Helpful Resources


What to do Immediately When Your Loved One Passes Away:

Death at an Institution: When the death occurs at a hospital or nursing home, the medical staff should take care of all necessary legal steps. You should notify the medical staff that Cremation Your Way is handling arrangements so they can have you 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 should notify Hospice that Cremation Your Way is handling arrangements, they will then take care of all necessary legal requirements.

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. Sometimes, the police will release the deceased directly to Cremation Your Way. However, in certain cases, your loved one may need to go to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

Who is Able to Make Arrangements for Their Loved One?

The deceased Next of Kin (closest living relative) or their Designated Funeral Representative are able to make funeral or cremation arrangements for their loved one.

Next of Kin/Representative – This term is often used when making end of life and funeral arrangement decisions. It can, however, be confusing. Funeral decisions are made by individuals in this order: spouse, adult children (legally adopted or by blood relation), parents, siblings, nieces/nephews, grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, personal representative outlined in the will, guardian, appointed representative, Medical Examiner. If there is a disagreement between parties that have equal rights to the decision, then a majority (51%) is acceptable. This means that if there were three children and two wanted cremation for their widowed mother, but one wanted burial, the mother would be cremated. Be assured that we will strive to get a unanimous decision amongst equals, working with the whole family to get the required signatures. This protects us as well as all the legal next of kin in the final decision making process.

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How Many Copies of the Certified Death Certificate will I need?

Certified death certificates are legal documents that are issued by the State of Michigan Vital Statistics offices and are produced by the County Clerk (in the county of passing). As part of our services, we will obtain certified copies on your behalf. In order to assist you in determining the number of certified copies needed, please take a look at the list below:

  1. Life Insurance (one will be needed for each policy if there are multiple)- If the deceased had life insurance coverage you need to locate the original policy or the name of the insurance company, policy number if possible, and the deceased social security number. 
  2. Vehicle and Boat Title transfers- information is available at the local Secretary of State’s Office or go to to find out more information.
  3. Pension, IRA, or other Retirement Benefits- Contact the deceased employer’s HR department for details in processing any benefits or changes. This can sometimes also be done by calling the company’s customer service number. 
  4. Probate of Will (Probate Court) 
  5. Bank Account (Banks will take photo copies in most cases)- Contact your bank for its specific procedures in regards to account information or safety deposit box regulations.
  6. State & Federal Tax Returns
  7. Stocks and Bonds- contact your broker for proper procedures and ask them how many certified copies of the death certificate they will need.
  8. Some Credit Card Companies
  9. Real Estate Transactions- transfer of ownership of real estate or property usually goes to the surviving spouse if applicable. Other circumstances may require probate action. It will be necessary to register the death at the local Register of Deeds office before any sale of the property or change of ownership can occur. 
  10. Government Employee Claims/Pension Claims
  11. Your Own Files
As with any legal matters, it is always advisable that you contact a qualified attorney to assist you.

Do I Need to Contact Social Security?

Cremation Your Way will notify the social security office of any death that has occurred. A family may receive a social security death benefit if the deceased has a living spouse, children under the age of 18, any children who are handicapped or disabled and are dependent on the deceased. If the deceased was receiving benefits, the family will need to contact their case worker to report the death. They may ask for a W-2 form, income tax returns, or a marriage certificate. If there are minor children surviving, a birth certificate may be required. If you think you may be eligible for survivor benefits, you should contact social security to apply at 1-800-772-1213 or

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What Benefits are provided for a Veteran?

Veterans Benefits – Anyone who was an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Military at the time of their death may be entitled to a number of benefits, including but not necessarily limited to:

  1. Burial in a National Cemetery 
  2. Burial flag (Cremation Your Way will obtain the burial flag if you upload a clear DD-214)
  3. Bronze or Granite Grave Marker
  4. Partial reimbursement of funeral expenses
  5. Retired, career service personnel, or disabled veterans may have additional benefits
  6. Burial with Military Honors
Please contact the Veterans Administration at 1-800-827-1000 or at with any questions.

What Should I Include when Writing an Obituary?

1. Full name of the deceased (including maiden name, nickname, or any other name by which your loved one might be identified)
2. Dates and locations of birth, marriage, and death
3. Cause of death (if desired)
4. Predeceased and surviving loved ones’ names
5. Schools attended and Degree’s earned
6. Military service
7. Place of employment and position held
8. Membership in organizations (for example, civic, fraternal, place of worship)
9. Hobbies or special interests
10. Date, time, and location of service if this information should be made public

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How Do I Place an Obituary in a Newspaper?

Lansing State Journal- Call the obituary department at 517-377-1104 or 866-543-6431, between 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Monday-Friday and on weekends from 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Grand Rapids Press- To place an obituary visit, and follow the instructions on the online portal. If you have any questions call, 877-253-4113. When placing an obituary have the following information available:

  • Your Name and Name of Deceased
  • Your Telephone Number
  • Billing Address (including city, state, zip)
  • Requested Publication Date
  • Contact Information of the Facility Handling Deceased’s Arrangements,
  • Cremation Your Way
  • Next of Kin's Name and Phone Number

Detroit Free Press- To place an obituary visit, and follow the instructions on the portal.
If you have any questions call, 586-826-7171.

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