How to Make Funeral Arrangements: Your Personal Guide and Checklist
The loss of a loved one can be a tough thing to deal with. In this state of grieving, it is easy to be lost on how to make funeral arrangements.
However, with proper planning, your loved one can be given an honorable last send off. Here, we guide you on what to do when faced with the challenge of planning the whole process of sending off a loved one.
1. Making the Official Announcement
The first step in funeral planning is the official announcement of the passing on of the person. This communication needs to be made to all family members in the most convenient of ways.
It is always advisable to have the family together before making the first announcement, although distance might be a major hindrance in this.
Factoring in this, it may be inevitable to announce some of the family members and friends via the phone. If doing so, ensure that the person is not driving at that particular moment or in a situation that could pose harm in case they are overcome with grief.
For the person making the phone calls, it is also advisable to have a written script to help communicate well.
2. Get The Necessary Documentation
Different states will have different laws that govern how funeral preparations and what steps to take in the event of a death. Here, it is essential to establish if the deceased had any pre-planned funeral plans. If so, reach out to the funeral service that the deceased had registered with.
For the most part, the funeral service will handle most of the things that follow after death has occurred.
If not then register the demise with the local authority or follow any other procedure that might be available to get the death registered.
Additionally, here is where if the deceased was living in a nursing home or any other care for the elderly, you can clear out their remaining stuff and sign any necessary paperwork.
3. Decide on the Type of Service
One of the most crucial aspects of how to plan a funeral is deciding on the type of service the whole ceremony will have.
Essentially, despite our differences in beliefs and culture, there are three major types of service that you can choose from;
a) Funeral service – This is a type of service where there is a religious ceremony held in a place of worship before the body is transported to it is to be interred.
b) Memorial service – This is a type of service that is held after the body has been interred. It usually occurs a few days after the burial or cremation has taken place.
c) Graveside service – This is the most common type of service in funerals. Here, a religious service will be held by the graveside of the deceased shortly before the body is buried. The same also happens before the body is cremated.
4. Choose a Funeral Service and Make Cemetery Arrangements
To help make the funeral planning smooth, it is highly recommended that you go for a funeral service to help you with the crucial planning of the final send-off. For the most part, this type of service is especially important in handling matters such as the transportation of the body and its preservation.
Depending on the culture; whether there will be a body viewing or not, this will determine how the body will be prepared. In most cultures where body viewing is done, the body will be embalmed to preserve it.
In other instances, cosmetic reconstruction might be necessary, but this is costly. The funeral service will help you estimate these costs and therefore come up with the most appropriate option to suit your budget.
The most important thing about a funeral service is that it will be in collaboration with a cemetery. This makes the burial easy. Religious organizations also have such collaborations as nursing homes and hospitals as well.
The funeral service will also handle the transportation of the body. For transportation of family members to attend the burial or cremation ceremony, it is advisable to have a good grasp of the funeral guide offered by the funeral service to know if they have such an arrangement in place.
If not, then this will be upon the family, and it should be assigned to a particular individual to handle.
5. Funeral Arrangements for the Day of the Ceremony
The day of the ceremony is a crucial one. Emotions are high on this day, and it’s therefore advisable that the vital decision should be made before this day arrives.
It would help if you had a checklist of things that need to be done on that day and who will do it. Among the items that need to be on the checklist are;
a) Ushers for the day – Ushers will help in organizing those who are attending the funeral ceremony. These ushers will help with sitting arrangements as well and the distribution of programs.
b) Speakers – The people that are going to speak at the funeral ceremony also need to be pre-selected early on. Not all people called upon to speak will want to. Moreover, it is a good thing to expect the least expected of people to step up.
c) Eulogies – Eulogies need to be written and made available early on for those that will read them.
d) Pallbearers – The pallbearers need to be selected early on. You may have to solve a dilemma if a person requests to be pallbearer but cannot hold the weight of the casket. These people can be arranged for, to walk beside the casket or behind it.
Once the funeral ceremony has been completed, it is important to finalize on the whole funeral arrangements.
Usually, this will involve bidding goodbye to the people that had attended the funeral ceremony and also decision making on the estate. The guidance of a legal officer is highly recommended in this case. You can invite a lawyer or a funeral director to guide you on this.
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