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When A Death Occurs

What to Do when Death Occurs

We realize that the time of death of a loved one can be very stressful and many are left wondering what the next step is. We have put together a partial list of things to consider when dealing with the loss of a loved one. If you have further questions – please call and we will be happy to assist you any way we can.

  • Death in a Medical Facility: When the death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff should take care of all necessary legal steps. Notify the medical staff of the funeral home that is handling the arrangements. Please note that some facilities require the FAMILY to contact the funeral home. Be sure of who will be in charge of making that call.
  • Anticipated Death at Home: In this situation, notify Hospice of the funeral home that will be serving your family, they will then take care of all necessary legal requirements. Many times, families will pre-arrange services with us, before the time of death. Taking this step helps reduce stress and anxiety that can come with the death of a loved one.
  • Unanticipated Death at Home or Elsewhere: In these situations, immediately call 911. The emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to be taken. If asked, tell emergency personnel which funeral home they should contact. We will then work with them to coordinate transport and contact the family.
  • Death Out of State: If the death occurs outside of Wisconsin, you should call Harder Funeral Home FIRST. We will then coordinate with a local funeral home at the place of death. Calling an establishment at the place of death first may incur more fees and costs.


  • Notify Harder Funeral Home by calling 262-781-8350.  Here are some some questions that we may ask when you call:
    • What is the full name of the deceased?
    • What is the location and address of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
    • What is your name, address and telephone number?
    • What is the name, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
    • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan?
  • We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home for funeral arrangements. We will ask you to bring in some items and information necessary to complete the arrangement. These items may include:
    • Clothing for the deceased (If services are traditional)
    • Social security number of the deceased
    • The deceased's birth date and city and state of birth
    • The deceased's parents names, including mother's maiden name
    • Information about the deceased's education
    • Marital status of the deceased
    • Veteran's discharge papers or Claim Number
    • A recent photograph of the deceased
    • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
    • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
    • Photos and music selections for a memorial slide show (if applicable)
  • Our funeral home will assist you in the coordination of services with the church, cemetery and any other outside resources.  We will also help determine the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you.
  • You may wish to connect with friends and family to alert them of your loved one’s passing.  We recommend using a phone tree method (asking others to reach out for you) and even using social media to relay information.  Once service times have been set and more information is available, you can use our website at or our facebook page at to share information as well.
  • Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Our staff will be happy to assist in creating the obituary with the information provided and submit it to the papers of your choice.
  • Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone. Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on.
  • Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help
  • Arrange for child care, if necessary
  • Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers)
  • Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
  • Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
  • Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources
  • Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help.  During this time, many are willing to assist with food, errands and other kinds of support but are afraid to ask.  It can be therapeutic for them to be there for the family.
  • As questions and needs arise, feel free to reach out to the funeral home for ideas and assistance.

After death has occurred, please notify Harder Funeral Home by calling 262-781-8350

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