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Guide to Planning a Funeral

When someone you love dies, the last thing you want to think about is planning their funeral. Unfortunately, most of us will have to carry out that difficult emotional and financial task at least once in our lives. While funeral planning can be tinged by deep sadness and sorrow, there are ways to make finalizing the arrangements just that little bit easier.

Remember that it’s important to take the wishes of the deceased into account, as well as the wishes of their surviving family. However, all too often family squabbles erupt over something that should be relatively straightforward. Avoid bickering by getting everyone together to discuss the planning as much as possible, and by talking in depth about religious preferences, if any, and monetary restrictions (if any!).

While it may not be possible to put the “fun” in funeral, hopefully this guide can help make planning that final send-off as trauma-free as possible – for you and all the friends and family involved.

Basic First Steps

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When someone passes on, the obvious first step is to consult their will. Did they leave specific arrangements about their funeral, did they specify whether they wanted to be buried or cremated, did they leave instructions concerning the type of eulogy they wanted read out in front of friends, family and colleagues? Unfortunately, most people don’t leave a detailed list, so much of the work ahead will be up to you.

Once you have checked your loved one’s will, it’s up to you to inform the loved one’s associates of their demise (this is something they cannot do for themselves, no matter how much they’ve planned in advance!). You will also to contact their insurance company, doctor, cemetery or crematorium, and any other organizations of which they were a member. You may also have to take emergency steps to take care of pets, water plants etc.

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