Funeral Outline of Process
- Death occurs
If death occurs at home, through trauma or accident, or in other than in a hospital or hospice, call 911. The Sheriff’s Department will send a deputy who will observe the situation, interview the caller, and complete a formal report of the circumstances.
If death occurs in a hospital, or at home if under Hospice care, that organization normally will take the necessary first steps.
- Medical Examiner
The Medical Examiner, located in Ft. Pierce, must sign the death certificate attesting to the cause of death. Normally he will do so without examination of the deceased if there has been an attending physician who will sign the death certificate. The Sheriff will contact the attending physician and/or the Medical Examiner.
- Funeral or Cremation firm.
Ideally a firm will be selected before the fact. The firm should be called as soon as possible after death. The Sheriff, hospital, or hospice will make the call if indicated.
The Indian River County Human Services provides for indigent burial or cremation. Application by relative or friend accepted upon agreement and referral from funeral home.
A Vital Statistics form will be completed by the firm if one has not previously been filled out by the decedent.
Decisions and actions will have to be made in the following areas:
- Identification of remains?
- Burial or cremation?
- Embalming? (Not required in case of cremation unless a service or visitation with viewing of the remains is desired.)
- Selection of burial/cremation clothes?
- Selection of casket or urn?
- Burial or memorial services?
- Disposition of remains, i.e.: burial, shipped out-of-town, ashes return to relatives, distribution at sea.
- Death Certificate.
A death certificate is filed with the county’s vital statistics department. Copies are available for $12.00 each. They are required for insurance and legal processes. Normally, the funeral home will secure the death certificate from Vital Statistics Department. Call the Vital Statistics/Health Department, (772) 794-7460 with any questions.
The cause of death, as shown on the death certificate, is not available to the general public, only to close relatives and officials. While anyone may obtain a death certificate for anyone else, the cause of death is stricken from the certificate if the person obtaining it is not eligible to know the cause.