If you’re reading this, we should start by sending our most profound empathy and our support for you in this time of need. As much as we all hate it, we do need to deal with funerals at some point. Funeral and memorial services give the family, friends, anyone who knew the deceased to gather together for honoring the dead. Mourning together helps them deal with the loss better, easing out the pain and intense emotions.
Whether you have to plan the funeral right away after the death happened (“at-need” situation), or beforehand (a “preneed” scenario), planning a funeral is never easy. You’re dealing with many emotions, and your reasoning may be altered as well.
We’re here to help so keep reading for finding out about the steps to take when preparing a funeral.
What is planning of a funeral all about?
First of all, planning a funeral/memorial service is a highly personal process, with everything about you and your connection to the deceased impacting the whole process. The budget you have, the wishes of the dead and plenty of other aspects play their role throughout the entire process.
Keep in mind that the funeral and cemetery burial aren’t the same things. For instance, when you go with cremation, a funeral service with the deceased’s embalmed body present may not be possible.
When you plan a funeral, there are two main aspects that you need to consider:
- What you’re going to do with the physical remains of the deceased
- How you’re going to honor the dead
What are the primary forms of disposition?
You must choose the form of final body disposition. Here are your options:
- Burial- it’s the traditional form, no matter if you decide to do it below the ground in the cemetery or above (in a mausoleum). You need to buy a casket, a mausoleum space, or a cemetery plot. Even though this is the traditional form, for the caskets you can go online and look for companies that offers discounts, free shipping and this was save some money. Such an example would be Trusted Caskets, which is a company that offers free shipping, low prices, guarantee quality.
- Burial (natural or “green”)- a natural seek reduces the impact on the environment after death
- Cremation – it reduces the body to bone fragments (ashes), using heat/flame.
- Alkaline hydrolysis –it’s a new form with the process using low heat and pressure for minimizing the body to an inert liquid and several bone parts.
Do you plan for the body to be present?
It’s also important to decide if you want the physical body of the deceased to be present during the funeral service. With burial and cremation as forms of final body disposition, none of them exclude funeral services with the body.
Try your best to have a meaningful service
Funeral services got more and more personal over the years. A personalized funeral highlights the personality and life of the deceased, no matter the final form of the funeral service.
Many family members like planning a funeral service about the memories with the decease, the way he/she lived. The service may focus on the deceased’s body remains, or it can combine everything.
The funeral service must be meaningful as it’s your final goodbye with the one you loved and lost. It should reflect how the deceased was alive, what he/she believed in. The funeral service has therapeutic values since it helps people deal with their grief.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Use music, no matter if modern or religious hymns
- Write a eulogy about the deceased
- Readings of all sorts, prayers, poems, or religious passages
- Who is going to lead the service?
- When the final disposition includes a graveside service, you need to decide on the pallbearers
- Add personal touches- memorial, memory board, or personal memorabilia
- You can record the service or even webcasting it for the people who couldn’t make it to the funeral
Donations, flowers, or both?
It’s common for people to send flowers as a sign of support and express of regrets for losing the deceased. Families have started for decades to use donations instead of flowers. You can decide later if you send flowers or donate the money to a charitable organization that the deceased would have liked to help.
Here are some examples of where the donation money could go:
- You can select a cause that tries to find the cure for a disease/illness
- You may give financial help to the hospice that took care of the deceased
- An organization, charity, or business that is connected to the dead’s beliefs and interests.
Get in touch with the service provider
Once you’re done with the previous steps, you should look for a provider for the service. You may get in touch with a local funeral home, cemetery, or cremation provider. You may select the provider for helping you with the funeral service. He/she may give you all the input you need about specific product and service options. He can also inform you of the professional fees, services, and even create an obituary/death notice for receiving the official death certificates.
What to do right after someone has died
You need to talk with the provider about the cultural/religious aspects for the funeral service. It’s possible to go with a funeral celebrant when you want a non-religious funeral/memorial service. Most funeral homes dealt with various cultural backgrounds so they can help you with ritual, customs, and funeral rites.
It’s quite common for the business to provide you product and service information online, prices, and even display the general price list (GPL). The Federal Trade Commission asks the providers to offer their customers precise and specific price information. The non-disclosures aren’t accepted.
No matter if you’re planning the funeral before or after the death, there are many fundamental rights under the FTC “Funeral Rule” that works for your good.
How are you going to pay?
The prices depend on the form of the final disposition, the kinds of funeral service, and so on. Here are the payment options that you can choose from:
- Personal savings
- Credit cards
- Financing (through the funeral provider)
- Totten trust/Payable-on-Death (POD) account at a financial institution
Always make sure that your wishes are heard
If you’re planning your funeral/memorial service, you should let the beloved in your life about your end-of-life wishes. A written record is the best way to do it. Don’t keep the plan on the computer nor count on the memory of your family’members. Even if a talk with your loved one may be of help, people react when someone they love dies differently. They may forget everything because of shock. Since it’s a shock, no matter how well you’ve prepared it.