Dealing with a funeral can be quite stressful. The period after you have just lost someone is a very emotional time, yet you are also expected to handle all the logistics involved. This is why it’s crucial to discuss end-of-life issues with a loved one before they die. Unfortunately, this is a conversation that most people shy away from. As a result, it ends up never happening. Without some pointers, the options and details surrounding handling a funeral can be a bit overwhelming. Here’s a checklist for making funeral arrangements.
Set a Date
This should be the first thing on your checklist for making funeral arrangements. Once you have learned that your loved one has passed away, the first thing you need to do is set a date and make invitations. For friends and family, you can inform them via a phone call. However, it can’t be practical to do that with more distant friends. This means you need to find another way to inform them. The best would be to inform them in writing. You can also make announcements on social media, depending on how closed or open you want the funeral to be. Some families use obituaries in the local newspapers. This will notify the rest.
Learn What’s Involved
The first thing you need to do before you start making any moves is to find out what needs to be done. For instance, you need to figure out how to take the body from the clinic or rehabilitation center, prepare the corpse, hold the ceremony and handle the interment. There are several options available for handling at each stage of the funeral. For instance, are you going to embalm or cremate, or are you handling a full service or doing the funeral at home? These are all the questions that you need to answer. You also need to figure out who is supposed to be there. This is an important part of your checklist for making funeral arrangements.
The best thing to do would be to come up with a checklist for making funeral arrangements. This will make it easy for you to know what needs to be done and at what stage.
Funeral Arrangement Meeting
A funeral arrangement meeting is important so that the closest relatives get to share their preferences regarding the type of funeral they want. This will help ensure that funeral proceedings best reflect and pay tribute to your loved one. This can include things like whether or not you’d like to have a live stream of the funeral so that friends and family can also attend if they are too far away.
During this meeting, you must ensure that you get all the personal details of the deceased so that you can apply for the final Death Certificate. If you are not sure what other documentation is needed, you can check personal profile records with the Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. During the funeral arrangement meeting, you must also plan and get someone who will communicate with the funeral director and the chosen minister.
Apart from the death certificate, there are several other documents that you will need to obtain. This is an important step in your checklist for making funeral arrangements. Paperwork is unavoidable when you are planning a funeral. While your funeral director can help with other documents, there are others that you may need to acquire on your own. For instance, you need things like ship-in or ship-out services, insurance documents, and more. You also need to ensure that you know how to go about filing a tax return, dealing with home insurance, and executing the last will and testament with the help of a lawyer, though these things will be done after the actual funeral.
Understanding the Cost of Planning a Funeral
Before you hire a funeral home or make any plans, another thing you need to figure out is how much a funeral will cost. Fortunately, if you are letting a funeral home handle everything, you will likely be provided with an itemized statement of all costs for everything that the funeral home will do. This is known as a general price list. You also need to be aware that when dealing with a funeral home, you have the option to select and order only the goods and services that you need. This means you can’t be forced to sign up for the entire package.
There are several payments that you need to make when dealing with a funeral home. This includes the basic service fee. This is a universal fee that covers most funeral-related services. It covers things like using the funeral home, the services of the funeral directors, and all funeral home attendants. It also covers all the burial arrangements that the funeral home will make on your behalf, including things like securing permits and death certificates.
Apart from the basic service package, there are other optional service charges as well. These include things like transporting the body, embalming, using the funeral home premises for body viewing purposes. You may also want to use the funeral home’s hearse or limousine, burial containers, and cremations services.
If you are working with a funeral home, you must keep in mind that there are other services and goods that the funeral home may need to order from other vendors. All of these should be listed on your checklist for making funeral arrangements. These are covered by a fee known as cash disbursements. This can include things like buying flowers, clergy services, obituary notices, pallbearers, and other services that may be needed. For instance, you may need to have musicians or caterers at the funeral. The funeral home can negotiate and hire all these services on your behalf.
You need to keep in mind that you have the right to research and compare funeral homes charges. This means each funeral home needs to provide clear and accurate pricing information so you can make your decision. To understand more about this, you can visit the FTC Funeral Rules website.
Hire or Choose a Funeral Director
Choosing a funeral director is a very important step. This is a decision that must not be rushed. The funeral director is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the funeral. For instance, they handle the care of the deceased, body viewing, and transportation. This means you need to hire or choose someone who is very competent and reliable.
