Funeral Planning Checklist

The death of a loved one can be unexpected and it’s easy to be caught off-guard by everything that comes with it.

With the muddle of emotions, on top of the stress of planning a funeral, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at that moment.

There is just so much to do while you try to process what is one of the most painful situations to be in.

Having a funeral planning checklist can help in this difficult time by keeping you aware of everything that needs to be done so you can get organized and put together a service that will honor the deceased appropriately.

The right funeral professionals will be able to give you the guidance you need for the most essential tasks, and this funeral planning checklist will give you an idea of how they can help.

Keep in mind that this checklist doesn’t have to be completed in this order, and some of the items listed will be entirely optional.

Immediate actions

These are the items that should be done as soon as possible so that you can move along to the next stage of planning.

  • Obtain the legal pronouncement of death from an attending doctor or call 911
  • Transport the body to the funeral home
  • Notify friends and family
  • Choose a funeral home

The type of disposition

If the deceased has already outlined how their body is to be taken care of, this step will be a lot simpler.

You can choose from;

  • A cremation
  • A traditional burial
  • An eco-friendly burial (green burial)
  • An anatomical donation (this ends in a cremation)

The type of funeral service

This portion of the funeral planning checklist is dedicated to the organization of the service itself, which is done with the help of a funeral home.

Some of the aspects you will need to consider include:

  • Visitation or viewing in a funeral home or at home
  • Traditional funeral service or graveside service
  • Memorial service or celebration of life
  • Scattering ceremony (for cremation)
  • Settling on a date and time for the service
  • Picking your locations

Make it personal

These are all the decisions that are a little more personal to the deceased and will likely require input from friends and family.

The items listed below can ensure that the funeral service is one that honors the deceased and the memories loved ones have with them, making it personal to their values and interests.

  • Pick photos to display at the service
  • Select the clothing for the deceased to wear
  • Pick prayers, poems, or other readings for the service
  • Create and print memorial folders or programs for guests
  • Choose a florist and decide on funeral flower arrangements
  • Decide on what songs, hymns, or music should be played or sung
  • Have a memorial contribution to a charity or organization that was close to the deceased’s heart

Guest considerations

These are checklist items that relate to the people who will be involved in the service.

  • Choose pallbearers
  • Catered or potluck meal
  • Decide who will deliver the eulogy
  • Arrange transportation for family members
  • Choose speakers who were close to the deceased
  • Pick an officiant to lead the service (e.g., a religious leader, family member, or friend)

Official actions

This section will cover the official side of things.

More often than not, your funeral home will be able to support you through many of these items, so be sure to coordinate these activities with them.

  • Obtain a burial permit
  • Compile information for the obituary
  • Submit the obituary to selected newspapers
  • Collect important documents like the deceased’s will, marriage and birth certificates, veteran’s discharge papers, military service records, life and health insurance policies, and social security information as these can help with costs

Use a funeral planning checklist to cover all your bases

This funeral planning checklist will ensure that you have a well-rounded idea of everything that is involved in planning a funeral so that you know exactly what needs to be done.

This way, the funeral home will be able to take care of most of the organizing much quicker, leaving you the time to lean on your loved ones and be there for each other during this time.

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