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Checklist for Pre-Planning a Funeral

Updated on July 15, 2015

The emotional, physical and financial stress that comes with planning a funeral is often hard to endure regardless of the amount of support and help one gets. The number of details, paperwork and traditions that must be followed is daunting, not to mention the pain of losing a loved one.

A funeral pre-planning checklist can help circumvent such problems and reduce the stress load as well as allow the funeral and cremation service to run smoother. While some may consider it a cold, pragmatic approach, a pre-planning checklist allows everyone to clearly express and organize any last wishes. By making the funeral proceeding run smoother and more organized, the checklist also allows the bereaved sufficient space to grieve and mourn properly.

Such a checklist can be divided into three main topics:


Gathering General Information

This step generally involves gathering as much information on the family member or friend as possible. Things like date and place of birth, achievements and favorite memories -- everything that will help portray a touching well thought-out memorial service. Other things that can be discussed at this point are preferences for the funeral proceedings like the importance of rituals and religious tones, the number of guests or the location of the burial.

Funeral Service Requirements

A good pre-planning checklist must include most services provided by a funeral home. Begin by choosing the appropriate funeral home. The next step involves choosing the exact service required from the funeral home. It can range from a traditional burial and casket combination to a cremation or a burial and vault combination.

The viewing and its location should also be arranged at this point. It can take place in a location provided by the funeral home or can be organized at the home of the deceased or at another venue. Depending on the location special permits may be required; however, the funeral director should be consulted as they have the most knowledge on the subject.

A definitive memorial program should also be decided upon. The text should be outlined, the speakers identified, as well as any music that might be played.

Invitations and All Other Participants

The final step which should be included in any pre-funeral checklist is the invitation list. Priests or other religious figures as well as pallbearers should also be decided upon at this point. Family members and friends who will speak during the service should be invited to participate. Depending on the number of participants or the religious tone of the entire proceedings, speakers may deliver the eulogy, read certain scriptures or give their own personal tribute.

How to Write A Eulogy


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for this very useful information, especially the video on how to write a eulogy. My father is nearing the end of his life, and my mother has asked that I write his eulogy. I have already put down the facts that I am familiar with, now it is a matter of talking to others to find out what they remember most about him. I appreciate the help!