Funeral Planning Checklist

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.


What To Do Immediately After Death

When a loved one dies, planning the funeral service and getting all the paperwork can be overwhelming, especially for the person 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 prior instructions 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

Pre-planning A Funeral

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 way to plan 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 of and their contact information.

Funeral Planning Checklist

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 determine 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 fulfilled. 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 a 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 unnecessary if you 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 relationships 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 to wake up at home or have 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 an 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 a 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 a floral arrangement

Choose the type of floral arrangements you want at the service. You can purchase the arrangements on your own or through the funeral home.

Common floral arrangements include casket sprays that cover the casket, standing sprays that 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 must select your final resting place. If you choose burial, you must 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. 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 food.

Things To Do After The Funeral

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

Funeral Cost

The law requires the funeral home 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.

Choose A Method Of Payment

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.

How Can Funeral Funds Help Me?

Finding 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 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, 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.

Additional Questions & Answers On Funeral Planning Checklist

Is a funeral plan a good idea?

Yes, a funeral plan is essentially a way of preparing for the unexpected, which is what every funeral should be about. The family of someone who has made no arrangements will often feel somewhat overwhelmed with the task ahead but it’s the kindest thing to do for your loved ones in their time of need. They will have enough on their plates to cope with the arrangements so if you are able to make some decisions ahead of time, all the better.

What is funeral planning?

Funeral planning covers preparing for funerals and making decisions in advance so they don’t have to be made when it’s too late. You can choose the kind of burial you want, your pallbearers, eulogies or obituaries, and so on.

What are the benefits of having a funeral plan?

Having a plan means choosing any funeral director that meets your needs. It’s also a great way of taking care of your family by sparing them the additional stress of having to arrange funerals.

How do I plan my own funeral arrangements?

It’s surprisingly easy. All you need to do is write down what kind of funeral you’d like, where and when it should be held, who will carry the coffin/urn, whether there should be any hymns, readings or poetry played – basically anything that can be planned. You can make some suggestions for flowers or donations to charity in lieu of flowers.

Once you have made your arrangements in the form of a checklist, all you need to do is appoint someone to deal with the funeral director when the time comes – this should be your next-of-kin or whoever else can give consent for you when you are no longer around.

Planning Your Own Funeral Checklist

  1. Choosing a Funeral Home
  2. Arrange for the transportation of the body to the funeral home
  3. Choose the Method of Disposition
  4. Compose and submit the obituary to selected newspapers
  5. Choose the type of service, ceremony, memorial, or gathering you like to have and the location
  6. Decide on the order of events for the service
  7. Choose a floral arrangement
  8. Organizing Transportation for the Family and the Deceased
  9. Final Resting Place
  10. Family gathering

Is there a funeral checklist?

Yes. Download our free Funeral and Estate Planning Guide and use it to get your final arrangements and funeral in order. This is not the only way of organizing your funerals but it works well for most families and will help keep things simple.

Should I plan my own funeral?

Yes, if you are in good health and relatively clear-minded, it is preferable to plan your own funeral arrangement. However, if you are not able to make decisions on your own behalf or if you have any special requirements which cannot be met by the funeral homes, then having a pre-plan with a funeral home will work well for everyone involved.

Can you do your own funeral?

Yes, you can plan your own funeral and avoid paying high fees to a funeral home. You can run your own obituary and choose the way you want to be remembered after death. Although many people still prefer to leave these decisions to their families, some opt for more personalized funerals, and pre-planning is one way of making sure those funerals are just as you want them.

Does a funeral plan provide any savings?

A funeral plan does not involve massive savings but it can help ease some of the strain and grief during a difficult time. Planning your own funeral is much better than leaving things to chance and depending on the kindness of your loved ones, which we all know can be risky.

Does a funeral plan provide any benefits?

A funeral plan is a great investment and can be used to offset some of the high costs involved in arranging funerals for the deceased. Plan ahead and make your wishes known, then you won’t have to worry about things after you’re gone. Create a memorial site or email your family with some of the things you want to be listed in your obituary.

What’s included in a funeral plan?

A funeral plan includes a wide range of services, and there are many different packages to choose from. You can ask for help with the funeral arrangements, or you can decide that your family will take care of it all on their own. It’s up to you, but having an online memorial website is recommended as it can be used by your loved ones after you’re gone, and it won’t go to waste.

How do I write a funeral plan?

Writing a funeral plan for your own use is a good way to make sure all the details are worked out before you die. You can download our printable funeral planning guide here.

Do funeral plans cover all costs?

