What to do now?

During this time of uncertainty, you may need some assistance in the decision making.  A funeral director from Anderson Funeral Homes is available 24 hours a day to assist you in the event of a death.

To help guide you through this process, we have organized a step-by-step list to help coordinate details:

After a death has occurred, notify Anderson Funeral Homes by calling 800.562.2692
or contact us locally in Ayer (978) 772-2355, Fitchburg (978) 343-4407 or Townsend (978) 597-2692.

Information we will immediately need:

  • The full name of the deceased
  • The location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)
  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The name, address and phone number of next-of-kin
  • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan?

An appointment time will be scheduled for you to come to the funeral home to complete the funeral arrangements. Some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangements will include:

  • Clothing for the deceased
  • 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)


The Funeral Home will contact your clergy and help you in decide on a time and place for the funeral or memorial service (the services may be held at the funeral home).

The funeral home will help you to determine the number of copies of the death certificates needed and will order them for you.

Decide on pallbearers.

Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues to notify. It’s helpful if you ask relatives and friends to make a few of these calls for you. Advise them of the specific people you would like them to call.

If you wish gifts to be made to a charity, decide on which one you prefer.

Information for an obituary (The funeral home can, if you wish, write the obituary and submit it to the newspapers): 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. Include the time and place of the funeral services.

Keep a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries. It will make it easier to thank people later on.

Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next several days.

Delegate to friends and family who’d like to help you to clean, prepare food, etc. If needed arrange for child care.

Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.

Make a list of people to acknowledge for flowers, calls, volunteered their time, etc. Send acknowledgments (written note, printed acknowledgment, or both is appropriate).

Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor.

Notify insurance companies. Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military.

Your Funeral Director will prepare the necessary Social Security forms.

Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due.

If the deceased was living alone, notify utility companies and landlord.

Notify the post office where to send the mail.