When Death Occurs | Scanlin Cremation and Burial | Tacoma WA Provider of Cremation and Burials

When Death Occurs


The overwhelming feelings of despair, disbelief, shock, and numbness caused by the passing of a loved one cannot be conveyed by mere words. Even when the death is expected, the pain that loss brings can still be devastating.  In truth, no one is completely prepared for the death of someone close to their heart.

During this difficult time, there are decisions to be made immediately, arrangements to be coordinated, and a lot of things to be considered for your loved one’s final farewell. We understand how this may feel overwhelming, especially with the grief you’re feeling over the loss. Please know that we are here to help and support you. 

On this page, we’ve put together helpful information to guide you through this process.


If your loved one passes away while under the care of a facility — such as a nursing home or a hospital — staff from the facility will contact you and notify appropriate authorities themselves.

If the death occurred in the workplace or at home, you will need to get in touch with his/her physician or emergency medical personnel, as the cause of death must be identified and indicated in legal documents.

In the event that no one was present at the time of death, you will need to contact the police before moving the deceased to another location.


Upon calling our caring professional staff, we will collect information from you in order to facilitate the transfer of your loved one’s remains to our facility, so please be prepared with basic information. Full legal name, date of birth, general height and weight, where they are located currently, and the best number the funeral home can reach you at the following day. If you haven't already, please make sure the facility we will be picking up at is aware that we are the Funeral Home of choice, as they require direct Next-of-Kin authorization prior to release.

Feel free to call us whenever you feel the need to. Remember that we are here to listen to you, help you, and guide you during this difficult and trying time. 

Understand that after you make this call to our staff, our number one priority going forward is to take as much off your plate as we can. We also understand that you likely will want to do something. You can look through our website, even complete some arrangements online ahead of time. We always recommend starting some checklists, as the feeling of moving forward and accomplishment is important during this trying time.


Usually the following day we will reach out to you and begin to coordinate the next steps. You will be shown a list of our packages/services so you can decide what suits your family’s preferences and budget. You will be asked whether you’d prefer burial or cremation arrangements and optionally you would select a casket, schedule a time and date for the services, decide on the location of the burial, draft an obituary notice, arrange for vehicle services, and select pallbearers.

We have created an online arrangement specifically designed to give you the power and control over what you and your family want. People can feel overwhelmed and pressured to make selections, especially after a death has occurred. If you want, we can walk you through the arrangement over the phone, in our office, or in your home; whatever is most comfortable for you. If nothing else we will go over everything to ensure you are educated an equipped to make all the decisions needed.

Finally, and most importantly, we will take the opportunity to learn a little more about your loved one, what sort of service you hope to have for them, no matter how simple or elaborate. Even if we are not involved in the service, we have a plethora of experience to pull from, and if nothing else we would love to aid you in any way we can.


A death certificate is a legal document indicating the cause of death, including other vital statistics pertaining to the deceased, signed by the attending Physician and a licensed Funeral Director. In case your loved one died due to an accident, a Coroner or the county Medical Examiner may prepare the form. Certified copies of the death certificate can also be purchased at this time. These certified copies are important when gaining access to bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, claiming for benefits due to the family (like the Veteran’s benefits or insurance claims), and transferring or selling ownership of properties.

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