The death of a loved one is a difficult time and making funeral arrangements adds unnecessary stress to an already difficult situation. By preparing in advance you will eliminate the time required to plan the funeral and have more time to spend with friends and family. Unfortunately, life is often unexpected and preparing in advance for a funeral is not always an option. The guide below will walk you through the steps required to arrange a funeral to commemorate your loved one’s life.
Guide To Making Funeral Arrangements
1. First Call
When a loved one passes away, the first thing you need to do when making funeral arrangements is to have his or her body transported to a funeral home. Transferring the body to the funeral home is called a “first call”. Your loved one may be located where they passed away, or may have been transported to the city morgue. In certain cases a second or third transportation may be required to transport the body to a funeral home in another city or county. The funeral home will take care of the preparation after they get the body.
2. Funeral Services
Next, you will need to decide where the funeral will take place. It is recommended to make this decision prior to the “first call” so that the body is transferred to the correct funeral home. However, if you decide to use a different funeral home, transportation of the body to the new funeral home can be arranged. The funeral home you select will be based upon a number of factors, including the location, the funeral home’s appearance, the staff, the venue size, the price, and more. Don’t forget to consider your budget for the funeral service before you make a decision.
3. Funeral Products
After you have selected the funeral home, the next step for making funeral arrangements is to select the funeral products. The funeral products selected will be based on your budget and the type of funeral service you are having. Some families will have a simple funeral service, where others will have a visitation, procession to a cemetery, burial service, and more. The typical funeral products a family will select are a casket or urn, funeral flowers, funeral stationery, memorial keepsakes, video tribute, webcasting service, memorial website, and so on. If the body will be buried, a burial vault and gravestone will also be required.
4. Cemetery Arrangements
The next thing you need to take care of when making funeral arrangements is the cemetery services. This step is only required if you plan to bury the body, or place the urn in a columbarium. Making the cemetery arrangements is a very important step because this is your loved one’s final resting place. A burial plot may be one of the single largest expenses of a funeral. Burial plots range from $1,000 to over $20,000 depending on the cemetery and location. After you select the burial plot you will need to arrange transportation of the body and burial at the cemetery.
5. Estate Management
The last step after you are finished making funeral arrangements is to put the deceased person’s affairs in order. This involves sending notifications of death to people, including the person’s employer, organizations they were a member of, government agencies, utility companies, and so on. Next, you will want to file death benefit claims with insurance companies and other agencies. Finally, you will want to work with an attorney and the executor of the estate to divide the person’s assets as stated in their will. This will involve paying off outstanding debts and changing title of the deceased’s assets.
As you can see, there are a number of steps required for making funeral arrangements. That is why it’s important to plan ahead of time, if possible. If you feel like a loved one’s death is imminent, you might want to begin making funeral arrangements as soon as possible. However, even if you are unable to plan in advance, a funeral director at your local funeral home should be able to assist you with all of the funeral arrangements.
Updated: May 21, 2013