Mailing Address: P.O. Box 121
Muscatine, IA 52761
Phone: 563-263-0842

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When You Meet with Your Funeral Home - Muscatine Funeral Home Nichols Life Tribute Funeral and Cremation Services

When You Meet with Your Funeral Director

Chances are, within the first 24 hours of your loved one’s death, you will need to meet with your funeral director to begin the final arrangements. The following information will help you prepare for what is often called “the arrangement conference.”

Without a doubt, this is a difficult time for you and your loved ones. Yet, it’s comforting to know every member of our staff is here to do their utmost to make this difficult time a little bit easier. Your funeral director will provide information and offer guidance in making all the necessary decisions. It’s good to know you are not alone.


Would You Like Someone to Meet Your Funeral Director with You?

Perhaps you’d like another member of the family with you during the arrangement conference. Or maybe you’d rather have a friend, close neighbor, or your clergy join you. While it’s not necessary to have someone with you for support, it can be beneficial.

Please don’t hesitate to ask someone to join you. Chances are they will be honored at your request, and gladly help you during this time. When you ask, be sure to tell them that if they do not feel comfortable doing so, you’ll understand.

Who is Responsible for Making the Decisions?

It’s important to know exactly who is legally responsible for making the final decisions for a loved one. If the deceased has expressed their wishes through a written legal document known as a Designated Representative document (this must be attached to a Power of Attorney for Health Care); then the chain of command is commonly as follows:

  • Designated Representative (in Iowa)
  • Legal Spouse
  • Surviving Adult Child/Children
  • Surviving Parent
  • Surviving Adult Sibling
  • Parent of Minor Child

The person designated as the responsible party, whoever they may be, needs to be present to make decisions, and sign documents. If you have questions about the accepted kinship-related order of precedence, or are unclear as to who is the responsible person in funeral planning please call us at 563-263-0842.

Should Someone Else be Included in Making the Arrangements?

While assigning responsibility is an important part of funeral planning, it’s also very important to include any children, friends, or other family who would like to be a part of arranging the funeral. Despite the fact that they may not have any legal decision-making rights, their input could be very valuable to the process.

Assisting in making the final arrangement decisions can be very empowering, and help someone come to terms with the loss. If there are people in your life who you feel should be asked to participate, make sure you ask them. They can always decline.

Have You Gathered the Necessary Documents?

Life and death are full of legalities. When a loved one dies, it is not just an emotional matter for those left behind; it is a legal one which requires the timely completion of paperwork. Your funeral director will tell you that one of the first steps in caring for your loved one involves completing, and filing, the Death Certificate and Burial or Cremation permit.

These documents need to be completed as accurately, and if you are not prepared with the necessary information, then most of your initial meeting will be spent retrieving this information.

To assist your funeral director in preparing all the necessary documents, it’s helpful to have some of the following things with you at your initial meeting or arrangement conference:

  • Deceased's Birth Certificate, if available
  • Deceased's Marriage Certificate, if available
  • Deceased's Military Discharge papers (DD-214)* (if applicable)
  • Deceased's Funeral pre-arrangements documents* (if applicable)
  • Designated Representative document* (if applicable)
  • Social Security Card (Number required*)
  • Cemetery Property Deed or documents

    * - Designates required documents.

If you have questions about the legal documents you should have with you at the arrangement conference, please contact us.


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