Why should I plan a funeral for my loved one?

A funeral or memorial is a customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are held for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process. They also give mourners a chance to share stories, create memories, fulfill religious beliefs & customs, participate in a support system, and gather at a peaceful place during a time of confusion and uncertainty.

What tasks are involved in arranging a funeral?

There can be as many as 200 tasks when planning a funeral. Many of them are listed below. Our Funeral Director will coordinate most of these for you, after meeting with you at a private consultation.

Obtain the signature of the attending physician, coroner or medical examiner on the required certificate; file the certificate with the registrar of vital statistics where the death occurred.

Ensure compliance with government regulators

Transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home (local or out of town)

Obtain family history

Make decisions regarding the remains of the deceased

Determine the budget (if funeral has not been pre-arranged)

Determine the funeral or memorial service location(s), such as church, chapel, or graveside

Plan for a viewing/visitation and determine open or closed casket

Choose the final resting place (cemetery, mausoleum, private land, etc.)

Make necessary arrangements with clergy, church and cemetery officials

Obtain certified copies of the death certificate, as necessary

Procure the burial permit and file with the cemetery

Select and purchase the casket, outer burial container or urn

Select a monument/marker

Order and schedule the delivery of all products/merchandise

Compose and submit newspaper and other media notices

Choose clothing & jewelry

Select poems, scripture, readings

Select music: taped, live musicians, etc.

Choose pallbearers

Arrange for transportation of the deceased

Secure flower/equipment trucks, as necessary

Purchase acknowledgment cards, register books, memorial folders, etc.

Purchase a door wreath & flowers

Arrange for family transportation

Complete social security papers and secure social security benefits

Secure Veterans benefits (if applicable)

Secure life insurance benefits (if applicable)

Contact insurance agents

Complete accounting, clerical and filing work

Answer telephone calls

Notify other organizations that your loved one participated in

Deliver flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals etc. following the funeral

What is the role of a funeral director?

Funeral directors are caregivers, advisors, and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and carry out the wishes of the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death, are trained to answer questions about grief, and can recommend sources of professional help.

Who should be included in the gathering or ceremony?

Family, close friends, co-workers, fellow worshippers, neighbors & acquaintances, and in some cases, the greater community.

What costs are associated with funerals?

The cost of a funeral includes all the services of a funeral director (see task list above), merchandise, such as caskets and urns, and transportation. Other costs may apply. In general, funeral homes make only a modest profit.

Some people cannot afford basic funeral services. Is financial aid available to the poor?

Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from either the state, county, city, or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them.