Planning A Funeral 101

Talking about death can be hard, especially while you’re grieving. But eventually, important decisions have to be made with proper thought and consideration. This can seem intimidating and confusing, and you might not know where to start.

To help you figure things out during this time, we have created a simple funeral planning guide so you can be as prepared as possible and give your loved one a proper celebration.

Step One: Choose the Form of Disposition

It is important to know the difference between a funeral service and a burial. Many mourners think of them as the same. They’re different but do go hand in hand. A funeral is a memorial celebration for your loved one, and a burial is the final resting place of the deceased.

To help figure out the right options for you and your family, it can be helpful to choose the form of body disposition. The three typical options are:

Cemetery burial: This includes purchasing a cemetery plot or spot in a mausoleum and a casket.

Cremation: This is when the deceased body is reduced to primarily ashes, and placed in an urn.

Donating the body to science: This option includes giving the body to a medical facility to be used for research purposes.

No matter what form of disposition you choose, please know that you are able to create a personalized, just-for-your-family celebration service.

Step Two: Envision What Kind of Service You Would Like

Your loved one’s celebration of life can be whatever you would like it to be. Some options you can choose from include:

  • A funeral service at a place of worship
  • A funeral service at the funeral home or graveside at the cemetery
  • A service without the body present — known as a memorial service
  • Calling hours where the body is on display, can be combined with a service a next day.

Our favorite tip on choosing what option is to envision how your loved one would have wanted to say goodbye. This will give you some inspiration to figure out the best solution possible.

Step Three: Figure Out the Small Details

A lot of details go into planning a service. When you are figuring things out, make sure to include the following in your list:

  • Who will be the officiant leading the service
  • Who will write and deliver the eulogy
  • What specific readings, such as poems, religious passages, or stories that will be shared
  • Music to be played during the calling hours, during the entrance and exit into the service, and even at the place of burial
  • If the deceased was a member of the military, if you would like the military to come and perform a tribute
  • Who will be the pallbearers, if you have chosen to have a casket and a burial service
  • Writing the obituary and sending it to your local newspaper and online outlets
  • What personal touches you would like included at the service, from picture boards, videos, and any mementos you’d like to be put on display.

Step Four: Notify the Relevant Parties

Not only will you notify family and friends about the services, it is pivotal you notify the relevant parties about the death to ensure everything is canceled and any outlying bills can be paid. The following are people and organizations you should contact as soon as possible:

  • Health insurance company
  • Life insurance company
  • Employer (if there was one)
  • All doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals
  • Automobile insurance carrier (if they had a car)
  • Credit card companies
  • Any religious groups
  • Social security office
  • Banks
  • Any gyms or organizations the deceased participated in

Organizing a memorial service does not have to complicated when you follow these steps. Legacy Cremation Services and other places in your area can help you with the planning.