D.S. Gulian Funeral Home

55160 Washington Dr. Sheby Township, MI

What To Do When A Death Occurs


We know this is a difficult time. Rest assured we will take excellent care of you and your family.

If a death has occurred, we are very sorry for your loss. If you have not already done so, please call us now so that we may begin assisting you immediately.

If a death is imminent, please review this page and our entire website for valuable information. As you need additional information or assistance, please call us.

In the first few hours after a death:



        Call us at 248-362-2500 (Troy) or 248-549-0500 (Royal Oak). If you are out of town, call 800-210-7135 (Troy) or 800-294-5668 (Royal Oak). We are always available and ready to assist.



          1. If desired, contact your clergy. This can also be done while you are at the funeral home making arrangements.


          2. Make a list of immediate family and close friends to notify. Ask a close relative or friend to help with phone calls and messages.


          3. Gather the necessary information to complete the State vital statistic requirements:


              • Birth Date


              • Birthplace


              • Father's Name

        During the next few days

        1. If necessary, arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends.

        2. Consider the particular needs of the household, such as meals, cleaning, yard work, childcare, etc., which might be done by friends.

        3. Ask family and friends for assistance.

        4. Select pallbearers. (Anyone with heart or back difficulties can be an honorary pallbearer).



              • Mother's Maiden Name


              • Social Security Number


              • Veteran's Discharge or Claim Number, if applicable


              • Education


              • Marital Status


              • Occupation


          1. Select clothing for deceased. Men are typically dressed in a suit and women in something similarly formal. Bring in traditional undergarments, including socks. Shoes are optional. Jewelry can be returned to the family. Please ask the director if you have questions.


          2. If desired, decide on an appropriate organization to which memorial gifts may be made (church, hospice, charity, school, etc.).


          3. Gather obituary information. In addition to the above, include military service, academic, professional, and civic achievements and recognitions, memberships, and a list of immediate family. We will host obituary information on our website; you can write it or we will. If desired, we will submit the obituary to the newspapers. Please bring in a photo (we will return it).


          4. If there is going to be a public viewing, please bring in a recent photo. (It may be the same as the obituary photo.)

        In the first week or so

        1. If Social Security checks are automatic deposit, notify the bank of the death. We will prepare and submit Social Security Form SSA 721. Check with Social Security to see that the number is retired. Visit SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS for more information.

        2. Locate the will and notify lawyer and executor.

        3. Check carefully all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check also on income for survivors from these sources. Notify insurance companies. If a veteran, visit VETERANS SERVICES AND BENEFITS for more information.

        4. Prepare a list of those to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments (can be written note, printed acknowledgments, or some of each). Include thank yous to those who have given their time as well.

        5. 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.

        6. If the deceased was living alone, notify utilities and landlord and tell the post office where to send mail.

        7. Please contact us whenever you need any assistance.

        Burial Services. A Final Resting Place

        Why choose burial? Watching the casket being lowered into the ground at the burial, we witness death's finality. It really is the last goodbye. For many, burial follows family tradition or particular religious beliefs. For some, it is comforting to have a place to visit. For others, a grave provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased; a place that offers hope and healing.

        We offer numerous service options and merchandise for those who choose burial. We work closely with each family to arrange the services and provide the merchandise that are best for you.

        Cemetery Choices

        We are often asked about how to choose a cemetery. Questions to think about are: Do you or your family already own cemetery spaces? Do you want to use one? Where are other deceased family members buried? Is location significant? Is there a particular burial tradition that is important to you? Do you prefer expansive lawns or unique monuments? Is the deceased a veteran?

        In Michigan, to protect consumers, funeral homes cannot own a cemetery and a cemetery cannot own a funeral home. We are fortunate that there are numerous cemeteries in our area, each offering different alternatives. A.J. Desmond & Sons is very knowledgeable about area cemeteries, so if you would like some assistance, please let us know and we will work with you to choose the right cemetery for you.

        Upon deciding the remembrance ceremonies and the cemetery, you will choose the desired burial merchandise.

        Markers and Monuments

        We assist many families with cemetery marker and monument choices. Markers and monuments mark the grave of a loved one, commemorate a special person, and offer a focal point for grief while visiting the grave of a loved one.

        Remembrance Service Options

        Once deciding on burial, you need to decide on the remembrance ceremonies and the cemetery. Remembrance services are flexible to address particular family preferences.

        A funeral mass or service with the deceased present in a casket may be held at either a place of worship or the funeral home. After the service, the deceased is taken to the cemetery for burial.

        A cemetery funeral service may be chosen by a family desiring a very small and limited ceremony. This is held at the cemetery chapel or at the graveside and often includes some prayers and reflections.

        Some families choose prompt burial of the deceased. For those wishing no public ceremony prior to the burial, A.J. Desmond & Sons offers a private family farewell. Families find this to be a very beneficial final goodbye. Some also choose to accompany the deceased to the cemetery for burial.

        Many families who chose cremation bury the cremated remains in a cemetery.

        Military honors are available for qualified veterans and are often incorporated into the services at the cemetery. Eligible veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery; Great Lakes National Cemetery is located in Holy, Michigan. If interested and qualified, we will arrange these for you.

        -Standard Services

        A caring and responsive staff is available and ready to work with you. You select the type of service and the merchandise. We arrange everything. Basic services include the local transfer to the funeral home, shelter or refrigeration of the deceased up to 48 hours, basic preparation of the deceased for burial, a private and limited family farewell, basic professional services of staff, timely completion and filing of paperwork, and local transfer to the cemetery.

