I have to be out of state for a whole week in sept, I need to book the hotel ASAP. I have had a close family member who has been sick for over a year. I am concerned how this person's health will be by sept. I am also concerned that this person could die. My job is paying for the hotel and I am concerned...
1. The Shadow
Airlines will normally grant a refund for the death of a traveler or immediate family member. However, they will require a death certificate. Don't expect them to take your word for it. They don't usually give refunds for non-immediate family members. Of course, you may be traveling on a refundable ticket depending on your itinerary, so it might not even be an issue.
Your company will not lose the entire value of the ticket as long as you cancel before your scheduled departure. It can be applied to the cost of a future trip less a change fee. Your company's travel department will know all about this.
The hotel should not be a problem because you don't typically pre-pay hotels. You pay them when you check out. You usually have to provide a credit card guarantee, but you don't get charged unless you fail to cancel before the hotel's deadline (which is typically 4pm or 6pm local time). There are exceptions, but this is how most hotels work so you shouldn't have any problem.
It's nice of you to worry about this, but my experience is that corporations understand that emergencies happen. Companies that mandate nonrefundable tickets are aware that there is a risk of losing money if you can't go. However, they save enough money overall that they'll accept losing a few bucks occasionally.
Good luck. I hope that your relative pulls through.
Probably not unless you have trip insurance that covers "death in the family" as a reason to cancel reservations.