Burial Insurance Topics
Funeral Check List
Funeral Check List – Everything You Need To Remember When Planning a Funeral
Planning a funeral can be a very stressful and emotional time, and you could find yourself with lots of things to remember at the time when you really feel like you can’t cope. The loss of a loved one is never easy, even if they have suffered a long illness, and planning the funeral will probably be one of the last things on your mind.
However, it must be done. These days many people choose to pre-plan their funerals so this really does take a lot of the financial and emotional burden away from those who are left behind, especially as there is often uncertainty as to the type of funeral the deceased would have wanted.
Funeral Checklist – What To Do First
At times like this, it’s a good idea to have a checklist of things to do, you might actually be surprised at how many things there are to remember when planning for a funeral.
- Notify the Authorities – unless the death occurs in a hospital or a nursing home, it is very likely to be your responsibility to notify the appropriate authorities, simply call 911 or your local emergency number. The authorities should then call the coroner. It is very important that the coroner is informed, especially if there are any insurance policies.
- Notify Relatives and Friends – nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, but you do need to inform the rest of the family and friends what’s happened. It is the responsibility of the police to notify the next of kin, but there will probably be lots of other people who need to know too. Don’t forget close friends as well as family.
- Contact a Funeral Home – you may have already decided on which funeral home to use, maybe one which has been recommended or has been used for other members of the family, if not then you do need to make the decision now.
- Who Will Pay – if the funeral arrangements haven’t been pre-planned and there is no insurance policy, then you will need to decide who will be responsible for paying for the funeral arrangements. Very often the executor of the estate will deal with this, but it really is up to the close family to decide amongst themselves.
- Close family – will need to organize a time to meet up with the funeral director to discuss the finer details of the funeral, if necessary.
- Collect Necessary Information – there is specific information which you will need in order to complete the death certificate. This includes: parents names (including initials of middle names), date of birth of deceased, social security number, place of work and occupation.
Funeral Checklist – At The Funeral Home
The funeral director will be able to help and guide you through the planning procedure if this hasn’t been done already. These are the sorts of things you will need to do:
- Embalming – you will need to consider whether embalming is necessary or not! This depends upon the type of funeral it will be. Embalming is not required by law for cremations, for example, as long as you don’t want to have any viewings of the body beforehand. If the body is not embalmed it will need to be either cremated or buried very quickly.
- Clothing – this is again not necessary for cremations, but if you want to have visitations of the body then you need to decide on the clothing. This may be a favorite outfit of the deceased (the Mother of a friend of mind was buried in her red fleecy pajamas!) or alternatively, the funeral director will help you to choose some suitable funeral clothes.
- Jewelry – it is also nice for people to be buried with special jewelry or a watch, for example. Think about what was precious to the deceased and whether they might like to be buried with it. Again, this is not necessary for cremations.
- Burial vs Cremation – if this hasn’t already been discussed, now is the time to decide on whether to bury or cremate the remains. If there is to be a burial you will need to think about a burial plot. If you have already purchased a burial plot then you should take the deeds with you to the funeral director, if you have a plot but not the deeds then inform the funeral director who will contact the cemetery for you. If you don’t own a burial plot then you will need to purchase one, and your funeral director will help you to do this.
- Vault – the funeral director will explain the different types of vault which are available.
- Choose a Casket or Urn – the casket is one of the single most expensive items involved in the whole funeral procedure, but prices do vary. Hardwood caskets like Mahogany can be quite expensive, although cheaper soft wood options are available. Of course, for cremations you only need a simple cardboard container, although you might like to rent a casket for the service. Note – you do not have to buy your casket from the funeral director. You can actually buy one from another source and have it delivered to the funeral home, and the funeral director cannot refuse to allow you to do that or charge you extra for handling it, so if you have the time to shop around (probably only when you are pre-planning a funeral, realistically) then you might be able to save some money or find something which you prefer.
- Open or Closed Casket – you need to decide whether the casket will be open or closed. Some clergy insist that the casket is closed before the memorial service, so if you want it open you’d better specify and see whether it will be possible.
- Calling Hours – you need to be sure of the calling hours when friends and relatives can visit the deceased at the funeral home. Make sure that the times are convenient for people who work day or evening shifts if possible.
