tissues or organs they are donating to a recipient. If you’re not sure, check their driver’s license or will for instructions.

Friends and family

Contacting friends and family is often the next step, and this can be an emotional process, so you may wish to recruit some assistance. Reach out for help in making arrangements and locating key legal documents. It may be helpful to split up such tasks as contacting others who will want to know, providing support for grieving family members, and making meals. Sharing these tasks can help keep things from feeling overwhelming.

Other notifications

In addition to the more obvious calls, you’ll also need to notify any appropriate government agencies, creditors, insurance companies and other organizations with which the deceased had business or financial arrangements. Typically, you’ll be required to submit a certified copy of the death certificate, so make sure you order extra copies. The funeral home can help, or you can order through the county health department. Some of the places you may want to reach out to include Social Security, banks, financial advisors, and mortgage holders, depending on the person.

You’ll also need to contact your parish priest to arrange for the necessary rites to be administered.

Make Funeral Arrangements

Contact the Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of San Jose funeral home partners. If your loved one had a will or other document that indicates their desire for a burial or cremation wishes, you might use that for guidance. If not, our family funeral home partners can guide you through the paperwork process, such as placing an obituary, and ordering death certificates. We will also provide you with a selection of options for the burial, including in-ground, mausoleum, crypts, niches, or cremation.

Gate of Heaven Cemetery Stone Bridge

Select Burial Location

Choose Burial Options

In-Ground Burial, Mausoleum, Crypts, Niche

Rounding up additional paperwork

There are a number of things that will need to be taken care of in terms of paperwork once the initial death arrangements have been made. Sometimes it may be helpful to enlist the help of a legal professional if there is a large estate, or if there is confusion as to what assets need to be distributed.

If the deceased prepared a will that names an executor to oversee the disposition of his or her estate; otherwise, the court will have to appoint one. Search through their files for a trust; insurance policies (life, home, and auto); bank, credit card, mortgage and loan accounts; safe deposit box keys; contact information for a lawyer, doctor, accountant or other professional advisors; and passwords to computers and other accounts. Sometimes other family members may have this type of information, so be sure to inquire.

Once all the legal affairs have been attended to, the estate will be closed, but this only takes place when everything has been accounted for. This means all debts are settled, all assets have been distributed, all property sales have been settled, and all taxes have been paid.

Pre-Plan with Catholic Cemeteries and Get Back to What Matters Most in Life