Arranging a Funeral

A Step-By-Step Guide

Sound decisions are based on good information. We sincerely hope the information on this website will answer many questions, stimulate you to ask others and enable you to make wise choices regarding funeral services. Below, you can find a basic outline of what typically is involved in arranging a funeral service.

Before Death Occurs

You may wish to pre-plan funeral services for the benefit of yourself or your family. Click here for more information on pre-arranging your choices.

When Death Occurs, Work With a Funeral Director

Call your funeral director immediately. Regardless of the day or time, funeral directors always are prepared to respond to your needs quickly and competently, and to guide you through the array of choices that need to be made. Your funeral director is one of your most important contacts during this process, so feel free to ask any questions or make special requests that will add meaning to the funeral service. To help you find a qualified funeral director, you may wish to use our Member Search.

No matter what your funeral preferences, your funeral director can help you with every aspect of the funeral process. Among other things, your funeral director can:

  • Arrange the funeral plans
  • Help notify friends and family
  • Secure necessary permits and death certificates
  • Take care of the body
  • Coordinate all details with the clergy
  • Help in the arranging for burial or cremation
  • Notify your attorney if you need legal help
  • Help secure any benefits to which you may be entitled
  • Follow up after the funeral, providing both practical help in adjusting to your loss

Contact Others For Help

If possible, try to involve other family members or very close friends in your planning. Working together can sometimes decrease stress and further enable the healing process. Many of the decisions listed below can be best made by several people, with consideration of the deceased's wishes.

Inform Family and Friends

You may provide a list of friends, family and associates you would like the funeral director to contact to inform them of the death and the arrangements. It also is acceptable for you to ask friends, family and associates to contact others to inform them of the death and funeral plans.

The Ceremony

A funeral represents an opportunity to reflect on the life of a loved one, and to honor the memory of that life for family and friends. Visit our Understanding Your Ceremony Options page for more information.

Final Disposition

You choices for disposition include burial, interment, scattering of cremated remains and other forms of placement. Visit our Understanding Your Disposition Options page for more information.

Reading of the Will

Following the funeral, family members or legal executor will meet with the deceased's attorney or with the funeral director for the reading of the will. It is usual for the executor of the will to schedule the reading and to invite the participants.