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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tools to Help With Funeral Arrangements
You can use our Funeral Home / Cemetery Search Directory to locate a funeral home and cemetery.
Our Wise Planning System can help you be prepared for an arrangement conference with your funeral director. You’ll be guided step-by-step through the planning process with our easy-to-use planning tools. Simply print out your plan and take it to your meeting with the funeral director.
The Quick Plan is the first step in the Wise Planning System. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have created a basic funeral plan and will find out your estimated funeral cost. It’s do-it-yourself planning and there’s no obligation. Give it a try!
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.