Planning a funeral service

Some pointers to help you plan a funeral service and prepare a checklist.

Understanding funeral costs

The first thought that might come to mind when you think about how to plan the funeral of someone you were close to, is how much all of this is going to cost. In a time of bereavement, the last thing you need is to be worrying about is expenses on top of the already considerable stress of having to deal with the loss of a loved one.

Unfortunately, a funeral can be an expensive undertaking, ranging from anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000, or even higher. From flowers and the coffin through to the headstone and the transportation costs, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of and paid for.

The typical items to budget for when arranging a funeral may include:

  • Funeral director fees
  • Flowers
  • Transport
  • Coffin
  • Death certificate
  • Permits
  • Burial / cremation
  • Cemetery plot
  • Additional expenses, such as a celebrant or clergy, and the wake.

For this reason, it is always advisable to know if the deceased had taken out Life Insurance with specific benefits and features designed to allocate funds for funeral cover.

How long does it take to organise a funeral?

It all depends on how much help you receive from friends and family, and also on the state of your mental wellbeing after the loss.

With sound assistance in place, the preparation for the funeral can be done relatively quickly, but it can be an overwhelming task to deal with at such a difficult time.

How to plan a funeral

The actions below are designed to support you when organising a funeral service.

  • Book a funeral director
  • Decide on a burial and cremation service
  • Confirm a location for the service, and burial site or crematorium
  • Write an obituary
  • Arrange transportation for people attending the service
  • Send out invitations to attendees
  • Choose a coffin/casket/urn
  • Arrange for flowers to be delivered
  • Pick a photograph to be shown at the funeral
  • Choose hymns & music

Method of Internment

If this information was not relayed prior to the loved one passing away, you should think about what their preference would have been. You need to consider whether or not the deceased wished for any organs to be donated for transplant or scientific studies, and also whether the deceased would have preferred a burial or cremation.

Type of Service

It is worth considering the mood of the service that is preferred. For some people, the passing of a loved one can come as an unexpected tragedy and the only way to deal with this is for the funeral to reflect the very somber mood that you are experiencing. On other occasions, however, you may feel as though the funeral should be a more positive celebration of life. This kind of decision is a purely personal one, although you could also take into consideration the feelings of other family members and close friends.

Order of Service

There are many things to consider when it comes to the actual day of the funeral. You may need to consider the eulogy, the choice of songs and hymn, the transportation, the wake. Aside from your general funeral planning checklist, it could also be a good idea to break down the order of the service into a separate list of its own.

The items included above are by no means an exhaustive guide on how to manage proceedings on this important day, but they definitely come in handy as a starting point from which you can take inspiration from.

Expressed Wishes

If the deceased left specific requests in relation to how they wanted their funeral to be arranged, you may wish to comply with these wishes whenever possible. Information such as this will often have been left in a Will or in a specially prepared document that the person who has passed left in a safe place to be found in the event of their death.

Time and Date

The speed at which you prepare the funeral is really a personal choice to some extent. If the grieving process doesn’t allow you to concentrate on the practicalities of putting all of the arrangements in place, it is perfectly fine to wait a little before planning a funeral service.

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