Making Big Choices Regarding Funerals

5 Funeral Planning Issues You Should Know

by Andrea Rhodes

Putting together funeral services can be a very challenging process, both due to the circumstance and due to the simple fact it's a problem most folks don't deal with regularly. It's a good idea to consider these five issues before you begin making decisions.

Talk With Clergy

If the deceased had specific religious concerns about their funeral, it's a good idea to sit down with a member of the clergy. If possible, try to find a clergy member who knew them closely so you can get some personal insights and not just a rundown of religious traditions. Take the time to itemize any religious concerns for the ceremony, note what is merely ceremonial versus critical things. Put the critical items into a checklist that you will use to look for funeral services providers.

Establish a Budget

Yes, it can be difficult to strike a balance between paying respects and budgeting for a funeral. A budget, however, will help you draw a line when you're making decisions. Try to find the right balance between the things that have to be done for the funeral versus things that you'd like to see. When you end up trimming items, the "like to" list will be your starting point.

Create a Plan

Depending on the size of a funeral, it can have the potential to be a logistical nightmare. Visitors need somewhere to park, and they may even need help finding lodging if they're coming a long way. If you want to have a dinner after the funeral, that also calls for planning.

All of this needs to be planned and executed. If you're not sure you can handle it all by yourself, there are professional funeral planning services providers that can assist you. When in doubt, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Find a Friendly Adviser

When you talk with funeral services businesses, it's a good idea to have a somewhat less-involved opinion. Bring a friend, preferably someone who wasn't as close to the deceased as you were. As you discuss options, have the friend take notes. Debrief after the conversation and see what they think. This can go a long way in helping you separate your emotions about the situation from the decisions that need to be made.


Whether burial or cremation is requested, think about disposition early. You don't want to be figuring out things like getting a death certificate and finding a burial plot late in the process.