10 Things You Should Know for Planning a Funeral

Written by Ross Quade

Helping to plan for your loved one’s funeral service can be a very stressful and complicated situation.  It can take an emotional toll on you and your entire family. Fortunately, many things can be planned beforehand. By completing certain activities ahead of time, this can help reduce the amount of burden left on the caregiver and surviving family members. These 10 tips can help you prepare and plan for your deceased loved one’s funeral arrangements to ensure that all of his or her wishes are met.

1.   Always Make Knowledgeable Determinations

Making logical decisions is not always easy when planning a loved one’s funeral. Depending on the situation, you may have a limited amount of time to plan for different activities; therefore, the smallest details can make people feel overwhelmed. These types of determinations have to be made even if your family is grieving or unprepared to do so. If your loved one has not taken the proper steps to plan for their funeral arrangements before they passed or they did not make their wishes known, ask others that knew him well what their suggestions may be or if they know what the person’s wishes were.

2.   Try to Make Practical Decision Ahead of Time

Making practical decisions ahead of time can help you plan for your loved one’s funeral service. Decide who will be the primary decision maker during the entire process. Some decisions that can be made in advance are finding a good funeral home, determining the type of service he or she wants, transportation services for the funeral and burial, who will find items needed for the funeral, and the procedure for viewing of the body and visitation. After your loved one has passed, you will need to track down his/her personal information early in the process. This will come in handy when you are settling the estate, filling out paperwork, and making final funeral arrangements.

3.   Make Sure You Know All of Your Options

Make sure you understand all of your options. Any choices that you make for your deceased loved one should reflect what he or she wanted. Be sure to ask questions, you want to have the opportunity to become familiar with all of your choices throughout this difficult situation. You have so many tough decision to make and things to think about. Try to choose what services are meaningful to your deceased loved one and family members, as this will make the funeral a personal and unique experience for everyone.

4.   Find Required Documentation and Complete Paperwork

It is important to find your loved one’s documentation that pertain to his/her death. It will consist of information he or she drafted before dying. This paperwork includes his or her last will or testament, deposition plan, final wishes, and organ or body donation registration. If you cannot find this paperwork, try asking other family members or close friends, check safety deposit boxes, and search drawers inside his or her home. After locating these important documents, store them in a safe place for later use. Other paperwork that should be completed includes the death certificate, deposition permit, and burial transit permit.

5.   Consider the Wishes of Other Family Members

If your loved one had a will or testament try to follow his or her instructions about financial affairs, valuables, funeral services and cremation arrangements. Furthermore, talk with other family members and incorporate their wishes as well. Your loved one’s funeral service is a vital component of the grieving process. It will give everyone an opportunity to express themselves, share memories with one another, and celebrate the life of the deceased. By including other family members, they can discuss and make rational decisions collectively. During a time of sadness and loss, the entire family will need each other.

6.   Ask About Pricing Information

The price of a funeral service can vary from location to the next. Make sure you select a funeral home that provides clear and accurate information. Looking at pricing information in advance will allow you time to evaluate all of your options without any pressure. Try to stay in control during the entire situation because paying for these types of arrangements can become very overwhelming. Always select the most appropriate and affordable alternatives. Remain within your limits and do not go overboard. If you spend too much money, this can create a financial burden. You should make decisions that you are financially comfortable with, while eliminating any future economic stress or difficulties.

7.   Find Out What Insurance Benefits Are Available

Sometimes when people pass away, the surviving family members or the caregiver are unaware of their loved one’s insurance policies and benefits. If you have knowledge about this information, it can help you pay for the funeral arrangements. Life insurance generally offers a one-time lump sum payment to those who are deceased. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that this money will be enough to pay for everything. It is important for you to comprehend that life insurance policies are safeguarded from inflation. Hence, the prices of products and service will continue to increase as time goes on. The amount of your loved one’s insurance policy will stay the same. Often, this leaves a gap in costs where the surviving family members will need to find additional money to pay for funeral expenses.

8.   Additional Money May Be Required to Pay for Funeral Expenses

If additional money is needed to pay for your loved one’s funeral expenses, then everyone in the family will have to pitch in and help. This is why it is important to incorporate the entire family in the planning process. Often, people realize they cannot afford to pay for these arrangements by themselves. Social security benefits may not be enough to cover their funeral arrangements when they die. Contact your local government or veteran affairs to see if your deceased family member was eligible for supplemental benefits to help you cover any outstanding funeral costs. Your local funeral hall may be able to help you apply for governmental benefits for your loved one’s services as well.

9.   Talk with Your Local Memorial Service Provider

Remember that planning and arranging your loved one’s funeral can be a hard thing to do. It is also a complicated and perplexing process. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Funeral counselors are there to help you make vital decisions and are an excellent resource for you and your whole family. They can explain to you all of your options and help you make rational determinations. These advisors can guide you throughout the entire process to make things easier.

10.  Take Care of Yourself

Even though there are many things that need to be completed throughout the entire process, remember to take care of yourself. You will have to deal with things that are mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially draining. If you were a caregiver for your loved one, you may feel burned out. It is important that you talk with other family members and grieve together as one unit. Keeping the lines of communication open is a good way to help you heal while grieving.

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Ross Quade
Ross Quade has been a licensed insurance agent since 2008. State of Texas license #1702965. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Minnesota and minored in Applied Economics. He has been quoted in several online publications including Huffington Post, Young Startups and various financial blogs. Ross frequently writes about issues related to the insurance and finance industry.
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