Funeral Consumers Alliance of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties
(formerly Funeral and Memorial Planning Society)
We have attempted to gather information and links on this page that are especially useful in times of immediate or imminent need.
When Death has just occurred
- You can begin with the Checklist B–Items for the Attention of Next of Kin (either the web version or more printable pdf version.
- Here is a list of cooperating mortuaries for you to contact.
- Finally, after you’ve contacted a mortuary, make sure the deceased member’s form is on file in our office and is up-to-date. Our participating service providers will want us to send them a copy.
- Our checklist immediately following death is available to everyone (either the web version or simple version are both printable) and will hopefully help as you begin this process.
- Here are some decisions you’ll need to make at the beginning.
- Do you want a mortuary to handle the body or would you prefer to do it yourself? We have some resources for people who are interested in performing more services themselves.
- Do you want to be able to use FCA’s providers and prices? If you do, you should call the office in order to expedite joining. You can also go to our membership page and apply for membership on-line or print out a copy.
- You will need to choose between body burial or cremation.
- Consider the differences between funeral and memorial services.
- You need to consider the final resting place for the remains and you may decide to purchase a plot or niche. Here is our guide to purchasing cemetery property as well as a list of Cemeteries in SF Peninsula and South Bay.
- We have some additional resources to help decide what to do with ashes if you’ve chosen cremation.
- All our burial plans include a minimum casket. You may pay mmore to the particular funeral home you choose and obtain a more expensive casket if you wish. Or you can use this link our to National Organization’s list of discount casket retailers.
- We have a List of Monument Dealers for your information.
Get help from friends and relatives.
We highly recommend that you do not attempt to handle everything by yourself; turn to friends and family whenever possible. No matter what the circumstances, everyone needs support at these times. You might begin by establishing a phone tree to notify relatives and friends of the deceased.
Ask friends and family to help plan and carry out and even participate in the details of the funeral or memorial service. They can also accompany you on your visits to mortuaries which is particularly helpful in keeping plans reasonable.
Many people would gladly help in any way if simply asked. Think about asking anyone who offers their help for assistance with;
- food preparation
- pet care
- baby sitting
- housing for out of town guests
Consider charitable donations in lieu of flowers and find charitable ways to use flowers that will undoubtedly be sent – perhaps to nursing homes or churches.
Some additional resources
We will add links to sites we believe useful in times of immediate need.
Grief Counseling Organizations
Most of the hospices offer grief counseling either individually or in support groups. (Call us if you know of others)
- ACT for Mental Health, 441 Park Ave., San Jose 95110
Centre for Living with Dying, 554 Mansion Park Dr.,
Santa Clara 95054 408-980-9801
- Compassionate Friends, www.compassionatefriends.org
- Good Grief Company, www.goodgrief.net, Belmont, Joe Stinson 650-866-3525
- KARA, 457 Kingsley Ave.
Palo Alto 94301
- St. Mary’s Medical Center (Sisters of Mercy) 450
Stanyan St., San Fran. 94117 415-668-1000
Private Grief Counseling Practices
- Joan Barbour, LMFT, Portola Valley 650-851-4121
- Robert Grant, PhD., P.O. Box 504, Burlingame 94010; [email protected] 650-343-9948
- Ceci Lipset, LCSW, 851 Fremont Ave., Ste. 214, Los Altos 94024 650-941-3205
There are some special death benefits that apply to Veterans of the US Military.
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Funeral Consumers Alliance
463 College Avenue (P.O. Box 60448)
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 321-2109 or (888) 775-5553 (Bay Area no toll)
Send email to FCA’s Office Manager.
office hours: Mon – Thursday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.