When a Death Occurs

How to begin making cremation arrangements
Home > Cremation Information > When a Death Occurs
1. Call us as soon as death is confirmed

When a death occurs, call Washington Cremation Alliance at 1 (844) 927-3628 as soon as possible. We’ll ask a few simple questions about who has died and where the death took place. We’ll also need to know the name of the next-of-kin and of the doctor who confirmed the death. We can then send our professional and caring team to bring your loved one into our care, usually within an hour or two of receiving your call.

Depending on the circumstance of death, you may have to call other officials as well:
Death in a healthcare facility
When a death occurs in a hospital, hospice, or nursing home you will need to make sure the facility knows you’ve chosen to use Washington Cremation Alliance and that they have our contact information. The medical staff will make sure the authorities are notified, and call us directly to bring your loved one into our care.
Anticipated death at home
If death is expected very soon, many people prefer to leave their healthcare facility and return home. When death does take place, you must first call the staff at the healthcare facility that was providing treatment. They will report the death officially, then contact us to transfer your loved one into our care.
Unexpected death
When a death occurs that was not expected and did not occur in a health care facility, call 911 immediately. The local police will arrive and then call the Medical Examiner (ME) or Coroner. If the death seems non-suspicious, the ME must decide whether an autopsy is required. If it is, the ME may take the body into custody. If it isn’t, you can call us immediately and we will send our team as soon as possible. If the death seems suspicious, however, the ME is obliged to carry out an autopsy. Once the autopsy is done, the ME will contact us to transfer the body from their custody.
2. Select services and merchandise on our website
Select the services and merchandise you need and pay online with your credit card. View our General Price List.
3. Complete cremation arrangement form
Fill out our convenient cremation arrangement form to send us information for the filing of legal documents.
4. Sign cremation authorization online
We’ll email you the necessary paperwork to complete the cremation. Simply follow the easy instructions to legally sign online.
Our professional staff will respond as soon as possible to the place of passing to bring your loved one into our care. The cremation usually takes place within 7 – 10 days of receiving all signed paperwork.

2. Order and pay for the cremation using our online service
Your next step is to arrange the cremation. Our online service makes this very easy. Just select our Direct Cremation inside or outside the service area, enter your contact information and credit card details (we accept all major credit cards), and click ‘Submit’.

As soon as you have ordered the cremation, we’ll email you confirmation and instructions regarding the legal forms you need to complete.

3. Complete online or download and return the Vital Statistics Worksheet
Once you have arranged and paid for the cremation, the next step is to obtain vital statistics information for your loved one. Click here to complete this information securely online. Alternatively, you can download the Vital Statistics Form, then return it to us within 48 hours of your loved one coming into our care. This form lets us file for the death certificate. We can’t proceed with the cremation until we have received the death certificate signed by a medical professional.

The medical professional has 5 days by law to complete the certificate and return it to us. Please note that there are circumstances that will delay the death certificate process but our friendly staff will keep you informed of the status.

4. Complete and return the Cremation Authorization Form
Fill out and sign a Cremation Authorization Form. This form legally authorizes us to perform the cremation. Return the form to us within 48 hours of your loved one coming into our care.

Reminder: If we don’t receive the Vital Statistics Form and the Cremation Authorization Form within 2 business days of transferring your loved one into our care, there will be additional sheltering fees.

Once we have the completed forms, we will request the death certificate and burial transit permit. Upon receipt, we will carry out the cremation. The cremation generally happens within 7 days of your loved one coming into our care.