Connect with a Minister or Celebrant
Once you have set a date and time for the funeral, you also need to meet with the minister or celebrant. At this point, you will need to start focusing your attention on the details of the service. The minister or celebrant that you choose will be able to provide guidance regarding how the service should go. This includes things like hymns and prayers. They will also help you create the order of service booklet.
Burial or Cremation
This is another important step. Nowadays, most people go with cremation. However, even if you choose cremation or embalming, you still need to choose the location and Minister for the service. If you are cremating, you must find a location for scattering the ashes. On the other hand, if you are embalming, you need to determine the burial grounds and purchase the coffin. The choice you pick will also bring about different types of costs. This is why it helps to start by researching and coming up with a proper budget so you can narrow down your options.
Choosing Flowers, Wreaths, and Sprays
Flowers are a very important part of your checklist for making funeral arrangements. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing flowers. Fortunately, a funeral director can be entrusted with the task of choosing flowers. However, some may request that you handle that bit on your own. If that is the case, then you will need to work with the best florists.
Apart from flowers, you must also organize coffin sprays. These should be sent to the director so they can be put in the hearse. If there are wreaths, you will need to take them to the service on your own. Nowadays, personalized wreaths are becoming quite popular. Sometimes they come in the form of football shirts or pet if the deceased was a pet owner. It can be anything that represents something close to the heart of the deceased.
Prepare a Visual Tribute.
People are going to enjoy seeing old photographs of their loved ones together with family and friends. This is why you need to create a visual tribute. This can also be a brilliant way to help others recall fond memories and celebrate shared delights in life. The visual tribute that you create can also be accompanied by nostalgic music.
Transportation is a very important part of your checklist for making funeral arrangements. You will always need a hearse, but you also need to organize some extra cars. In most instances, important family members will be transported by a funeral home limousine. This ensures that they get to the funeral on time and with as little added stress as possible. This is especially necessary if there are a lot of places to visit on the day of the funeral.
Create an Order of Service
The order of service is a booklet with a program that everyone needs to follow. It must cover things like the timeline of the day, and it must also have a detailed list of all the locations, like the funeral home and the wake venue. The order of service may also include hymns, photos, poems, and a small paragraph about the person. People usually use a card cover that’s printed on both sides. If you want to save money, you can just print in black and white on fewer pages. You can also choose a lightweight grade of paper, so you don’t have to pay for the expensive fancy paper.
Choose People Who Will Actively Participate
Before the day of the funeral, you need to determine which relatives and friends are going to serve as pallbearers or give a eulogy. You can leave this task to a clergy representative so they can speak about the person who has passed. Apart from that, you also need to choose passages that will be read at the funeral service.
On the Day of the Funeral
On the day of the funeral, if you are too emotional to drive, you need to make transport arrangements. You can also have a friend or family member drive you. They will understand that you are grief-stricken.
Personalizing the Funeral Experience
It is very important to make sure that you personalize the funeral. This is key to having a healing and meaningful experience. Grief counselors suggest that you need to have a funeral that emphasizes the life that was lived by your loved ones and the impact they had on family and friends. Therefore, you need to do everything in a way that honors that unique life. This is why you need to have a personalized funeral.
For your funeral experience to be meaningful, healing, and personalized, you must consider the seven elements of a funeral. You then have to add a personal flair to each element as you go through your checklist for making funeral arrangements. For instance, if your loved one was a huge fan of jazz music, you can include that style of music. On the other hand, if they enjoyed making quits, you can display those quits. You may even allow some of the mourners to take those quilts home as a remembrance. If your loved one was fond of the beach, why not have a beachside service in their honor? There are lots of ways to personalize the funeral. You can also prepare a personalized obituary, touching eulogy, or any other remarks that are unique to your experience.
There are a lot of other personal touches that you can consider when it comes to your checklist for making funeral arrangements. For instance, you can get a large photo printed, or you can have someone design a tributes web page on your behalf. You can also collect some donations for charity, and you will obviously need to prepare some food for the wake. A funeral director can be quite helpful when it comes to planning all these things. However, there are other things that you may need to think about, like getting waste management service and disposing of hospital beds and cardiac recovery equipment if you have the funeral service at home.