Coping with the loss of a loved one

Funeral Planning Checklist Some of the steps you will need to carry out after losing a loved one

Funeral Planning Checklist

A lot is going in the hours and days after losing a loved one. Apart from the time you need to be able to grieve, there is a lot of planning and work to be done, even if the loved one had done some end-of-life planning.

The following is a check list of some details that will come up and even if they have already been pre-planned, the wishes will still need to be carried out.

  1. After a death has occurred, the following are some questions that we may ask when you call:
  • What is the full name of the deceased?
  • What is the location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
  • What is your name, address and telephone number?
  • What is the name, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
  • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan? (If yes, what is the plan name or number?)

We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include:

  • Clothing for the deceased
  • Social security number of the deceased
  • The deceased’s birth date and city and state of birth
  • The deceased’s parents’ names, including mother’s maiden name
  • Information about the deceased’s education
  • Marital status of the deceased
  • Veteran’s discharge papers or Claim Number
  • A recent photograph of the deceased
  • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
  • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
  1. Contact your clergy. Decide on a time and place for the funeral or memorial service (the services may be held at the funeral home)
  2. The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you
  3. Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and notify each by phone. You may wish to use a “branching” system: make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people
  4. Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school)
  5. Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The funeral home will usually write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper(s)
  6. Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone. Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on
  7. If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death
  8. Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next several days
  9. Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help
  10. Arrange for child care, if necessary
  11. Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends
  12. Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers)
  13. Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
  14. Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be notified by letter and/or printed notice
  15. Prepare a list of people to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include “thank yous’ ” to those who have given their time, as well
  16. Notify insurance companies of the death
  17. Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
  18. Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources
  19. Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due
  20. If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mail
  21. Your Funeral Director will prepare the necessary Social Security paperwork.

At the end of the day, there may be many things to arrange and execute on but when all is said and done, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself to grieve in your own special way for the deceased