Funeral-Planning Checklist

Funeral planning is often a stressful affair for family members. This is especially true when loved ones die unexpectedly. Below is a funeral planning checklist to help you plan your loved one’s funeral and give them a befitting send-off.

1. Choose a funeral home

Once you become aware of your loved one’s passing, your immediate task is to decide where you want to keep their remains. Do not choose your funeral home on a whim. Instead, conduct due diligence and thorough assessments to identify funeral homes that offer quality services and ease the logistics of planning and executing the funeral. Always check out their service costs and base your research on that.

The general rule is that the funeral home should be close to the burial site, the crematorium or the deceased’s home. This ensures that friends and family have an easy time viewing the body and preparing it for burial or cremation. Examine client reviews, seek testimonials and check the funeral home’s catalogue to determine the range and quality of services offered at the funeral home.

Visit the funeral home to establish the hygiene standards observed and how the staff handle the remains. If you intend to hold a wake or memorial service at the funeral home, assess the availability of amenities such as adequate parking, security and conference halls.

Ask about specific details, such as if they have their own funeral parlour or if they use outside contractors. Additionally, if you choose cremation for your loved one, ensure that the funeral home uses a crematorium that is either nearby your home or one that you or the deceased chose. Many funeral homes have a large service area, so verify that the funeral home can accommodate you.

2. Establish the deceased’s wishes

It is common for the deceased to have wishes regarding their funeral and how to handle their remains. For instance, maybe they wanted their body cremated or buried at a particular spot. Consult with other family members and check the deceased’s will to establish if they had any end-of-life wishes.

In some cases, your loved one may have had a pre-paid funeral plan. If they did, contact the funeral director who organised the policy to know the costs that the policy will cover. This helps bring down the funeral costs and reduces the stress of planning the funeral.

3. Set a funeral date

You will need to conduct thorough assessments before setting the funeral date. For instance, if your loved one died in hospital, you will have to receive clearance from the hospital before transferring or burying the remains. Additionally, the family members need adequate time to grieve and view the body.

Whom do you intend to invite for the burial or cremation? In some cases, close family such as offspring or spouses could be far away or have tight engagements. Therefore, you need to inquire about their availability when you set the funeral date. Additionally, consider religious and cultural beliefs that prescribe the burial process.

4. Hire a Funeral Director

A funeral director assists grieving families with all aspects of laying their loved ones to rest. The director coordinates the funeral planning process and acts as the point person on the funeral date. Below are the services that funeral directors offer:

  • Preparing the funeral program together with close family members
  • Coordinating with the funeral home regarding body preservation techniques, cleaning the body and preparing the remains for the burial or cremation
  • Finding a suitable cemetery plot if the family prefers a ground burial
  • Providing essential event planning services such as tents, chairs, lighting and catering
  • Organising funeral logistics such as transporting the body, planning guest transport and marshalling traffic on the funeral date

Your choice of funeral director must have adequate experience in the field. Since the director will work with your close friends and family, the director must have exceptional interpersonal skills. Excellent reviews from families who have worked with the director are an added advantage. Do not forget to ask for a rate card and their terms and conditions.

Most importantly, choose a funeral director who you can trust. As they will handle all the details for your loved one’s send-off, you need to establish a good relationship with them. Make sure to speak to more than one funeral director until you find one you find a rapport with.