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A Step By Step Guide to Making Funeral Arrangements (July 5, 2019)--In case you have lost a loved one and need to make funeral arrangements but don't know where (or how) to start, here's a guide to help take away the stress of funeral planning.

How To Make Funeral Arrangements A Step By Step Guide

Notify Relevant Authorities

The first thing we need to take care of is reporting the death to the relevant authorities to start processing the death certificate. We may need multiple copies of the death certificate for the various tasks that need to be accomplished, such as settling the estate and taking care of financial and estate affairs of the deceased.

Inform Family and Close Friends

Once the motions of processing the death certificate are in place, we can notify family and close friends of the death. Information like this is always difficult to pass as we are emotional. Therefore, having talking points written down somewhere can be helpful to ensure we give out all critical information.

Moreover, we can also appoint individuals from the deceased’s social groups (workplace, membership clubs) to pass out this information to other members in those groups. We can inform a larger audience by creating a death notice and paying to have an obituary written in a local newspaper.

Arrange For Transportation

Reporting the death to the appropriate parties starts the process of moving the deceased from where he or she died to a morgue. Sometimes transportation may also be required to move the deceased from one city to another or one state to another.

We may also need to make arrangements for a hearse to transport the deceased from the morgue to the burial site. Transportation for family members from the funeral location to the burial site should also be organized. The funeral home will provide and charge for both of these services.

Check for Pre-Arrangements

Confirm if the deceased had made any pre-arrangements for their funeral. If the person had, it is important to work with the specific funeral home like this company. Check out and confirm if any pre-payments were made so as not to be charged twice.

Burial Service

A meeting with a funeral director is important to plan the burial service and transportation of the deceased in case the burial and death places are different. We also need to choose the location for whichever service we would like to have.

The service could either be a funeral, memorial, or service by the grave. A funeral is a service before burial or cremation. A memorial, on the other hand, is the service after a burial or cremation while a graveside is a funeral service taking place at the gravesite.

Make Cemetery Arrangements

If we decide to plan a burial, per the deceased wishes or our own, then we need to choose a location for that. Sometimes the person may not have made any cemetery arrangements. Therefore, we need to make a plan to acquire cemetery property or a crypt.  

Funeral homes, churches, or synagogues that we go to, or even a funeral director can be very helpful in making the cemetery arrangements, especially in buying a cemetery plot.

Make Funeral Arrangements

Here we decide on various factors like the service we would like to have, what type of funeral is it (burial or cremation). So first and foremost, we should decide which service we would like to have. The service could either be a burial, a memorial, or a graveside service.

We may also need to decide on whether we will have events before or after the funeral. Events before the funeral include viewing or awake. Events after the funeral include receptions or after- service prayers.

Select Cremation or Burial and Memorial Products

Choose and buy burial and memorial products such as a casket, burial vault, and grave marker. Also choose and buy cremation items such as an urn, cremation casket.

Make Arrangements for the Funeral Service

With everything in order, all we have left is making arrangements for the funeral service. There are a few items to decide upon here, including:

  1. Finding someone to officiate the funeral service.
  2. Choosing people to make short speeches about the deceased.
  3. Writing eulogies.
  4. Selecting the music to be played during the funeral or memorial service.
  5. If it is a church-based burial, choosing the reading. It should be relevant to the occasion.
  6. Make programs for the service.
  7. Have a guest book to be aware of who attended the funeral or memorial service.

The Funeral Rule

The Federal Trade Commission created the Funeral Rule in a bid to protect consumers buying goods and services from funeral homes. The rule gives us the right to:

  • Purchase the funeral arrangements desired, whether separately or as a package
  • Get price information over the phone from funeral directors and funeral homes
  • Get a price list where items are listed individually
  • Get a statement with written-information of required items before making payment
  • Buy a casket or an urn elsewhere other than the funeral home

The funeral home doesn't require your presence or charge for casket delivery.

Having a Plan can be Relieving

Although losing a loved one can be emotionally draining, having a plan or guide to help us make funeral arrangements during this time is quite liberating. Taking on so much responsibility can be very overwhelming.

We should not hesitate to ask for help from our friends and family. Once we delegate some duties, we will be able to take on those we can comfortably do to help lay our loved one to rest.

Did you find this article informative? Check out our posts to get more useful tips.