When a death occurs, how do I proceed?

Depending on where the death occurs and under what circumstances, this explains what you should do when a death occurs:

  • Death in an Institution: When the death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff should take care of all necessary legal steps. You just need to notify the medical staff that Slabinski-Sucharski is the funeral home handling the arrangements so they can have your sign any necessary release paperwork.
  • Anticipated Death at Home: Today, more people with terminal illnesses are electing to die at home under the care of hospice. In this situation, you just need to notify Hospice that Slabinski-Sucharski is the funeral home of your choice, they will then take care of all necessary legal pre-arrangements with us so that you are not overwhelmed with the many important decisions at the time of death.
  • Unanticipated Death at Home or Elsewhere: In these situations, immediately call 911. The police and emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to be taken. Often, the police can release the human remains directly to our funeral home. However, in certain cases, the body may need to go to the Medical Examiner's office so that they can determine the cause of death.
  • Death out of state: If the death occurs outside of Pennsylvania, you should call Slabinski-Sucharski Funeral Homes at (215) 744-2700. We can coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death. Being a member of several national association, Slabinski-Sucharski Funeral Homes often can save families money by having our company make arrangements.

Funeral Arrangement Conference

To assure that one of our funeral home directors is immediately available and can devote the personal attention and time needed to make the arrangements, we would request that you call to schedule a mutually convenient arrangement time. Although the vast majority of funeral conferences are handled at one of our chapels during normal business hours, we are available to come to your residence or meet in the evening or weekends. One of our funeral directors is always on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

When you come to the conference, you may want to bring with you the following items:

  • Military Discharge Papers (Form DD214)
  • Recent Photograph for newspaper & Preparations purposes
  • Clothing - all normal items including undergarments, other than shows. For women, an outfit closed at the neckline and long sleeves are preferred.
  • Jewelry & personal items - these items can either be brought to the arrangement conference, or on the day of the visitation. You will be given a receipt for such items which will also list your requested disposition.

At the funeral arrangement conference, if you have not already made prearrangements with Slabinski-Sucharski Funeral Homes, our funeral directors will need to obtain some virtual information for completing the death certificate. Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents and are issued by the state of Pennsylvania Vital Statistics offices. Photocopies are not considered legal documents. After the original certificate has been signed by the physician or medical examiner and all vital information completed by our funeral home. it is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Fees for certified copies in Pennsylvania are $9 each and are free for Veterans and their spouses. Costs of death certificates outside Pennsylvania vary from state to state.  During the funeral arrangement conference, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate are needed. As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. Although we try to obtain the certified copies prior to the completion of the funeral service, this is not always possible. In order to assist you in ascertaining the number of certified copies needed, below is a list of potential needs for a death certificate:

  • Each Life Insurance Company
  • Pension, IRA or other retirement benefits
  • Each bank where accounts are maintained
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Real Property
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Probate of Will
  • Final Tax Return
  • Your own files

Please note that we will notify Social Security of the death so no death certificate is needed for that purpose.