Funeral Planning Checklist

Funeral Planning Checklist Image

If you want to plan ahead for your funeral or your loved one, our Funeral Planning Checklist will help you in making sure nothing is forgotten. Funeral planning can be challenging, but you can use this funeral planning checklist to help guide you.

Many of the arrangements can be planned ahead, which will lessen the burden on those left behind, use this Funeral Planning Checklist when discussing the funeral plan with your loved one, to make sure that your final wishes are carried out and that nothing is overlooked.



When a loved one dies, the process of planning the funeral service and getting all the paperwork can be overwhelming, especially for the person left in charge.

Death can be emotional and confusing, making funeral planning difficult. This funeral planning checklist for families will help you during this difficult time.

Death and Funeral Checklist:

  1. Get legal certification of death. Have the death officially declared by someone in authority like a doctor, nursing facility, emergency medical technician, hospice nurse, coroner, or medical examiner.
  2. Arrange for organ donation if the deceased has a prior instruction for organ donation.
  3. Search the person’s documents to check for any written instructions for the body disposition, funeral plans, and other details.
  4. Notify the funeral home to arrange for the transportation of the body
  5. Notify close family and friends who may not be aware of the death. Also, notify the doctor, insurance agents, attorney, accountant, executor of estate, religious, fraternal, and civic organizations.
  6. Meet with the funeral director handling the funeral
  7. Handle care of dependents and pets
  8. Call the deceased’s employer
  9. Take security precautions. Remove valuable items from the deceased’s house
  10. Assign a house sitter


Planning your funeral in advance can help decrease the burden on those left behind. Share your funeral plan with loved ones to make things go smoothly when it’s time to carry out your final wishes. One of the ways to plan for your funeral in advance is to work with a funeral home.

Once you’ve selected a funeral home, sit down with the funeral director, and discuss the kind of funeral you want to have. The funeral director will help you choose the type of goods and services you need.

Once you have designed your funeral, the funeral director will compute all the expenses and tell you the cost. You can pay your funeral in a lump sum or make payments over a period of time.

Finally, make your wishes known to your family and friends. Here are some ways to let your family know about your final wishes:

  • Write a letter explaining your funeral and burial preferences
  • Make a voice or video recording that outlines your last wishes
  • Ask the funeral home to convey for final plans to your family
  • Create a funeral plan and give it to your family.

Do not leave your funeral plan in your legal will document because most people don’t look at the will until after the burial. And by that time, it will be too late.

Put all your important documents in one place and let someone know where they are. Put your will, insurance policies, car title, the deed to your home, your social security card, and other vital documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and discharge papers in the same place. Also, include a list of your computer passwords – and update it regularly.

If you’ve made a funeral plan, put it in the same place as your important documents or give it to a loved one or trusted friend beforehand, so there will be no confusion.

Your funeral plan should also include a list of people you want to be notified and their contact information.


Funeral Planning Guide: How to plan a funeral step by step

1. Choosing a Funeral Home

Use this funeral arrangement checklist to help you plan a funeral for your loved one. Looking for a funeral home will not be difficult if you do it before the need for a funeral arises. You should know the type of funeral service you want before calling a funeral home. If you have no idea, funeral homes will try to sell you an expensive funeral package.

Once you determined what you want, look for funeral homes in your area online. Call the funeral homes to ask for a general price list. Call at least five funeral homes then compare prices. Visit the funeral home and check the facility before deciding on which one you want.

You will also need to decide who will be the primary contact for the funeral home.

Assign which loved ones will need to work with the funeral director to ensure all your last wishes will be carried out. You can choose a family member or someone close to you who will be less emotionally invested and make the decision logically.

2. Arrange for the transportation of the body to the funeral home

  • Select clothing for the deceased to wear
  • Are you going to use embalming? It is required for an open casket
  • Decide on casket or cremation container
  • Select a burial vault or cremation urn
  • Select a photograph to be displayed
  • Select which religious or fraternal items to be displayed

3. Choose the Method of Disposition

Choose the type of disposition you like:

  1. Donating your body to science (ending in cremation)
  2. Cremation – traditional cremation or flameless cremation
  3. Burial – traditional burial or green burial

The next step in pre-planning your funeral is deciding your method of disposition. You can choose between burial or cremation, either choice you can opt for direct burial or cremation with no funeral service.

If you decide to go with burial, you need to choose if you want a traditional or green burial. Traditional burial needs to purchase a casket and vault. Green burial does not require embalming or uses formaldehyde-free products and a biodegradable shroud or coffin.

You may need to purchase an urn if you choose traditional cremation. The urn is not needed if you decide to go with flameless cremation or alkaline hydrolysis.

4. Compose and submit the obituary to selected newspapers

Obituary Checklist

Information needed in the obituary:

  • Given name
  • Birthday
  • Birthplace
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Father’s name
  • Occupation and employer
  • Armed services number
  • Those of have proceeded in death
  • Survivors and relationship to the deceased
  • Schools attended
  • Hobbies and interest

5. Choose the type of service, ceremony, memorial, or gathering you like to have and the location

Funeral Checklist for planning a memorial service:

  • Do you want a visitation, viewing or wake?
  • Do you want wake at home or visitation at the funeral home?
  • Do you want a public viewing or private family viewing?

For traditional funeral service:

  • Do you want the body present in the service or not?
  • Do you want the coffin open or closed?

The Ceremony and Service

  • Graveside service or service at the crematory?
  • Do you want a religious, spiritual, or end of life celebration?
  • Choose clergy or officiator to run the service
  • Choose organist or other musical participants
  • Choose funeral music and hymns
  • Create a memorial video

Choose an officiant to lead the service. If you want the service to be a place of worship, the religious leader will lead the service according to your traditional practices. If you want the service in another location, you can choose whoever you like to lead the service.