        Burial Services. A Final Resting Place.

        Why choose burial? Watching the casket being lowered into the ground at the burial, we witness death's finality. It really is the last goodbye. For many, burial follows family tradition or particular religious beliefs. For some, it is comforting to have a place to visit. For others, a grave provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased; a place that offers hope and healing.

        Cemetery Choices

        We are often asked about how to choose a cemetery. Questions to think about are: Do you or your family already own cemetery spaces? Do you want to use one? Where are other deceased family members buried? Is location significant? Is there a particular burial tradition that is important to you? Do you prefer expansive lawns or unique monuments? Is the deceased a veteran?

        In Michigan, to protect consumers, funeral homes cannot own a cemetery and a cemetery cannot own a funeral home. We are fortunate that there are numerous cemeteries in our area, each offering different alternatives. A.J. Desmond & Sons is very knowledgeable about area cemeteries, so if you would like some assistance, please let us know and we will work with you to choose the right cemetery for you.

        If you are interested in Green Burial, please let us know or visit GREEN BURIAL.

        Upon deciding the remembrance ceremonies and the cemetery, you will choose the desired burial merchandise.

        Markers and Monuments

        We assist many families with cemetery marker and monument choices. Markers and monuments mark the grave of a loved one, commemorate a special person, and offer a focal point for grief while visiting the grave of a loved one.

        Remembrance Service Options

        Once deciding on burial, you need to decide on the remembrance ceremonies and the cemetery. Remembrance services are flexible to address particular family preferences.

        A funeral mass or service with the deceased present in a casket may be held at either a place of worship or the funeral home. After the service, the deceased is taken to the cemetery for burial.

        A cemetery funeral service may be chosen by a family desiring a very small and limited ceremony. This is held at the cemetery chapel or at the graveside and often includes some prayers and reflections. Some families choose prompt burial of the deceased. For those wishing no public ceremony prior to the burial, D.S. Gulian offers a private family farewell. Families find this to be a very beneficial final goodbye. Some also choose to accompany the deceased to the cemetery for burial. Many families who chose cremation bury the cremated remains in a cemetery. Military honors are available for qualified veterans and are often incorporated into the services at the cemetery. Eligible veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery; Great Lakes National Cemetery is located in Holy, Michigan. If interested and qualified, we will arrange these for you.

        Cremation Services. Dignity and Value.

        First, what cremation is not. Cremation is not a type of ceremony nor a replacement for burial. Many families have a funeral service that is followed by cremation. Others have the cremation occur first and then the memorial service. And many families bury cremated remains.

        Cremation is one way in which the body is handled after death in preparation for permanent memorialization. The cremation process uses intense heat to reduce the body eventually into a fine powder that is then placed in a container. The cremated remains are returned to the family. To learn more, visit COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CREMATION and know that you can always call us.

        Cremation at D.S. Gulian

        Most importantly, we offer you peace of mind. We always care for the deceased with the utmost dignity and respect. We attend to all the details surrounding a death and cremation in the timeliest manner. We also take care of you and your family, as you choose..

        Also importantly, we believe in saying good-bye. After working with families for generations, we believe strongly that ceremony and memorialization are vital to grief recovery. We offer numerous ceremony options, so that each family does what is meaningful and beneficial to them.

        Standard Services

        A caring staff is always ready to work with you. Our standard cremation services include the local transfer to the funeral home, shelter of the deceased for up to 48 hours, basic preparation of the deceased for cremation, a private and limited family farewell, basic professional services of staff, timely completion and filing of paperwork, and local transfer to the crematory.

        Remembrance Service Options

        Cremation remembrance services are flexible to address particular family preferences..

        At a funeral service the deceased is present in a casket. After the funeral service, the deceased is taken to the crematory.

        A memorial service is like a funeral service, except that the deceased is not present in a casket. Typically, a cremation has already taken place and the urn is present at the service. For those wanting limited or no ceremony, we offer private time. Many families have a private family farewell. Some also choose to accompany the deceased to the crematory. Others choose to have a memorial service at a later date. Military honors are available for qualified veterans and are often part of the remembrance services. If interested and qualified, we will arrange these for you. To support and personalize the services you choose, we offer a wide selection of cremation caskets, urns, and keepsakes.

        What Happens to the Cremated Remains?

        After the cremation, the family may choose to place the cremated remains in a columbarium, bury them in a cemetery, or scatter or set them in a meaningful place. Some families place an urn in a garden. Some return cremated remains to their home country for burial or scattering. Others place a small amount of cremated remains in special jewelry as personal keepsakes.

        Cremation in Michigan

        In Michigan a funeral director must sign a death certificate and complete the cremation permit, but a funeral home cannot own or operate a crematory. Thus, a funeral home makes the initial transfer of the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home, completes and files the death certificate and cremation permit, and then transfers the deceased to the crematory.

        To ensure the highest quality of service to the families we serve, we use only two area crematories. Each has a highly professional staff and the finest facilities, and operates with rigorous procedures and the highest ethical standards. We always accompany the deceased to the crematory and, if you wish, you may also.

        Grief Support

        To help meet the needs for those we serve, as well as others in our community, D.S. Gulian provides PERSPECTIVES at no charge. In addition to offering personal support and information, we also hold holiday memorial programs and other community grief education events.

        View the 2013 Coping with the Holidays webcast here: http://app.eventbywire.com/viewevent/?id=183-225


        GriefShare: Grief Recovery Support Groups

          www.griefshare.org