Planning Check List, Vital Statistics
Floral Selection Guide, Vaults
Funeral Etiquette, Memorial
Cards, Legal Issues
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The following list of
information is provided to help you plan your funeral. Organization is the
key to planning in the midst of grief and sadness. We hope the following
list will lend a helping hand. Print it out and keep it in a convenient
If the death occurs outside of a hospital or nursing home you may need to
notify authorities of the death. Call 911 or your local emergency number to
report the death. The authorities will call the coroner. Although it may not
actually be necessary to call the coroner, it is a good idea to do so,
especially if the deceased had insurance policies.
Notify close relatives and
The police are required to notify next of kin, but there will likely be
other relatives that should be included, especially if they need to travel
some distance to attend the funeral. Don't forget to include close friends.
- You or the authorities may
call the funeral home that will be taking care of the arrangements for the
funeral and calling hours.
- Notify any relatives who will
be having a part in planning the calling hours and details of the funeral
and set up a time to meet with the funeral director to finalize the plans.
- Discuss who will be
responsible for funeral expenses for billing purposes. If there is an
executor for the estate of the deceased, this person usually handles this
responsibility, but it is entirely up to the family to determine who
should handle this responsibility. Often families will divide this
responsibility between several family members.
- Gather the information you
will need for the completion of the death certificate at the funeral home.
Parent's names including middle initials, also the social security number
and date of birth of the deceased, their place of work (Name and address)
and occupation of the deceased. See Vital
The funeral director
The funeral director will guide you through the much of the planning
process. Use the following checklist to when meeting with your funeral
- Consider embalming the body
This decision will determine the timing of many decisions you make.
- The law requires bodies
that are not embalmed be buried sooner than bodies that are embalmed.
- Clothing & Jewelry
If this will be a traditional burial you need to consider clothing &
jewelry. (If this will be a cremation you can eliminate this step.)
- Clothing - You may want to
bring this with you when you meet with the funeral director to make the
plans, but this is not essential.
- Jewelry - Remember any
special pins or jewelry. Special pins would include but are not limited
to Union and association membership pins. Also Watches, earrings,
necklaces, tie tacks, cuff links, or anything that the deceased
particularly liked or directed to be included.
- Consider the type of burial
- Cemetery plot ___
If one has been previously purchased, bring the deed to the plot with
you, if you have it, to the funeral home when you make your plans. If
you know you have a plot but donít have the deed in your possession,
the funeral director can contact the cemetery overseer to arrange
confirmation. Otherwise a plot will need to be purchased. The funeral
director will assist you with this.
- Vault ___
Choose a vault. Your funeral director will describe the various types
- Mausoleum ___
- See Vaults
- Select the casket or
- Wood ___ Metal ___
Cardboard (cremation) ___ Urn ___
- Open or closed casket
Decide whether it will be opened or closed casket.
Note: Some clergy persons insist that the casket be closed for the
memorial service. If you have a specific wish for the casket to remain
open during the service, be sure to specify this when selecting a clergy
person to deliver the eulogy.
- Calling hours
Decide on calling hours at the funeral home.
- Some families choose not to
have calling hours at the funeral home. There is great flexibility and
the time(s) selected should try to accommodate the needs of the family
- Traditionally hours have
been from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. as these hours can accommodate friends
who have to work day or evening shifts.
- Funeral services
If you plan to have a funeral service, you need to consider when and where
the service will be conducted.
Before burial or cremation ___
After burial or cremation ___
The funeral home ___
At the graveside ___
- Special Ceremonies
Some Fraternal Orders and the Military may provide special ceremonies for
the funeral service.
- Check with the local branch
of the service the deceased was enlisted in or the Fraternal Order for
- Seating arrangements for the
The funeral director should be aware of the relationships of people
attending to seat them appropriately.
- Compose the Obituary
- Publishing an obituary
Decide on which newspapers or other publications will be used to place the
- Local ___
- Regional ___
- Internet ___
- Flower arrangements
Decide on the type of flower arrangements to be provided by the family.
Relatives and other well wishers may also need to be advised as to your
desired floral selections.
- Casket Spray ___
- Lid arrangements ___
- Standing spray ___
- Matching baskets
- Specialty pieces (floral
hearts, crosses, and bible) ___
- See Floral
- Pictures or photo album -
Consider setting up pictures or a photo album to remind well wishers and
family of good times or special events in the life of the deceased.
- Other props
The family or funeral director may wish to setup props that reflect the
interests of the deceased.
Decide who will deliver the eulogy
- Clergy ___
- Friend ___
- Combination ___
- Video eulogy ___
- Other __________
- See Writing
- Special Recognition
Consider special recognition for accomplishments of the deceased.
- Athletic ___
- Political ___
- Religious ___
- Scientific ___
- Memorial cards (optional)
- Choose from funeral home
- Have unique cards printed
- Print your own ___
- See Memorial
- Pall bearers
Arrange for pall bearers. Usually 4 to 6 men are needed.
- Ask friends or relatives
(usually not next of kin)
- Ask funeral home to arrange
for this service.
- Music at calling hours or
- Generic funeral home
- Favorite recordings of the
- Other soothing
- Grave site transportation
Consider who will provide transportation for the family to the grave site.
Transportation of the deceased is usually provided by the funeral home.
- Friends and Family ___
- Funeral home limo ___
- Grave marker
A temporary marker may be selected if a permanent marker has not been
purchased or engraved.
- Engrave present stone ___
- Purchase new stone ___
- Veterans plaque - Veterans
may be eligible for a marker plaque.
- Special insignias - A
member of a service or charitable organization may be eligible for
special insignia to be fixed to the marker.
- Wake or special gathering
Decide if there will be a wake or other gathering to celebrate the life of
the deceased. Consider where and when to hold this gathering.
- Where ___________
- When ___________
- Food ____________
- Drink ____________
- Accommodating out of town
Consider how to accommodate relatives.
- Assist with travel plans
- Airport pick up ___
- Lodging ___
- Legal Matters - See Related
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