How to Prepare for a Funeral

Bouquet of chrysanthemums

Dealing with a loss of a loved one is hard, especially when you have the responsibility of planning a funeral. Funerals can be a lot of work to plan and can be stressful for you and your family, emotionally, financially and logistically. Here are some suggestions for making the planning a little easier during a difficult time.

Make a Funeral Checklist

To help guide the process, come up with a preliminary list of what you would like to include in the funeral, who should help have a say in what happens and who will help pay for services. Some items you need to consider are: where the funeral should be held, the size of the funeral, whether a reception should be included, who should officiate the service and if a viewing should be included. It’s important to make sure the funeral includes special moments that celebrate your loved one’s life, but also allows family and friends to grieve. You can find a variety of checklists at a funeral home that can help you with your to-do list.

Determine a Funeral Budget

Funerals are expensive and can easily cost $10,000 or more. It’s important to create a budget and figure out exactly how much can be spent on the funeral itself. The casket is typically the most expensive part, costing over $2,000 and as much as $10,000. If you are going to cremate your loved one you can rent a casket. Cremation costs typically range between $2,000 and $4,000. Some other costs to consider include:

  • Funeral Directors and Costs
  • Official
  • Flowers
  • Music
  • Transport Arrangements
  • After Service Room and Catering
  • Burial Costs
  • Thank You Cards

Make sure you talk to your family and friends about the financial needs. They may be willing to pay for a certain part of the funeral or split the entire cost of the services. Including any willing participants on the budgeting process is a good idea to help ease some of the stress and burden you may feel.

File a Claim with the Life Insurance Company

If you are the beneficiary of your loved one’s life insurance policy, it may help you pay for some or even most of the funeral costs. Discuss the funeral plans with whoever is in charge (if it isn’t you) so you know the details, then contact the insurance company to file a claim. If the process is slow, you may have to borrow money for the funeral and recover the costs later once you receive the insurance money. Groups such as the United States Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs or a local funeral society may assist with the funeral.


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