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Coakley Financial Group Blog - How to Plan for a Funeral

Posted by on in Funneral Planning
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Welcome to The Coakley Financial Group Blog. This month we are taking a look at Funeral Planning. Planning for a Funeral can be a very cumbersome task.


Many thoughts come in to play when preparing for a loved one's passing. Of the many discussion points you will no doubt be confronted with, we've prepared some points to consider.

Funeral Planning, as with any other arduous task in life, requires understanding the starting point and the finish line.  In fact, it can become fairly simple if you know where to begin.

Your loved one's personal information is the starting point.

Compile your loved one’s correct full name, social security number, religion, residence, ethnicity, including birth, and death information. Being able to access this information will be not only be useful as you plan your service, but will also speed up the paperwork process, the eulogy preparation, the obituary composition. In addition, you may also want to establish other personal particulars about your loved one's, including family member information, employment information, education, military record if applicable , and notable accomplishments, as these tidbits will be help you round out the funeral planning process.

Decide how you would like your loved one to be disposed:

You have three choices of disposition, i.e.,  buried, entombed, or cremated. In recent years years, funeral service costs have increased and as a result, more people are selecting cremation services because they can be less expensive than a burial.

The Types of Funeral Service:

A Direct Funeral service includes basic funeral home and staff services, such as filing death certificates, obtaining proper permits, coordinating plans with the cemetery or crematory, and filing for relevant benefits, transportation of the body, and either a casket or an urn.

A Traditional Funeral Service contains all the products or services encompassing a direct funeral service with the addition of embalming and professional preparation of the body, an outer burial container (to keep the grave from sinking), a funeral ceremony (with or without the casket or urn present), and the use of a hearse.

A Traditional-Plus Funeral Service consists of all the products or services included in the traditional funeral service with the addition of a public visitation. (The deceased is present in an open or closed casket.)

A Memorial Service is often added to the funeral services above to provide family members and friends the opportunity  to celebrate the life of their loved one and to honor the deceased.  Another option is that some families select holding a graveside service, often instead of a funeral ceremony.

As you decide what type of funeral service you would like, think about whether or not you would prefer an open or closed casket present during any portion of the service – this may help in your decision regarding embalming and other preparation of the body. And then think about whether or not you’d like to hold the funeral ceremony, visitation, and/or memorial service at the funeral home or at another location, like a religious institution. You should also consider the schedule of the funeral service and the type of transportation you would prefer, both for the deceased and family members. Would you prefer that the deceased be transported in a hearse or funeral van? Would you prefer that family ride together in a limousine or sedan or that they ride separately?

Select the individuals who will be part of the funeral service:

If you are planning a religious ceremony, decide who will preside over the funeral service. Next, decide which other individuals may be part of the funeral service as pallbearers, readers, performers…etc. And make sure to choose someone to deliver the eulogy.

Decide what products or services you will need for the funeral service:

You will need to make many decisions around products and services ranging from caskets and urns to outer burial containers and floral arrangements. When making these choices, remember that you can make these purchases either directly from the funeral home you choose or from a third-party. Ask to see all your options, as these products can range widely on their prices. For instance, an average casket costs slightly more than $2,000, but some mahogany, bronze, or copper caskets sell for as much as $10,000. Also, consider whether or not you’d like to write an obituary or online tribute. If you’d like assistance crafting or submitting your message, ask your funeral director for assistance.

Select a funeral home for the funeral service:

Finding and selecting a funeral home may be simple if you have a relationship with a specific funeral director or funeral home. But if you don’t know what the funeral homes in your area offer or charge, and if you’re unsure of their service quality, consider comparing your local funeral homes on based on pricing, ratings, reviews, location, and more. You may also consider asking trusted friends or advisers for recommendations. For as important a life event as a funeral is and for as much as you will pay to ensure your loved one gets the care they deserve, it’s important to pick the funeral home that will best meet your needs.