Choose the people you want to deliver the eulogies. They can be family members, friends, or the clergy can give eulogies.

Choose the people who will deliver readings or prayers at the service. Select scripture, prayers or literature to be read

Choose songs or music to be played or performed. If they will be playing music, ensure that the venue can accommodate the technology.

6. Decide on the order of events for the service

You can print programs or have the funeral home print programs for you. Funeral programs contain the order of the service, including the names of the participants and any readings or musical pieces to be performed, as well as the copy of the obituary.

Select a memorial register or guestbook and pens

Assign someone to put these out at the service and collect them afterward. The memorial register allows the family to know who attended the funeral. Select memorial folders and acknowledgment cards to be given after the funeral.

If you have a particular charity, you can request guests to make contributions to the charity instead of sending flowers or gifts.

Keep a list of callers, donations, and floral tributes.

7. Choose floral arrangement

Choose the type of floral arrangements you’d like to have at the service. You can purchase the arrangements on your own or through the funeral home.

Common floral arrangements include casket sprays which cover the casket, standing sprays which are displayed on an easel in the form of wreaths, bouquets, crosses, hearts, and other designs; and bouquets in vase or baskets.

Assign someone to remove the flowers from the venue after the service.

8. Organizing Transportation for the Family and the Deceased

  • Funeral coach or hearse
  • Clergy car
  • Pallbearer limousine
  • Family limousine
  • Flower car

Select pallbearers – Choose pallbearers to carry the casket. If the pallbearer you selected is not physically capable of carrying the weight of the casket, they can be made “honorary pallbearers,” and they can walk beside or behind the casket.

9. Final Resting Place

Cemetery Selection – veterans cemetery, private cemetery, or private property

Choosing a cemetery and plot:

  • Select a burial or cremation plot
  • Choose a grave marker and inscriptions for the cemetery

Whether you choose burial or cremation, you will have to select your final resting place. If you choose burial, you will need to decide what cemetery you want to be interred with. You can buy a plot in advance.

If you’re going to be cremated, some cemeteries designate areas to bury cremated remains. You may also wish for your ashes to be scattered. Be sure to check the law in your area if they permit ashes scattering.

Apply for a burial permit after you determine the final resting place.

10. Family gathering

Decide if there will be a family gathering, reception, or fellowship meal after the burial. Arrange for food or beverages to be served after the service. Decide if you will need to hire a caterer or family member who will bring the foods.


Funeral Planning Checklist: After the funeral

  1. Obtain 10-15 copies of death certificates
  2. Inform your local Social Security Officer of the death
  3. Call insurance company
  4. Call possible pension or retirement services to inquire about death benefits
  5. Order thank you cards for funeral attendees and donations.

Documents to Locate after Death

  • Birth certificate
  • Will
  • Social security card
  • Insurance policies (health insurance, life insurance, property insurance)
  • Marriage contract/certificate
  • Military discharge papers
  • Citizenship papers (if appropriate)
  • Property deeds
  • Automobile tile
  • Income tax returns
  • Disability claims
  • Other documents

Information Needed for the Death Certificate

  • Deceased full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Address at the time of death
  • Marital status
  • Surviving spouse name
  • Veteran’s discharge papers (DD-214)
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Father’s name
  • Place of death
  • Highest level of education
  • Occupation


The funeral home is required by the law to provide a General Price List of their goods and services. Funeral costs are divided into three categories:

  1. The basic service fee – includes the use of the funeral home, the funeral director services, funeral home staff, coordination burial arrangements with the cemetery, securing permits and death certificates, and others.
  2. Optional service fee – includes transporting the body, embalming, funeral home use for viewing, hearse, burial containers, cremation, and interment.
  3. Other vendors fee – includes flowers, clergy services, pallbearers, obituary notices, musicians, and additional service fees for third-party providers.


Figuring out the best way to pay your funeral costs can be the most crucial part of your funeral planning checklist.

There is a way to fund your funeral in advance if you don’t want your family to work with a specific funeral home. It’s called burial insurance or final expense insurance. Prepaying your funeral with burial insurance can easily protect your loved ones from financial burden in the future.

Burial insurance or final expense insurance is whole life insurance designed to cover end-of-life expenses such as funeral costs or outstanding medical bills. You can choose to have $2,000 to $50,000 worth of coverage to pay for your final expenses.

Burial insurance offers affordable monthly payments and works well for people on a fixed budget. Other options include funeral trust, or payable on death account.

If you are paying for funeral services at the time of need, try asking your family members and friends to help pay for different parts of the funeral or contribute money in various ways such as sending flowers or bringing food.

Crowdfunding sites like or can be used to help pay for a loved one’s funeral services if money is tight.


Trying to find a policy if you need a funeral planning checklist to preplan your funeral needn’t be a frustrating process; working with an independent agency like Funeral Funds will make the process easier and quicker.

If you have a health history or pre-existing medical condition, let us help you; we will work with you side by side to find a plan that fits your needs.

We will work with you every step of the way to find the plan that fits your financial requirements and budget. You don’t have to waste your precious time anymore searching for multiple insurance companies because we will do the dirty work for you.

We will shop your case to different insurance carriers and get you the best price.

We work with many A+ rated insurance carriers that specialized in covering high-risk clients like you.  We will search all those companies to get the best rate. We will match you up with the best burial insurance company that gives the best rate.

We will assist you in securing the coverage you need at a rate you can afford. So, if you are looking for funeral insurance, or burial insurance, or life insurance to cover your funeral.

Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at 888) 862-9456 and we can give you an accurate quote.


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