A How-to Guide for Funeral Arrangements

Husband and wife arranging a funeral

What To Do When Someone Dies

Here you can learn what to do if a friend or loved one has just died or if death is expected sometime soon. The following guides will take you through the steps of arranging a funeral from making the first call when someone dies to the various matters to be handled following the funeral.

Also, you’ll find free Funeral Planning Tools and Funeral Planning Forms and Worksheets to help you make the funeral arrangements and manage the funeral cost.

  1. First Call

    The deceased is still at the place of death and a “first call” needs to be made to arrange for transportation of the deceased to a funeral home or other funeral service facility. See First Call.

  2. Deceased Transportation

    The First Call results in an initial transfer of the deceased from the place of death to a funeral home or other facility. In some cases, a second transfer may be required either — locally to another funeral home — or to another city for ceremonies and burial. See Deceased Transportation.

  3. Funeral Services

    Planning a funeral involves making many decisions concerning funeral ceremonies, funeral products and final disposition of the body. For assistance in arranging funerals people usually turn to funeral directors. See Funeral Services.

  4. Cemetery Arrangements

    If cemetery property has not already been purchased, it will be necessary to meet with a cemetery representative to purchase a burial or entombment space. In some cases, the funeral director can make these arrangements on behalf of a family. See Cemetery Arrangements.

  5. Funeral and Memorial Products

    There are various options for purchasing caskets, grave markers, and other funeral merchandise. These products are available through a funeral home, cemetery, monument company, or other retailer. See Funeral and Memorial Products.

  6. Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters

    Following the funeral, the affairs of the deceased must be put in order. These matters range from sending death notices to filing death benefit claims to changing title of the deceased’s assets. See Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters.

Making Funeral Arrangements when Death is Imminent

If a friend or loved one is seriously ill and expected to die in a matter of days or weeks, you may want to make funeral arrangements in advance. Preparing in advance puts you in control. It will make your meeting with a funeral director more productive and likely save you money. We offer the following free online planning tools and forms to help with your funeral arrangements.

Free Tools to Help With Funeral Arrangements

You can use our Find A Funeral Home / Cemetery to locate a funeral home and cemetery.

When you make arrangements with the funeral home and cemetery, you’ll be making various choices and selections. To prepare yourself for this process, we suggest that you use our Online Funeral Planner to prepare a funeral plan and find out the funeral cost. It’s Free and Easy-to-Use.

If you prefer working on paper, print our Funeral Arrangement Questionnaire to help you compile all of the information you need to provide to your funeral director.

See related topics:

Funeral Planning Guides
Planning a Funeral Ahead of Time
Controlling Funeral Costs
Creating Funeral Ceremonies
Funeral Planning Forms