Planning a funeral

If you’ve never been in the position of having to organise a funeral, it may seem daunting.

FIRST STEPS

If the person who died pre-arranged their funeral, then you should contact the company they made the arrangements with.

If they didn’t, then you can choose a funeral director from the many available. Consider asking around among family or friends for recommendations, or do your own research. Factors to consider include their qualifications and experience, what facilities they have, their fees and their ability to provide a service that matches your needs.

PLANNING THE FUNERAL

The best place to start is to think about what kind of funeral your loved one would have wanted. Did they make their wishes known before they died? If it was never mentioned, perhaps they were noted in their will?

If you have this information, then it will be simpler to know what type of arrangements to make. For many people, this will be either a religious service or a celebration of their life using the services of a celebrant.

An important decision will be whether the person who died will be buried or cremated.

Your funeral director will be able to assist you with many of the details.

Things to consider include:

  • Whether the person who died had funeral insurance (if yes, then you should contact the insurer to arrange a claim on the policy to assist in covering funeral costs)
  • Where and when the funeral will be held
  • How you will let people know about the funeral arrangements (perhaps by a notice in the paper, but also think about the people you need to phone directly – and share the responsibility for this with others if needed)
  • If there is a burial place already organised (or if not, what is to be done with the person’s remains)
  • Whether the executor and/or solicitor have been notified
  • Whether flowers are needed for the funeral
  • Whether funeral cars are needed
  • Whether donations to a charity will be requested in lieu of flowers (and if so, what charity)
  • Details of who will conduct the service
  • What music and readings will be used for the service
  • Whether there will be a memorial booklet or order of service sheet
  • Who the pallbearers will be (if applicable)
  • Whether there will be a book for guests to sign
  • Whether there will be an audio visual presentation of the person’s life
  • Whether refreshments/catering will be required, and if so, where they will be served
  • The funeral costs, and how these will be met

There may be other details to consider that are specific to the wishes of the person who has died, or your own personal circumstances.

Many resources are available online to assist in planning a funeral, but feel free to contact us if you need help.