Where to Begin

Planning a funeral can feel like a daunting task. There are many decisions to make, and going through the process while grieving can feel overwhelming. However, you’re not alone. Farris Funeral Service is here to help and support you as you plan. Here is what to expect at each stage, and if you have questions at any point along the way, please contact us at any time.

Within Hours

The hours immediately after death has occurred are focused on contacting your loved one’s medical providers and obtaining a death certificate.

If your loved one has passed away in a medical or care facility, the family will be asked to provide the name of the funeral home that will be assisting the family. When the person is ready to be transferred to the funeral home's care, the nursing staff will notify the funeral home. There might be a delay of several hours after death to allow time for completing paperwork and coordinating with donor services if your loved one was an organ or tissue donor.

If the death occurs at home and your loved one was in the care of hospice, the hospice nurse will notify the funeral home after the pronouncement of death. If your loved one dies at home and has not been under hospice care, notify local emergency authorities and explain there has been a death. They will send law enforcement and/or emergency medical personnel to confirm the death and contact your loved one's physician or the medical examiner if there is not a primary care physician involved. They will then call the funeral home to release your loved one to our care.

Within the First Few Days

The week following death is focused on alerting your loved one’s family and friends, and making funeral arrangements.

If your loved one preplanned their arrangements, now is the time to review them. You will need to get in touch with a funeral director at their chosen funeral home.

If your loved one did not have preplanned arrangements, it is time to start thinking about some of the choices you will have to make. Here is a checklist of what to consider as you begin the planning process:

  • Would your loved one have wanted burial or cremation?
  • If burial, do you have a cemetery in mind?
  • If cremation, do you want to bury the remains, or scatter them somewhere meaningful?
  • Do you want a traditional funeral with a viewing and graveside service? Is there another option you have questions about?
  • Do you want religious or spiritual leaders at the service?
Sunflowers against a bright sunny sky.

What to Expect When We Meet

It is our mission to help you make funeral decisions that are best for you and your family. We will offer guidance and a transparent pricing guide to our services, as well as support with any decisions you find difficult.

Through this process, we will ask you about your loved one so that together, we can make arrangements that best reflect who they were as a person. While it’s important to consider what your loved one would have wanted, we feel that a funeral best serves you and your family. Coming together to grieve as a community is an important ritual for the healing process. The decisions you make about the funeral service should reflect both your loved one’s preferences, and your own.

We will offer guidance for other aspects of the process as well, such as drafting an obituary, scheduling the services and events, arranging necessary transportation, and selecting a casket, urn, and anything else you might need.

In order to make the process as stress-free as possible, here is a checklist of your loved one’s documents and vital statistics you will need:

  • Full legal name and home address
  • Social security number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name
  • Veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214), if applicable
  • Clergy name and phone number, if applicable
  • Highest education, occupation, and names and relationships of survivors, for the purpose of the obituary
  • Insurance policy information if using to pay for funeral services

During the first several days, our staff will be completing the biographical information needed to file a death certificate and coordinating with the physician to complete the medical certification in a timely way. We will obtain certified copies on your behalf from the local health department.

This can be a very difficult process, and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you.


Forest Hills Memory Gardens | (276) 623-2717
19415 Lee Highway, Abingdon, VA

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