Funeral Checklist – The Service
The next thing you need to think about is the actual service itself.
- Where – at the funeral home, in a Church/Mosque/Temple or other religious building, at the graveside?
- When – before or after the burial or cremation. Sometimes in the case of a direct cremation, the memorial service is held sometime after it has taken place, maybe at a scattering of ashes. There is no need to have the actual casket present in order to remember and celebrate someones’ life.
- Notice – you need to think about placing an obituary notice for the deceased, publishing details of the funeral service so that people who knew them have the opportunity of paying their last respects if they wish to. You need to compose your obituary notice, and then decide which publications would be the best place for it.
- Flowers and Tributes – you will have to decide on what type of floral tribute the family will send, and also inform the rest of the well-wishers of any special requests. Some families prefer to have charity donations made in the name of the deceased rather than floral tributes, for example.
- Eulogy – decide who will deliver the eulogy whether it be clergy, a member of the family or maybe a friend. You may need to provide personal information about the deceased in order for a really good eulogy. Members of their family, hobbies and interests, personal achievements, career, nickname etc.
- Music – many people have favorite songs which are appropriate to be played at their funerals. Think about any special songs which the deceased would have liked, or anything which would particularly remind the rest of the family and friends of the deceased.
- Pall Bearers – can be members of the family, (you’ll need around 4 to 6 men) or alternatively, you could leave this arrangement to the funeral home.
- Transportation – you need to think about how the casket will be transported to the cemetery etc, and also whether you want a limousine to transport any of the mourners.
Funeral Checklist – After The Service
- Wake – it is customary to have some sort of gathering after a funeral service to celebrate the life of the deceased. You need to decide where and when this is to be held. It may be that you want to hold the wake at home using outside caterers, you might find that arranging the catering yourself keeps you even more occupied during those emotional “limbo” days between the death and the funeral, or you may prefer to organize for it to be held at a restaurant or club. Either way, you will need to have a pretty good idea of the numbers who will be attending.
- Accommodation – bear in mind that there may be relatives and friends who travel from out of town to attend the funeral, and you might need to help them with their accommodation plans. There may be airport pick-ups to organize too.
Funeral Checklist – The Party’s Over
Unfortunately, even after the funeral has been and gone there are still some things which you may find you need to do. Check this part of the list and make sure that nothing has been forgotten:
- Death Certificate – it’s a good idea to get quite a few copies of this from your funeral director, 10 or even 15 as you might be surprised at the number of places they’ll need to see one.
- Social Security Office – will need to be contacted, particularly if the deceased was receiving Social Security Benefits. Any over payments made at this time will result in lots of problems later. If, however, you are the surviving spouse of the deceased, find out how this will affect your own Social Security Benefits.
- Health Insurance Company – if applicable, will need to know that the deceased has passed away and coverage is no longer required.
- Life Insurance Company – you will need to contact the Insurance Company about all Life Insurance Policies. They’ll need to see a copy of the death certificate and the policy number, you’ll also need to fill out a claim form. Also, remember to remove the deceased names from any other policy on which they are a named beneficiary.
- Work Place – if the deceased was in employment you’ll need to contact the employer, ask them about information on pension plans, union death benefits and credit unions. Every one of these claims will also need a copy of the death certificate.
- Credit Cards – of the deceased should be returned with a copy of the death certificate, or alternatively, if you want to keep use of the card then you need to inform the credit card company of the change in circumstances.
- Accounts and Taxes – visit a tax advisor or accountant for help with filling out a tax return for the deceased in the year of the death. Keep a record of bank statements etc, on both the accounts held by the deceased and any joint accounts which were shared.
- Bank Accounts – arrange for any joint bank accounts to be amended to your name only. You may need to check with the Trust Department if the estate of the deceased is held in trust.
- Stocks and Bonds – should be changed in name, if applicable. Speak to your broker.
- Pay Bills – don’t forget to keep up the payments on important bills, mortgages, loans etc.
Funeral Checklist – Stuff You Might Need
- Death Certificate – as I already said, get around 10 or 15 copies to be on the safe side.
- Social Security Card
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Birth Certificate for each child (if appropriate)
- Deeds or Titles to any Property
- Insurance Policies
- Bank Books
- Stock Certificates (if applicable)
- Recent Income Tax and W-2 forms
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