Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough, but it’s only made more difficult by the aftermath.
Only around 20% of people tell their loved ones their preferences regarding funeral planning and other important events following their passing. With so little information to go on, knowing what to do after someone dies can seem overwhelming at first.
Even if you don’t know where to begin, following the right funeral planning tips will ease this process. By approaching things step-by-step, you can minimize the stress of figuring out what to do after a loved one dies.
Keep reading to learn nine funeral planning tips to follow after you’ve lost a loved one.
Planning for a Funeral: What to Expect
Before we go over funeral planning tips, let’s begin with a brief outline of what to expect when you’re planning for a funeral.
There are three major components of the funeral planning process:
- Preparation of the remains
- Coordination of the ceremony
- Handling of the cremation, burial, etc.
Within these components, you’ll have to make a series of decisions. For example, will it be an open or a closed casket? When and where will the ceremony be held? Who will attend?
If your loved one had a plan for their death, be sure you locate any relevant paperwork to help determine what they would have wanted. Otherwise, try to base your planning around what you believe (or know) they desired following their death.
Funeral Planning Tips
Once you’ve had some time to grieve and come to terms with a loved one’s passing, you’ll need to start thinking about planning for a funeral. This might seem like a lot at first, especially if there isn’t a solid death plan to follow.
However, by approaching it one step at a time, you can make things a lot easier. Remember to be kind to yourself and use these nine tips to get through the funeral planning process with minimal stress.
1. Get Paperwork in Order
Before you begin funeral planning, gather any relevant paperwork for carrying out the deceased’s wishes. Find their life insurance policy, will, financial documents, and information for any prepaid funeral services they may have set up.
2. Compare Funeral Homes
If your loved one did not specify where they would like their funeral to be held, shop around different funeral homes in your area. Figure out what their basic packages are and how much the services cost.
You can round up a list of price quotes by either calling funeral homes or checking them out in person. Search for the average funeral prices in your area and use this information as a basis for comparison.
3. Look at Packages
Once you’ve selected your funeral home, they will likely offer a variety of funeral packages to choose from.
Before making any decisions, one of the most important funeral planning tips is to get an itemized list of the package’s components (e.g., casket, burial, etc.). Make sure the package you’re selecting has everything you need in it (and nothing you don’t).
4. Consider Other Options for Caskets, Flowers, Etc.
While purchasing a complete package from a funeral home is certainly the easiest route, it isn’t often the most cost-effective. Even if you’re holding the funeral at a specific funeral home, you can still choose to shop elsewhere for the flowers, memorials, and even the casket.
Once you’ve seen the itemized costs of the package, compare prices elsewhere to see if you can find something you like that will cost less. For example, you might find caskets or urns online that cost significantly less than what the funeral home charges. You can also purchase funeral flower arrangements from an outside source, too.
5. Settle on a Final Arrangement
After looking at what your funeral home offers versus what else is out there, settle on a final deal with your funeral home. If you have chosen to get flowers or burial vessels elsewhere, be sure to coordinate that into your plan.
One of the most important funeral planning tips to remember is this: you don’t have to select one of the funeral home’s packages. You can opt for individual items instead, creating a custom cost-saving package that works for you.
6. Consider Casket Rental
If your funeral offers it, renting a casket can save you big. This option works for those who have planned a cremation instead of a burial, but still desire a viewing for the memorial.
7. Alert Loved Ones of the Funeral Arrangements
Once you’ve solidified when and where the funeral and burial will take place, alert your loved ones. You may wish to print an official death announcement in the newspaper. You can also use social media to let everyone know when they can come to pay their respects.
8. Create Memorials for the Ceremony
If desired, you may wish to discuss with your other family members about creating visual memorials to display at the ceremony. For example, many families like to create photo collages to put up around the wake.
If the deceased had any other significant personal memorabilia, such as awards or military achievements, you can also display these at the wake. Plan to have a table or display case ready as needed.
9. Practice Self-Care
Coping with the passing of a loved one is an extremely difficult process. Dealing with funeral planning on top of it only makes it harder.
As you navigate these steps, be sure to be kind to yourself. Try not to take on too much stress. Allow yourself breaks as needed.
It also helps to reach out to other loved ones if you have any questions, or if you just need a little extra help. If you become overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
Dealing with a Loved One’s Passing
Dealing with the passing of a loved one is one of the most painful processes that a person can encounter. Arranging for a funeral shouldn’t have to be another source of added stress. Now that you know our best funeral planning tips, you’ll be prepared to get through this difficult time.
For more topics, see our other articles.