Preparing for the passing of a loved one can be emotionally and physically draining, with multiple decisions to make and arrangements to organize. Keep reading to find out how to take care of all aspects when planning a funeral – whether it’s last minute or you know in advance! Our funeral planning checklist can help you make those tough decisions!
You may make some decisions in advance when planning for your own services, taking some of the burden off your loved ones. During this emotional time, planning can help family members not to worry about decision-making. Although anticipating an untimely death is never possible, preparing for the inevitable can bring peace of mind.
Funeral Planning Checklist
If your loved one has planned ahead, they might have a list of the people to notify upon death, along with their contact information. This funeral planning checklist can be helpful because you don’t have to worry about forgetting anyone.
If your loved one did not leave a list, you will need to determine who to contact on your own. Consider relatives, friends, church members, colleagues, and others who would want to know the news.
Other than individuals, you may wish to notify the person’s employer, church, or community clubs.
It’s always best to decide if your loved one will be buried or cremated in advance. It is a very personal decision in which individuals carry different opinions and preferences. To honor the wishes of a loved one, you’ll need to talk about it with your loved one before death.
A burial will require a grave, a casket, and a burial vault. Another decision is the grave marker. All of these decisions can also be worked out and paid for in advance.
Individuals that choose cremation may also choose embalming and a traditional viewing service. They can even select their urn in advance.
Suppose it was a sudden death and your loved one didn’t leave any plans. In that case, the family will need to work with their funeral director to consider the disposition, casket or cremation container, and memorialization plaque or grave marker.
Funeral or Memorial Service
You should decide what type of service you wish to have to honor your loved one. Also, consider whether the family will hold a visitation or viewing a day before funeral services. Many funeral homes offer a chapel area where you can carry out these funeral plans.
Making funeral arrangements is easier when working with a funeral home. Funeral planning professionals can explain the options and decisions for both types of services. Usually, a memorial service is held after a cremation or traditional burial. A funeral often occurs before the final disposition.
Consider service locations, transportation needs, and open or closed casket. You will also choose what clothing or jewelry the deceased will wear.
Those who have planned their funeral in advance will leave plans and preferences for their service. This way, you don’t need to second guess what your loved one would have wanted.
If your loved one did not leave plans or wishes, you’ll decide what kind of service to hold. It can be a traditional funeral service, or a less conventional memorial service.
Consider your loved one’s wishes while selecting songs or hymns to play during the services. You’ll also choose a speaker, possibly a preacher or a religious leader, singers and musicians, readers, and pallbearers.
Write an Obituary
An obituary should tell a story about your loved one’s life. You can rely on family members or friends to help with information to include in the obituary. The details of the obituary should be as accurate as possible.
Some people even choose to write their own obituary before they pass away, or at least help with the information they want. Writing your own obituary can let you express how you would like to be remembered in your own words.
Include the following information in the obituary:
- Family members
- Place or places of residence
- Marriage date
- High school and colleges attended
- Career highlights and recognitions
- Organizations and clubs
- Volunteer work
After writing an obituary, talk with your funeral professionals to decide which publications will publish the obituary.
Make Payment Arrangements
If you choose to preplan your funeral service, you can also make payment plans to take the financial burden away from your family. Pre-paying can also prevent potential disagreements between loved ones.
If you are planning a funeral for a loved one that did not prepay for their service, you will need to make arrangements with the funeral home about payment.
Creating a PrePlan With Your Local Funeral Home
Even if you feel experienced in planning funerals, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all that needs attention! With so many tasks, taking care of everything during this difficult time may seem impossible. That’s why it makes sense to plan ahead for your family members.
When preplanning your own funeral, compile important information for your loved ones. Your family members will appreciate not having to worry about finding information or important documents during such an emotional time.
Include documents with your full legal name, family members, military service information, occupation, most recent employer, and retirement date. Let your family members know where to find essential documents such as insurance policies, wills, retirement account information, investments, and marriage certificates.
You may also make a funeral plan checklist with details about your final wishes. Include your preferences, such as:
- Disposition method: green burial, traditional burial, or cremation
- Flower arrangements
- Memorial cards
- Guest book or memorial register
- Visitation or wake with the body present
- Memorial video
- Your final resting place cemetery or what to do with cremated remains
- Body donation or organ donation
- How to cover the funeral costs (you may pre-pay with a funeral trust)
Giving a family member a heads-up about where to find your crucial information can make planning easier for your family while they grieve.
Contact a Local Funeral Home For Help
There is no easy or fun way to plan a funeral. Whether you are planning your own as part of your estate plan or planning a family member’s services, it is not something anyone enjoys. However, following a plan and working with a local funeral home can make the process easier.
At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we help you plan and create beautiful events to memorialize your loved ones. Contact us for help making all of the tough decisions so that your family can grieve your loss together.