Our family, helping our neighbors in
Humboldt County with affordable
cremation and burial services


When Death Occurs

Arranging a funeral is not something you do every day, so you are bound to have several questions, such as: How do you file a death
certificate? Who must I notify? What are the legal requirements in California?

At Ayres Family Cremation, we’re here to support you during this time of sorrow and new responsibility. We are qualified and happy to answer all of your questions directly and clearly. We will walk you through each of the necessary steps (as outlined below).

Once we’ve been notified of your loved one’s passing, you can arrange the chosen cremation or burial via our website. You won’t need to make any appointments or travel, or even see a funeral director, but we’re always available by phone for your questions.

How to arrange a direct cremation with Ayres Family Cremation:

1. Call us promptly at 707-269-7160

As soon as death has been confirmed, call Ayres Family Cremation. We will ask you a few straightforward questions about your loved one, such as his or her name, and the address and where the death took place.

You’ll also need to tell us who the next-of-kin is, and who the attending doctor was at time of death. We’ll then come to collect the body, usually within an hour of being notified.

Depending on the circumstance of death, you may have to call other officials as well:

Anticipated death

If your loved one died in a hospital, hospice or nursing home, the medical staff will notify the relevant authorities on your behalf. They may call us as well, but to be sure, it is best that you call us directly.

If your loved one died at home following a terminal illness, you should first notify the doctor or healthcare facility that had been providing treatment (if you don’t know, look on the prescription bottles). Then call us to collect the body.

Unexpected death

If your loved one died unexpectedly and not in a healthcare facility, you must call 911 immediately. Emergency services will come to confirm the death and then call the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (ME-C).

The ME-C will decide whether an autopsy is necessary to determine the cause and manner of the death. If an autopsy isn’t necessary, call us and we’ll collect the body from the place of death. If an autopsy is required, the body is taken into custody by the ME-C. You should still call us though because we’ll inform the ME-C know that we’ll be handling the funeral arrangements.

We understand that the thought of an autopsy can be very upsetting. However, post-mortem examinations can help identify genetic health problems and contagious diseases and they may even prevent other deaths in the community. In addition, they can help families understand how the death occurred and offer closure. Getting closure is an important step in the grieving process.

Out-of-state death

If your loved one died in another state, call us.

We can still help you and arrange for transportation back home. If you ask a funeral director in the state where death took place, you’ll incur an additional, and unnecessary, cost.

If your loved one died while traveling abroad, contact the nearest consulate and then call us for guidance about transporting the remains back to the United States.

If your loved one had our Out of Area Protection Plan, we’ll make sure his or her body or ashes are brought back to California at no extra cost.

2. Go online to arrange the cremation

After notifying us, you need to order and pay for the selected cremation service through our website. We’ve made the process as easy as possible for you. Simply select our Direct Cremation Package, decide which urn you want, and add any keepsake options.

Next, review the itemized statement that shows the total cost of the cremation. Once you are satisfied with your choice and the cost, enter your contact and billing information (you can pay with any major credit card) and select ‘Submit’ to make that payment and enter your order.

As soon as we receive you order, we’ll send you confirmation of receipt and further instructions by email. Call us if you need help with placing the online order.

3. Fill out, sign and return the authorization forms

The next step is to complete five legal documents: The Vital Statistics Form, Declaration for Disposition of Cremated Remains Form, Authorization to Accept or Decline Embalming Form, Disclosure of Pre-need Arrangement Form, and the Cremation & Disposition Authorization Form.

You need to sign and return these forms to us as soon as possible. We cannot proceed with the cremation unless we have these forms.

This Vital Statistics Form allows us to file for the death certificate, and the Cremation & Disposition Authorization gives us permission to carry out the cremation. Just download the forms from our website, fill them out, sign them and return them to us.

We usually carry out a cremation within three (3) days of receiving an order that’s been placed online.

4. Inform friends, relatives and organizations

One of the hardest things you’ll have to do is inform family, friends and others of your loved one’s passing. It may be a good idea to ask a handful of people to help spread the news among your wider circle for you.

You’ll also need to contact some organizations very quickly. The main ones to call in the immediate days after death are:

Social Security Administration (to report death, stop checks and claim any survivor’s benefits) We at Ayres make this contact for the family.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (if your loved one was a veteran, funeral allowances may be available)

Defense Finance and Accounting Service (if your loved one was retired military, you need to report the death and arrange survivor’s benefits)

Your attorney (to assist with estate settlement and other legal matters)

One of the best ways to notify people of a death is by placing an obituary in local newspapers. You may want to read these tips for writing an obituary. We can supply you with a list of local newspapers that publish obituaries as well.

5. Receive delivery of the ashes

Once the cremation has been carried out, we’ll place the ashes in the urn that you’ve selected and give you a call to let you know they are ready to be picked up from our office, schedule a time to bring them to you or have them mailed or delivered to a local cemetery.

If a death has occurred in your family and you’re not sure what to do next, please call us at 707-269-7160. We are available to you and your family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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