The Steps in Planning a Funeral

Hispanic couple

Making Funeral Arrangements When a Loved One Has Died

Before proceeding, be sure to determine if the deceased set forth specific instructions in a pre-arranged funeral plan.

For information on making funeral plans in advance (see Planning Ahead). A “pre-need” funeral plan will be your guide through the funeral arrangement process.

5 Steps of Arranging a Funeral

In most cases, arranging a funeral involves the following steps and choices:

  1. First Calls. Make the "first calls" to notify the appropriate parties and have the deceased removed from the place of death. See First Calls for details. It may be necessary to arrange transportation between cities. Click here for details.
  2. Funeral Arrangements. Meet with a funeral director to make arrangements for the funeral services, including ceremonies and care of the deceased. See Funeral Arrangements for details.
  3. Funeral Products. Select and purchase the necessary funeral products (e.g., casket, burial vault, cremation urn, etc.) and memorial items (e.g., grave marker, online memorial). See Funeral Products for details.
  4. Cemetery Arrangements. Meet with representatives of the selected cemetery to purchase cemetery property (e.g., grave space, crypt, niche for an urn, etc.) and arrange cemetery services. See Cemetery Arrangements for details.
  5. Financial, Estate and Other Matters. Pay for the funeral services and merchandise — see Funeral Costs. After the funeral, handle all estate, financial, and administrative matters of the deceased. For details, see Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters, Claiming Death Benefits, and Obtaining Death Certificates.

See related topics:

Who to Call When Someone Dies
Deceased Transportation
Funeral Arrangements
Selecting Funeral Products
Cemetery Arrangements
Third Party Services
Paying Funeral Costs
Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters
Claiming Death Benefits
Obtaining Death Certificates

Go to Funeral Guide — Index of Topics.