Notify close relatives and friends
First, call those who will take part in planning the funeral so you can set up a time to meet with the funeral director. Also, be sure to contact those who will need to travel to attend the services.
Contact the funeral director. He or she will be able to walk you through much of the planning.
Gather your paperwork for the death certificate
This includes Social Security number, parents’ names and other personal information. Your funeral director can assist with this.
Consider burial and cremation options
If you opt for burial, keep in mind that some funeral homes require bodies to be embalmed if being displayed. In addition, you must embalm a body if it is crossing state lines. You’ll need to select clothing and jewelry for the deceased and remember to include any special items they requested to be buried with, such as union membership pins or wedding rings. Choose a vault and casket, a grave marker and a burial site. If cremating the deceased, choose a container for the remains.
Schedule the services
Many schedule visitation at the funeral home before the service. Or you may wish to hold the service at the deceased’s church, temple or mosque. Many also have graveside services. If the deceased was a member of the military or a fraternal order, check with the local branch for special ceremonies those groups provide.
Choose music for the service
. The funeral home will probably have soothing instrumentals to play if you wish. Otherwise, you may want to put together some favorite songs of the deceased.
Consider putting together a memorial
Many families set up photo boards or other tributes to the deceased so that loved ones may celebrate that person’s life.
Write the obituary
The newspaper or other publication in which you place the obituary may have guidelines about what information to include. You may also wish to write a full biography to give to friends and family members; some do this in the form of a laminated bookmark. Some use Facebook to remember a loved one. Be sure to include in the obituary where friends can send flowers or give details on how to make a memorial donation.
Your funeral director will be able to guide you through this process; much will depend on what type of service you choose.
Schedule post-funeral activities
Many families hold a luncheon after a funeral or schedule a time to get together to celebrate the life of the deceased.