Are you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of funeral planning? It’s an emotional time for you to be making important decisions after all.
If your loved one hasn’t done some of the planning themselves, it’s easy to not even know where to begin. We’re here to help make the process a little easier for you with our funeral planning tips.
From what to expect to what to bring, we’ve got you covered. Read below to learn!
1. Meet With the Funeral Director
After the death, you will be contacted by the funeral home to set a time for you to come in and meet with the funeral director or arranger. They will give you a list of items to bring with you to make the arrangements.
Try to get as many of those items on the list as possible even if you’re not sure what they’re for. The funeral planner knows how to walk you through everything.
It’s great to have a plan and to know what type of service your loved one wanted to have. However, listen to all of the options because there are possibilities you may not have known existed that better fit what your loved one wanted and what you want.
You should be given a list of pricing upfront. You can ask the funeral director to keep a running total while you’re making decisions so you’re not caught off guard at the end.
This also helps you stay within any budget you’ve created. If they haven’t given you one, ask for a list of any burial and cremation package prices.
The same goes for all caskets, urns, or any other items you’re looking at in the selection room. There should be prices on them or you should be holding a pricing list.
2. Only Bring Key People to the Meeting
The more people that you bring to the arrangement meeting, the more opinions will be floating around. It’s already a difficult time without getting into little tiffs over who so and so thinks should be done.
If your spouse has passed away, bring your adult children but not the grandchildren. Little ones are a distraction and make the process more difficult and lengthy.
Try to only bring your main people. These are the ones who are helping with the order of the service or financial decisions.
If you don’t have any close family, make sure to bring someone with you. Bring a friend who can help listen through the information and remember what was discussed.
They can help you process the information afterward if you have trouble remembering. You are still in a grieving process, no matter the circumstance of death, and you’ll need the support around you.
Limit who comes to the meeting and don’t bring a huge group of 30 people because it’s hard to stay focused and make decisions. The last thing your funeral director wants is for you to have to spend 4-5 hours there at the funeral home. They want you to be able to get home and rest.
3. Bring the Required Items
Even if you are having your loved one cremated, they can still be dressed in an outfit for a private viewing or an identification time. Anything that they would wear on a normal day, remember to bring to the funeral home for their outfit.
Make sure to bring a special outfit with a high neckline to hide the incision. It’s best that the clothing also be long-sleeved and accompanied by pants.
Bring some recent photos with you. These help the funeral home to prepare the person properly. If there is a visitation, they may request photos for a memorial video as well.
The death certificate necessitates certain paperwork. You will need at least the following:
- Insurance policies
- Birth certificates
- Marriage license
- Social security card
- Veteran information
4. Be Prepared for an Obituary
Come to the meeting prepared with the names of those you’d like included in the obituary. And have those names written out so the funeral director can arrange the obituary.
Also, include any important information you’d like shared. Even if you’re not running it in the newspaper, you may want one placed online.
Pull up a local newspaper to format it easily. You can have a mock draft ready to go and that helps shorten the time you’re at the funeral home. Email it beforehand or bring a flash drive for the funeral planner.
5. Put Your Phone Away
While it’s handy to have, your phone is likely to be blowing up with condolences and well wishes. People want information from you, and you’ll be getting a barrage of notifications and texts.
While you’re there at the funeral home planning, try to put your phone away to lessen the distractions. Unless you plan on having a family member on speakerphone who is part of your main people, try to keep your phone from becoming a distraction.
6. Decisions You’re Going to Have to Make
When meeting with the funeral director, you need to have all of your loved one’s biographical information handy for the death certificate and obituary. You walk through the entire layout of the services while you’re there.
This means you need to know what steps are taking place for the funeral. Steps like…
- Funeral service
- Burial time
Write down these times or have the funeral planner write them down for you.
You may also be writing the obituary while you’re there as well if you haven’t already. You or someone close to you needs to proofread it before it is set in stone.
If the loved one didn’t already select these, you have to choose the casket, urn, or vault. While in the selection room you may see full caskets or just a small piece, but you’ll have to make the decision out of all of the selections. If they don’t have something you’d like, you can also shop online.
This is also where you’ll choose any printed materials like register books or thank you notes. If you have a family member who wants to make that themselves, they absolutely can. The funeral home will just have that on hand and ready for you.
Closing Funeral Planning Thoughts
Ask for help during any and all funeral planning if you start to feel overwhelmed. Though it is a difficult time, you don’t have to go through it alone.
For more helpful content like this, continue reading our blogs. We’ll help you learn what you need to know!