Estate and Funeral PlanningEven when you are prepared for someone to die, you are never quite prepared for death. Mourning the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but it can be even more difficult if you also must plan the funeral. If you've never planned a funeral before, it can be hard to figure out where to begin. Use these guidelines to help you plan the services for your loved one.

Make the First Call

When someone passes away, the first call involves getting in touch with a funeral director who will then move the body to the proper facility. If you do not already have a funeral director picked out for your family, you can find one through local funeral homes or other funeral-related organizations. Always contact your first choice first, because changing funeral directors through the process will involve additional transportation of the body.

Take a Deep Breath

Now that you've arranged for transportation of the body, try to take a few deep breaths and slow down. Even if you are a part of a religion that requires fast burial, you should still take at least a few minutes to center yourself. If you have someone you can lean on, ask him or her to help you make funeral arrangements so you are not going through the process alone.

Make Some Key Decisions

A funeral home is a business and earns money by upselling you. By making some key decisions before you start planning the service, you will be more likely to stick to your budget and not make purchases based on your emotions. Decide on a budget and consider whether the deceased would have preferred cremation or burial. Do you want an elaborate memorial service in a church or funeral home or will you be holding a basic graveside service? Think about the casket and flower arrangements you want, if any, as well as several other considerations.

  • Poems, songs or prayers to read
  • Charities to donate to if you do not want flowers
  • Who you would like to have speak at the service
  • What you would like the funeral program to say

Let People Know

You will want to call close friends and family members. If anybody who wants to attend the funeral lives out of town, you may consider delaying the services by a couple of days so people will have time to travel and attend them. Once you have made the necessary calls, post an obituary online and in the newspaper. Be sure to list the date, time, and location of the funeral services as well as where to send flowers or, if not flowers, donations.

Attend the Funeral

On the day of the funeral, try to have someone with you who can attend to any small tasks or questions the funeral home has. This leaves you free to greet people and mourn. Don't forget to have a ride ready for yourself, as you may be too distraught to drive alone after the services.

Take Care of the Estate

If taking care of the deceased's estate is one of your duties, do so after the funeral. You should talk to the estate attorney the deceased was working with. You will need to transfer titles and contact people who are a part of the will. You may also need to send death notices to creditors. Estate services generally take from a few weeks to a few years, depending on how wealthy the deceased was and whether anyone challenges the will. With any luck, things will go smoothly so you can move on.

Never feel you have to go through the grieving process and the process of planning a funeral alone. If you do not have a close family member or friend to be there with you during the process, ensure you talk to a family pastor, a grief counselor or even the funeral director about how you are feeling. Bottling it up will only make you feel worse.

Category: Funeral

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