The Ultimate Funeral Planning Checklist - What You Need to Know

Sooner or later the inevitable happens and you find yourself in a position where you have to make funeral plans.  This may be years before the event or perhaps even the day of. But regardless of the timing, it helps to have an idea of what’s involved and what you need to do to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

To this end we have created a funeral planning checklist for you.  These steps will help guide you through the process and take some of the confusion out of it so you can be prepared when the time comes.

  1. Make the appropriate calls.  This is always the first tip on any funeral planning guide as it gets the ball rolling and also connects you to people who can help you out.  If your local law enforcement is not aware of the incident, give them a call to let them know. A doctor or medical examiner will need to be contacted to officially declare that the individual has passed. Reach out to family members and have them contact other family members and friends to notify them.  Also reach out to the deceased person’s lawyer to handle any legal matters. Finally, contact a funeral director to make all of the arrangements.
  2. Have the deceased transported. Once the calls are made, or during that process, the next step on the funeral planning checklist is transporting the deceased.  This will depend on whether the transport is local or not. If he/she died close to home, he/she can be driven to a local funeral home where the ceremony will take place.  In some cases the deceased will be moved to a second location after arrangements have been made. If the deceased passed away further from home, flight arrangements will have to be made, which is a little more complicated.
  3. Review any pre arrangements. At this point it is important to find out if any pre arrangements have been made so you can proceed as the deceased had wished.  He/she may have had something in place, so it’s important to speak with a lawyer as we mentioned in the first step of the funeral planning guide. If this is the case, the deceased may have to be moved to a different funeral home.  If no plan is in place you can proceed as deemed appropriate by you and other close family members.
  4. Arrange funeral services. If there is no set plan in place, you can make arrangements with the funeral home of your choice.  This involves meeting with the funeral director to go over all of the particulars. You will need to provide all of the important personal information and discuss all of the options as far as ceremony, burial and visitation are concerned.  
  5. Make your cemetery arrangements. The next item on the funeral planning checklist is making arrangements for burial, if that is what you choose to do.  A funeral director can often help you with this, or you may already have a plot purchased at a particular cemetery. If that is the case, you can call to make the arrangements and provide the necessary information.

Those are the five main elements of the funeral planning guide.  If you decide on cremation instead of burial, you can discuss that option with your funeral director to make sure they provide those services.  Many people opt for cremation these days for a variety of reasons, and choose to keep their loved ones’ memories alive with cremation jewelry.

After the service and the funeral, you’ll need to make sure all of the deceased’s affairs are in order.  This includes the estate as well as any other financial and administrative matters. Family members and friends can help you with many of these things, as can legal and financial professionals.

Death of a friend or family member is always a difficult thing, but hopefully this funeral planning checklist helps make it a little easier for you.