Published On: Fri, Oct 7th, 2022

Funeral Planning: A Checklist

If you have been tasked with planning someone’s funeral, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Funeral planning is a complicated process that can also be very emotionally taxing. There are lots of factors to consider during this process in order to carry out the decedent’s wishes and allow a space for grief and remembrance for their family. Consult the following checklist for examples of tasks you may need to take into account while planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one.


Consult Their Attorneys and Assemble Documentation

If the decedent had an attorney with whom they had drafted a will, this is a good place to start. It is possible that they included instructions for their funeral and may have even made provisions for it. It is important to honor their wishes, so if these instructions have been left, try to honor them as best as you can. An attorney can also help you with the funeral planning paperwork that must include details such as:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Family members
  • Occupational information

Other important paperwork, such as insurance policy information, legal pronouncement of death, marriage certificates, and bank account information must also be located.

Choose a Funeral Home

If prearrangements have been made, plan according to your loved one’s wishes. If they have not, you will want to consider a number of factors in choosing a funeral home. Select a local service with good reviews and experience. You might want to ask around for recommendations. Some funeral homes offer services that others do not, such as:

  • Obituary writing
  • Cremation/burial
  • Musical arrangement
  • Paperwork
  • Vehicles for the funeral
  • Burial services
  • Catering

Consider how much assistance you think you may need and how much of an investment you can make. It may be a good idea to compare pricing between a few different options. 

Make Disposition and Memorialization Decisions

Once you have chosen a funeral home, you will also need to think about whether your loved one should be buried or cremated. If they have not made their wishes known, you will likely want to consult with their close family on this decision. There are various options when it comes to the details, such as different types of caskets or urns. 

You will also want to work with a monument company to choose the perfect permanent tribute. There are many different types of memorials from which you can choose, including:

  • Mausoleums
  • Memorial benches
  • Flush markers
  • Single monuments
  • Double monuments
  • Slant markers
  • Custom monuments
  • Columbaria

Your monument company can help you design the perfect memorial for your loved one. You can choose from a range of colors and materials and can customize your monument according to their unique personality. They may also be able to help you choose a cemetery that accommodates your preferred memorialization choices.

Plan the Service or Ceremony

Once you have made burial arrangements, you can begin planning the ceremony. Consider your loved one and their personality. What type of service would they have preferred? Try to set the tone accordingly. A funeral can be an opportunity for loved ones to comfort each other in grief or to celebrate the decedent’s life. You will want to choose music and consider making displays and selecting flowers. If the person was religious, work with their house of worship to arrange a traditional service. You may also want to select religious or poetic readings to accompany the eulogy.

Purchase the Necessary Materials

While it is certainly not a requirement, many families like to include memorial cards, photo displays, guest books, programs, and other physical items to memorialize the day. Work with close family and friends to decide on the details. Ask around for favorite photos and other mementos that may help the family grieve and reflect on happy memories.

Create a Eulogy

Most funeral services include a eulogy. A eulogy is a chance for a specified person to pay tribute to the decedent and reflect on their life. There is no one correct way to write a eulogy, and it will vary from situation to situation. If you are writing the eulogy, consult with family and friends and try to be as heartfelt as possible. If you feel you will be unable to deliver it, do not force yourself, and ask for help when you need it. You will also want to write an obituary and distribute it online and/or in newspapers. Many funeral homes will feature this obituary on their website.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, there is no singular right way to plan a funeral. Every situation is different, and families grieve in very different ways. Consider what your loved one would have wanted and honor any and all advance directives they left behind. Work with a monument company that can help you make the important decisions about burial and memorialization, and plan a service according to the needs of the family. Remember to ask for help when you need it and seek resources to manage your own grief as well. A funeral is meant to be an opportunity to celebrate and remember your loved one, so try to take it one step at a time and move at your own pace while planning a memorable tribute for a beloved friend or family member. 



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