What To Do
When Death Occurs...

If death should occur at home...

  • You must call the Sheriff so that a Deputy can confirm that there was no foul play. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Non-emergency Phone Number is 247-8200. If no one answers or you get a recorded message, call 911 and ask for a Sheriff's Deputy to investigate a natural death. Don't leave a recorded message because it may be several hours before they listen to it! Indicate that you do not need an ambulance ($$$).


  • After the Deputy arrives and confirms no foul play, he or she will call the Medical Examiner's office (which is open around the clock). If it was a natural death, the Medical Examiner will normally decline jurisdiction and not come out.


  • Assuming that jurisdiction is declined, the Deputy (as a courtesy) or you can call the funeral home to come and pick up the deceased. Advise the Funeral Home that the deceased was a member of the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA) of Tampa Bay and furnish the FCA member number if possible.

    If the deceased was under Hospice care, the family need only call their Hospice contact, who has the legal authority to bypass the Sheriff and Medical Examiner and will notify the funeral home.

  • Call family and close associates.


  • Call clergy, if desired.

If death occurs at the hospital...

  • The physician or staff will confirm the death and call the next of kin.


  • The Hospital (as a courtesy) or you then call the funeral home to come to the hospital and pick-up the deceased. Advise the Funeral Home that the deceased was a member of the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA) of Tampa Bay and furnish the FCA member number if possible.


  • Call clergy, if desired.

If death occurs in an accident...

  • Police or paramedics will see that the body is sent to a hospital or the coroner. A physician, medical examiner or coroner is required by law to declare the victim dead, determine the cause, and record those and other details, which are then filed with the appropriate government agency.


  • Call the funeral home. Advise the Funeral Home that the deceased was a member of the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA) of Tampa Bay and furnish the FCA member number if possible. They will contact the facility with the body and arrange for pick-up and will advise you of the schedule.


  • Call clergy if desired.

Arrangements

  • If an MSTB member's Final Arrangements/Vital Statistics Form has been filed with the FCA of Tampa Bay and the Funeral Home, very little remains to be decided.


  • If plans have not been recorded and filed, decisions must be made by the next of kin primarily in cooperation with the Funeral Home. For example:

    • Burial or Cremation? - Where?
    • Death Certificate Information?
    • Obituary?
    • Funeral or Memorial service? - When, where and content?
    • Simple or Fancy?
    • Flowers or Contribute money?
    • Reception afterward the service? Food?
    • Etc.

Death Certificate

  • The Death Certificate provides positive identification and information for the record. The Funeral Home will obtain the certificate from the Medical Examiner, complete it and file it as required by Florida law.


  • Vital Statistics of the deceased must be provided to the Funeral Home by the next of kin. If the Final Arrangements/Vital Statistics Form is on file, the Funeral Home already has the necessary information and can complete the Certificate. Otherwise, the next of kin will have to collect the needed information about the deceased and give it to the Funeral Home.

What The Survivors Should Know...

  • A number of Death Certificates will be needed. Certified copies ($6 each) can be obtained through the Funeral Home. The certificates are typically needed for insurance, banks, brokers, real estate transaction, title transfers, etc. Inexpensive photo copies are adequate for some purposes.


  • When property has been jointly owned (like a home or business), a certified copy of the death certificate should be sent to the Clerk of the Court, where it is entered in the public register. A recording fee is charged. The deed is not changed.


  • The Social Security office should be notified as soon as possible by telephone. A Social Security check received during the month following the death must be returned.


  • Where are important papers kept? Such papers include insurance policies, a Will, bank records, military records, etc. If the originals are in a safe deposit box, do the survivors have legal access? If not, a court order will be required to gain access to the box. Copies may be kept in a fire-proof safe at home, or in a water tight container in the refrigerator freezing compartment. Family and concerned persons should be advised of the exact location of all important papers.


  • FCA of Tampa Bay members who live alone should be aware that the estate's administrator may have difficulty gaining access to funds for death related expenses before the estate can be settled.


  • Survivors should be made aware that membership in the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA) of Tampa Bay does not include prepaid arrangements.

Obituary and other press notices...

  • If the deceased has not prepared an obituary, the Funeral Home will prepare the obituary and submit it to the press, which may delete what it pleases, but will publish at no cost.


  • Funeral or memorial service notices may include more information, as desired by the family, but are charged for at current advertising rates. The Funeral Home can assist in these matters.

This information has been prepared to help our members at a time when guidance is needed most - to ease the trauma and confusion of the death of a loved one.


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This site is maintained by David Brown