Funeral Planning: Your Complete Resource
We have everything you’ll need to do your funeral planning including expert advice, free guides, forms and advanced planning tools that are convenient and easy-to-use.
Here you’ll find:
- Detailed funeral planning steps and advice
- Time-saving funeral planning tools and funeral planning forms
- The advantages of preplanning a funeral
- The pros/cons of prepaid funeral plans
- Tips on managing funeral costs
- Advice on how to plan meaningful funeral ceremonies.
Important: Do You Need to Make Funeral Arrangements Now? If you need to make arrangements for someone who has recently died or for whom death is imminent, visit our funeral arrangements page for step-by-step guidance.
Video: See the Quick Way to Start Your Funeral Planning
Funeral Planning: Step-By-Step
- Plan ahead. Planning ahead is the best thing you can do. Your plan doesn’t need to be complicated. Even a simple plan will be helpful to your family. Start with the basics: Interment choices (i.e., burial, cremation, donation to medical science, burial at sea); and funeral service choices (i.e., a traditional funeral, memorial service, graveside service, no service).
- Estimate the cost of your funeral. Change your choices, if necessary, to reduce the expected cost.
- Share your funeral plan with your family so they know your wishes. Pick a trusted family member, friend or advisor to be primarily responsible for carrying out your wishes. Start with your basic plan and then keep them updated as you add details over time.
- Specify the details of your funeral ceremonies. This is optional if you prefer not to go into the details. But keep in mind that it will be very helpful to those who will be making the final arrangements for your funeral. A Celebrant can help you plan the funeral ceremonies.
- Make financial arrangements to pay for your funeral. Figure out if you will leave behind enough money to cover the funeral cost and other final expenses. Consider funeral insurance, trusting, pre-purchasing cemetery space, and a pre-need contract for funeral services.
- Organize and document your key personal information. This will be essential for wrapping up your affairs and will be helpful to those who will be delivering eulogies and writing your obituary. Also, think about what you might want to leave behind for genealogy purposes. Future generations in your family will appreciate all of this information.
Funeral Planning with the Wise Planning System
Our Wise Planning System is a comprehensive do-it-yourself methodology that helps you plan your funeral the right way–YOUR WAY. Consisting of a set of easy-to-use online tools, the system organizes the planning process and guides you along the way. It’s a proven method that puts you in control of your funeral plans and allows you to easily create, maintain and share your funeral plans.
To learn more, see our Wise Planning System Comparison Chart.
The Quick Plan is the first step in the Wise Planning System and is a great way to jump-start your funeral planning. Once you have created a Quick Plan, be sure to save it. Once you do, you’ll be able to add additional details. The planning tool will also show you how much adding features and products adds to the cost of the funeral.Start My Quick Plan
Prefer to work on paper? For those who prefer to put their funeral plans on paper, our Funeral Planning Form is the perfect place to start. This handy funeral planning checklist will help you compile all the information you need in one convenient location.
Funeral Planning Tips and Advice
- When to Plan Ahead: The best time to plan ahead for a funeral is any time except at the time of the funeral. After all, you wouldn’t try to plan a wedding in just a few days. A funeral is the ultimate celebration of your life. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to decide what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. Best of all, you aren’t locked in. If you change your mind, just update your plan. Check out our article on Funeral Preplanning to learn more about how to get started.
- Funding Pre-planned Funerals: Deciding whether or not to fund your pre-planned funeral in advance can be confusing. There are a lot of good reasons to consider pre-funding your funeral, and you’ll rest easy knowing the money is there when it’s needed. Even better, the burden will be taken off those you leave behind, and you can lock in prices.
- Changing Funeral Contracts: Be sure to carefully check ALL the terms of your pre-need funeral contract before you sign it. Some contracts allow for changes down the road while others do not.
- Prepaying Considerations: Like just about everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to prepaying for funeral goods and services. Whether or not it’s right for you will depend on your circumstances. You want to be certain that the arrangement you enter into will suit your needs down the road. Carefully read overall terms and conditions, including the fine print.
- For detailed planning of a funeral or memorial service, you’ll find excellent advice in Funeral Ceremonies, and tips for writing Eulogies and Obituaries.
- Green Pre-Planning: Green burial is a relatively new option but it is becoming increasingly more popular. Pre-planning is the perfect time to investigate your options. Visit our Green Pre-Planning and Green burial sections so that you can be sure to explore all the options available to you.
- Your Family and Grief. Your funeral isn’t just about you. It is vitally important for your family. They will want to give you a meaningful tribute. A funeral for a loved one is an important part of the healing process. It’s a time for your family to remember, say goodbye, and start a new stage of life.
How To Pay Funeral Costs
There are many elements that go into the cost of a funeral. From the services provided by the funeral director to the casket to the flowers, costs continue to rise. Today, a traditional funeral can easily cost more than $10,000. Leaving behind no mechanism to pay for these items can place a heavy financial burden on your loved ones. Remember, payment is due at the time of the funeral.
So how do you know how much to set aside and how to control the cost? The best way to manage your funeral costs is to do some advanced planning. Our Wise Planning System can provide you with instant cost estimates and guide you step-by-step through the process of making cost-effective selections.
Our section on Funeral Costs will help you understand just what goes into the cost of a funeral and some of the financial and legal issues you need to consider.
The Types of Funerals People are Choosing
Thousands of people have used our free online planning tools where we guide you step-by-step in making a few key choices about the kind of funeral you want as well as what that type of funeral usually costs. Below is a sample of the funeral plans people are making so you can see you have lots of options to choose from.