Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

Planning a Funeral
Twelve Steps

STEP ONE - Meet with family members and discuss their wishes and preferences. Determine if the deceased left any instructions regarding their preferences. Discuss religious preferences and what finances are available.

STEP TWO - Consult with a religious leader or a funeral home if you would like help with any of the details, including location of a burial site or disposition of ashes, casket or cremation container selection, transportation, legal issues, etc. Request written information about all funeral fees prior to finalizing any plans. The funeral home staff will assist you in obtaining death certificates. Burial – Burial requires purchasing a cemetery plot, casket, grave liner or vault, and grave marker or monument. Entombment – A patient or family may choose to have the body entombed above ground in a casket placed in a tomb or mausoleum. Cremation – Cremation is a heat process that reduces the remains to ashes. The ashes can be stored in an urn and buried, placed in a niche at a cemetery, kept at home, or scattered.

STEP THREE - Choose the site where the funeral will take place. This is most often a church or temple, but it could also be a funeral home or at the graveside. (You may also decide on a more informal memorial service, to be conducted at home.)

STEP FOUR - Select someone to conduct the service. This could be a religious leader, funeral home personnel or a friend of the family. This service is all about remembering the deceased. The best way to remember the deceased is to think of him as in life. Tailor the funeral to the deceased and it will always stand out in the minds of the guests.

STEP FIVE - Appoint pallbearers if you are having a formal funeral. Pallbearers can include special friends or business associates of the deceased, though the funeral home can usually provide them if there are no preferences.

STEP SIX - Assign someone to give the eulogy. Typically, the family will choose a family member, religious leader or close friend. Contact the person who will give the eulogy as soon as possible to give him or her time to talk with the family and organize notes for the service.

STEP SEVEN - Consider including music in the service. Choose a piece with special meaning for the family, perhaps having a family friend be a vocalist or instrumentalist.

STEP EIGHT - Choose flowers for the service. What is appropriate depends on the family's wishes and the amount of money they wish to spend. Most guests at a funeral will bring flowers or have them sent unless they are instructed otherwise. If you would rather your guest donate money to a charity in lieu of flowers, you can make that request in the obituary and by word of mouth.

STEP NINE - Place an obituary in the local newspaper announcing the date, time and place of the funeral. Again, the funeral home can assist you in preparing an obituary.

STEP TEN - Consult the funeral home about having printed programs for the funeral service. Get input from the family regarding their design.

STEP ELEVEN - Buy a guest book for guests to sign as they arrive, if one is not provided.

STEP TWELVE - Coordinate all of the above with the funeral home, which will arrange to transport the coffin to the funeral, remove the coffin to the burial site, or take care of other details as requested.

Home    Featured Programs    Choose Local Area     Request Information

A JR Media Publication • www.jrmediallc.comSite Index