No, you can use a funeral plan as a guideline, but it doesn’t include everything. There will always be additional charges such as embalming or administration fees and, most importantly of all, the cost of death certificates, which must be submitted to insurance companies, government agencies, etc.

How do you document final wishes?

Documenting the deceased’s final wishes is an important part of any funeral plan. You can simply download our printable funeral planning guide pdf and fill it out before you die, or if that’s not possible, then you can leave a list for your family to follow on how you would like to be remembered after death.

How do you arrange a funeral checklist?

To organize your own funeral, you need to document the necessary arrangements. You can download our printable funeral planning guide pdf here and use it as a checklist for everything that must be done after death.

What are the benefits of pre-planning your own funeral?

Pre-planning for funerals and making decisions in advance means less stress and grief for your family. They don’t have to worry about these things and can use the time they would have spent arranging funerals to spend with you, instead.

Does Google Docs have a funeral program template?

Yes, you can use an online funeral program template such as the one provided by Google Docs. You can create your own or use a template that someone else has made and then modify it to suit your needs.

How long does it take to plan a funeral after someone dies?

Funeral planning after the death of someone normally takes a week or less. Hiring a funeral director can ease up the process to a few days.

Can pre-planning reduce costs?

Yes, if you have everything planned in advance then there’s less of a chance that anything will go wrong. Once you’re gone it becomes very difficult for your family members to know exactly what you wanted, so it’s best to write everything down before you die.

How quickly can you arrange a funeral?

You can use a funeral planning guide to set everything up within a day or two.

What if family members object to my funeral wishes?

Understandably, there might be some disagreement between family members, but ultimately they will have no choice but to follow your wishes because you’ve taken care of all the arrangements and legal documentation before you die.

Do funeral homes accept pre-paid funerals?

Yes, most of them are happy to help you set up a prepaid funeral plan because it means they don’t have to deal with any legal issues. Once you’re gone, it’s very difficult for your family members to get money back from the government that would normally go towards the funeral cost.

What do I need to purchase a prepaid funeral?

You can buy a prepaid funeral plan for around $2,000 without additional fees or anything like that. You don’t even have to tell your family about it; they will be notified automatically of the details after you die.

Does Microsoft Word have a funeral program template?

Yes, you can download a funeral planning template for Microsoft Word.

What does a funeral pre planner do?

A funeral preplanning organizer is somebody who has all the necessary documentation and everything else that you need to arrange your own funeral in advance. You don’t have to worry about anything when you’re gone because somebody else will deal with it much quicker.

How far in advance should I purchase my funeral plan?

You should purchase your prepaid funeral at least 2 months before you die to ensure that everything goes smoothly and there are no mistakes or problems with the paperwork. Having all the documents signed by witnesses before you die is also important.

How do I make a funeral program in Word for free?

There’s a downloadable all-purpose funeral program template that you can use for free on Windows here. It has been designed specifically to suit all kinds of different funerals, but it requires Microsoft Word or newer versions of the software.

Does Google Docs have a funeral program template?

Yes, there’s a funeral planning template that you can download for Google Docs. It doesn’t cost anything and is very easy to use.

What is a funeral pamphlet?

A funeral pamphlet is exactly the same as a funeral program. It’s just another way of saying something that provides people with information about your life and details about your death.

What exactly is a funeral planning organizer?

You can think of it as somebody who takes care of all the arrangements for your funeral before you die, so that everything will go smoothly when the time comes.

Is pre planning your funeral a good idea?

Yes, it makes so much more sense to take care of all the necessary arrangements before you die. It saves time and money after you die and your family won’t have to deal with any unexpected financial issues when they are grieving.

How do I make a funeral program in Word?

There’s a free download for Microsoft Word that you can use here. It doesn’t cost anything and can be used for all kinds of different funerals, including open casket or closed casket services.

What does a funeral pre plan consist of?

A funeral pre-plan is basically just another name for the planning that you do before you die to take care of everything connected with your funeral.

What does a basic funeral include?

A basic funeral usually includes a viewing or visitation, a casket or urn, a burial in a cemetery, and the services of a funeral director. The rest is basically just optional extras that come with different price points.

How much does it cost to have a basic funeral?

The cost varies from state to state but you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 for a basic funeral.

How much does an advanced funeral cost?

An advanced funeral basically includes everything from the basic version but also features extra options such as viewings, limousines, and catering for family members who are helping out with the arrangements. You can expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 for an advanced funeral.


Call Now ButtonCALL NOW (888) 862-9456