A How-to Guide for Making Funeral Arrangements

What To Do When Someone Dies

Making Funeral Arrangements

Our making funeral arrangements information includes everything you need to know if a friend or loved one has just died or if death is expected sometime soon.We’ll 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.

We’ll 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 information on our funeral planning tools, including comprehensive Funeral Planning Forms and Worksheets to help you make funeral arrangements and manage funeral costs.

  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 retailers. 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 the 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 online planning tools and forms to help with your funeral arrangements.

Tools to Help With Funeral Arrangements

You can use our Funeral Provider Search Directory to locate a funeral home, cremation service, cemetery and other providers of funeral products and services.

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 using our 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. There’s no charge and no obligation. Give it a try!

Try Our Free Quick Plan

Please enter your name and a valid email address and we'll send you an email with a link to try the Quick Plan.

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

How Much Will Your Funeral Cost? Try Our QuickPlan to Find Out.